FREE Spanish learning resources :)
Shared a post earlier but I feel like I missed a lot of information because I posted in Spanish and then translated. (So much for fluency!)
Here's everything that has helped me so far:
I did a lot of outside reading. DL kind of tosses you in and expects you to figure out the grammar, but I need a bit of structure so I use these websites quite a bit:
I made up conjugation tables using SpanishDict; not so that I could memorize anything, but so I could organize all the information my brain was taking in.
The (completely free) Language Transfer program helped a lot. It forces me to listen, understand, and respond (as I would in an actual conversation) without being able to see the words on a screen. This has probably been my most invaluable resource to achieving some level of conversational Spanish.
I listen a lot as well. This website has tons of stories along with transcripts:
Extra en Español: I love this miniseries. It's pretty silly, but it's really fun and relatively easy to understand. The actors speak a lot more slowly than they would in reality, so you have time to think about what is being said.
Español en episodios: Much more advanced and spoken at regular pace, but useful grammar breakdowns are included in-between the dialog. And the teacher is awesome! She speaks really clearly as well, and explains everything in more than one way so you really get it.
Somos tú y yo: I just started watching this series and can follow along mainly because of context clues. The Spanish is spoken at regular pace, and it wasn't intended for teaching, but it's good listening practice nonetheless. I'm still waiting for the magical moment when it all clicks and the language slows right down!
Mi Vida Loca is a free interactive video resource offered by BBC (on a page that is no longer updated). You get to hear the language and learn some basic grammar, as well as take in some pretty awesome scenery! It's kind of an immersion experience, but the lessons are really basic, so if you're fairly advanced it might not be for you.
I also downloaded the Bible.is app (android) in Spanish to listen to. I'm sure there are many other audiobooks freely available, but this is what I've been using.
Listen out for free MOOC courses. I'm completing one at level A2 offered by the University of Salamanca.
I tested out on both of these websites at level B1 (low intermediate Spanish):
I'm hoping to take a conversational course, and/or travel, and check my progress again by October this year.
Duolingo has been a wonderful resource and really sparked my interest in the first place. I found it most useful to take my time and try to understand the lessons rather than simply blowing through them in pursuit of the end target. I was also fairly consistent at keeping my tree golden, which is useful for consolidating prior knowledge.
As useful as it has been though, it's not nearly enough to get you anywhere near fluency. I think the beauty of DL is that it gives you some of the tools you need to get there in a fun, relatively easy format. But please don't make the mistake of limiting yourself to just this forum, as you'll miss out on tons of (FREE) resources that can help you meet your targets.
Best of luck, and I hope this helps someone!
Please comment with the resources you're using too!
Thanks for the ideas - I had seen Extr@ before and have greatly enjoyed it - its fairly easy and zesty, sometimes a little silly - but fun.
Another resource I have used is putting 'turismo en espanol' in youtube search. There are masses of great and fairly easy videos to watch - great variety of spanish from different countries!
Newsinslowspanish.com is also a great resource (but it is not free). It helps one get one's head around the news - which is generally so fast that one battles to follow it. This is a great help, I think.
'Destinos' is another miniseries that is worth a look. Its an American resource and again fairly simple and interesting.
Finally, if you have the interest, there are many spanish radio stations on line if one is interested in having this running in the background - music, chat, info and fun .... several hundred stations at these two:
From Spain: http://www.listenlive.eu/spain.html;
Form South America: http://www.multilingualbooks.com/online-radio-spanish-latinamerica.html
Muchas gracias! I had checked out news in slow Spanish before and it did seem interesting but it also seemed a little pricey for me. I'll definitely check out the radio stations. I'm all about immersion into hearing the language so that should be really helpful :)