Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of wasting your time trying to get to 2048 or complete all the levels of Candy Crush (the resulting pride is fleeting, trust me), you killed time on your commute learning how to speak Spanish instead? Si, you say?! Well, read on for the five best apps for beginners to learn Spanish, and you’ll be on your way to hablando en español!
Our Favorite Beginner Spanish Apps
1. Duolingo: A Game-like App That Rewards You with Badges for Practicing Your Spanish
Pros: Duolingo is a popular language-learning learning app for multiple reasons: It’s free, it’s a game, and it does a reasonably good job of teaching vocabulary, simple conjugation, and basic listening skills. It accomplishes this in a gamelike setting, complete with three hearts to “lose” for each level you finish (Zelda, anyone?). You can even see whether or not you’re learning faster than your friends.
Cons: The only real con with Duolingo is that it doesn’t hit heavily on grammar. Depending on your Spanish goals, this may or may not be a real con. If you only need to know how to order lunch while you’re on Spring Break, it’s probably fine; if you’re trying to pass the AP Spanish test or have deep conversations, you may want to check out something like Brainscape (see below).
2. Rosetta Stone: The Classic, Totally Immersive App for Language Learning
Pros: Rosetta Stone’s app offers a completely immersive language learning experience. There won’t be any English equivalents offered to you in this app — the idea is that you’re learning Spanish just as a child would. To help you understand concepts, you can schedule lessons with a live tutor, and even converse with native Spanish speakers.
Cons: As you may have guessed, all that doesn’t come for free. While you can download the trial version free of charge, the cost for the full features is a whopping $199.99. Rosetta Stone also lacks explanations on grammar and other language rules, as the whole idea is that you will just “figure it out” intuitively. Grammar geeks would probably be more likely to appreciate something like Brainscape.
3. Busuu: A Community-Oriented App Best for Honing Your Speaking Skills
Pros: Busuu’s strength lies in its community. This app for learning Spanish focuses heavily on oral practice. Its users learn vocabulary, practice writing and then editing one another’s work, practice speaking with native Spanish speakers, and even record mock conversations.
Cons: Again, native speakers don’t come cheap. Busuu charges 14.99 euros, or approximately $19, per month of use. This is cheaper than Rosetta Stone but still more than twice as much as affordable tools like Brainscape.
4. Brainscape: The Modern, Adaptive Flashcard App for Learning Spanish (Among Other Things)
Pros: Brainscape is a fun, easy way to learn and practice Spanish regardless of what level you’re at. Brainscape improves upon trusted, age-old flashcard study by asking you to rate your self-confidence in each concept. This helps the app properly gauge when and how often it should repeat that information. Brainscape’s Spanish content also uses a unique, cognitive-science based language-learning approach called Intelligent Cumulative Exposure, which builds phrasal structuring skills using Spanish Sentence Builder exercises. What’s more, Brainscape’s Spanish flashcards app features audio pronunciations, which allows you to hear the Spanish as it should sound. There are even some listening comprehension decks!
Cons: As you might have guessed, our Spanish product isn’t available free of charge, but you can preview large portions of it for free!
5. Cat Academy Spanish: Because Cats Rule the Internet
Pros: Cats dominate everything else on the internet, so why not your app for learning Spanish, too? This fun app uses cat pictures to keep your attention while you memorize common Spanish phrases and read about Spanish grammar. You can even challenge your friends to learn Spanish alongside you.
Cons: While you can download the app for free, the full version of Cat Spanish costs $6.99. Also, they didn’t call it “I Can Has Spanish?” — a real missed opportunity, if you ask us.
Have you downloaded any great learning Spanish learning app? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!
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