Tag Archives: Learn Spanish free


11 Days to go | Bye Bye boring content

Learning Spanish?

Here’s how most language learning products will teach you Spanish:
And here’s what learners feel about such products:
“Wonderful! a picture of a man with money. Does “Él tiene dinero” mean the English equivalent of “he has money”, or “he counts money”, or “he had money”, or something completely different? In addition to that, how is knowing how to say “he has money” going to help me immerse myself in the language and have a conversation with someone?”

What’s more, even when you’ll use these products 20 years from now – you guessed it – same static, boring content.

It is time to bid goodbye to boring content and say hello to real conversations!

CultureAlley brings you a revolutionary new practice App that works on Twitter – helping you learn words and conversations that real people use.

Learn a language while you browse content that YOU are interested in on Twitter. Immerse yourself in real conversations, everyday!

Here’s a sneak preview:

This awesome new App is coming to your iPad and iPhone on December 15th!

Try the web version for Spanish (alpha):

Go to your Dashboard after logging in to CultureAlley Spanish, and give ‘My Twitter’ a try!

It is personalized-contextual-real! It is fun!

Practice Spanish with Jumble – A new Spanish practice game at CultureAlley

Announcing the launch of a brand new Spanish practice game at CultureAlley Spanish – Jumble!

Doesn’t take too much thinking to figure out what this is! We jumble up a set of Spanish words, and give you a hint (in English). All you have to do is pick the right Spanish words and arrange them in the right order – quickly of-course :)

This timed Spanish practice game helps you perfect your translations, and also helps you understand the difference between Spanish and English grammar. You’ll master word placement with Jumble.

Jumble is built within your lesson experience, and will quiz you on the words and phrases you learn in each lesson.

Jumble practice gameJumble game - Question Jumble practice game - How to play Jumble practice game - timed

Learning Spanish for Cultural and Professional Growth | Anthony Diab

Spanish studentThis week we feature one of our star students – Anthony Diab. Anthony is a culture enthusiast and runs a business in the tourism industry. Realizing the importance of Spanish in both his professional as well as personal life, Anthony decided to take up the challenge to learn Spanish – and he has excelled in it! In no time, Anthony finished all the lessons (yes more than 60 lessons!) at CultureAlley and is now getting into practicing his Spanish accent with our coach Ivan over 1on1 Skype lessons.


We spoke to Anthony to understand how others like him can learn Spanish quickly:


CA: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Anthony: I’m from Lebanon – a town called Jezzine. I studied a double major at a university in Beirut (Fashion Design, and Music).
We have a mountain resort and a restaurant – I spend time with my dad working on making it better and growing our business.


CA: Why did you decide to learn Spanish?
Anthony: For two reasons: One,
Spanish is really helping me take my hotel business to the next level.
Second, I am inspired by the cultural diversity of this world! I’m really interested in singing (opera), I love Spanish music, Tango dancing, the Greek mythology, and wine! Learning Spanish has a big relation to all these cultural inspirations I draw!
Being a fluent French speaker, I thought that I really should learn this lovely language – Spanish. I really see myself walking down the streets of Spain trying to realize my dream!!


CA: How did you start your learning journey and how did find the right source to learn Spanish from?
I started by reading books about translation from English to Spanish and from French to Spanish – but after trying for 4 months, I did not find them too useful. So, I moved to find a way which was more professional.
Something that had structured lessons. I Googled for websites to learn Spanish and after reviewing some of the options I made my choice. I think it was the best choice that I made by choosing CultureAlley as my teacher!


CA: How did you learn Spanish so fast? Tell us about your learning routine

Anthony: My background in Arabic and French did help me a little but it is not as difficult to learn Spanish quickly.

I started with CultureAlley as a normal person who just knows how to say ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ and ‘how are you?’ in Spanish. I started, and every day this website gave me more and more passion to continue learning!

I took about 3 lessons a day sometimes even 4 and wrote the notes on sheets of paper.

Every day before starting a new lesson I ensured that I revise right from paper 1 which contained the basics (Hola/Adíos etc.). I revised till where I stopped the previous day just to remember all the words without forgetting anything. Then I took quizzes – multiple times till I got everything correct. Regular practice and repetition helped me learn Spanish fast. Now I will get into Skype lessons for developing my listening skills and my accent.

CA: Has learning Spanish helped you? If so, how?
Anthony: Learning Spanish has helped me immensely.
First of all,  now I really can communicate with the Spanish tourists that come to our hotel. It makes our hotel appear more professional and adds a personal touch.
I already speak Arabic, French, and English, and now Spanish is adding another dimension.
Secondly,  now I understand the Spanish songs that I really loved, so now I sing them with more passion and I can Dance on Tango Songs with great passion .
Third, the nightlife here in my country Beirut makes me meet a lot of people who speak Spanish – now I can hold real conversations with them in this lovely language!


CA: How did CultureAlley help you in learning Spanish?
CultureAlley is so professional and contextual that it contains lessons on topics like – if you were in a hotel or in a restaurant – it was very useful learning these for my business.
Its a very cool website and not boring at all! The teachers and founders are available on live chat and they reply to your emails very quickly with a lot of passion. It gives you more momentum and energy to continue your lessons!
Now I am taking the Skype lessons with a coach to perfect what I have learnt and improve my accent!
CA: To conclude, what would you like to tell other learners who are thinking of learning Spanish?
Anthony: At the end, I can tell you that if you really want to start learning Spanish and you don’t have time to register in school or something like that just click http://culturealley.com/ and  you will start living your Spanish dream from the second you press on the button!
Thank you very much again CultureAlley Team you have helped me a lot!

Learn Spanish for Free!

In our last post on how to learn a new language, we discussed a high level methodology to make language learning easy, fun, and as natural as any other habit.
One of the most popular languages today is – Spanish – the second most natively spoken language in the world, Spanish is witnessing a tremendous rise in its popularity!

A lot of our learners talk to us on live chat and on our forums and ask ‘How can I learn Spanish?‘, ‘How do I learn Spanish for free?‘, ‘How can I learn Spanish online?‘ etc…

Today, we talk about some ways by which one can easily learn Spanish for free and skip making a hole in one’s pocket! :) We will review various methods to learn Spanish for free, suggest which to choose and why, and also provide some resource references.

Here are some great ways to learn Spanish for free:

1. Free Online Lessons 

Gone are the days when you were forced to buy a 500$ CD/software to pick up a new language! There are some great self-study courses available on the web/as mobile apps to help you learn Spanish grammar, conversations, and vocabulary for free. These can help you start right from the beginning and take you to even an advanced level.

Which website/apps to choose for learning Spanish online:

  1. Depth: Check the list of topics on these websites and then go with a source that has enough material for your learning needs. Switching from one source to another too often may result in a break in continuity.
  2. Interactivity & practice: Pick a source that provides interactive Spanish practice games and exercises on top of the content. This will ensure a consistent learning experience. Testing yourself on what you learn is extremely important. Choose sources which give you a mix of reading, listening, and writing exercises and give immediate feedback.
    Quizlet is a good website for finding practice exercises but they don’t have complementary lessons – so you may feel lost as to which exercises to look at.
  3. Structure and flow: There are two types of websites:
    1. Websites that have structured lessons and quizzes with a clear flow – These pretty much act as a book guiding you one lesson after the other. Choose this if you are looking for a one stop shop experience and want to limit the need for searching for topics.
    2. Reference Websites which cover a lot of different grammar and conversational topics without necessarily having these organized in a flow or as lessons. Choose these only if you are looking at these websites for one-off reference or as supplementary material. About.com for Spanish is a good reference website if you want to search for help on certain topics
  4. Audio support: We would highly recommend choosing websites which have tutorials and lessons with audio support. Audio-visual lessons just change the way you pick up Spanish. You will develop a better accent and better listening skills.
  5. Content: Of-course the meat of any learning website is the content it offers. Now, how good or bad the content is would only be discovered once you try out a couple of lessons. But you could look at user comments/ feedback about the website before getting started. Remember that different people may like different styles of teaching. We ideally recommend content that is beyond just a phrasebook and helps you understand why something is said the way it is.

2. The Telenovela method

Another great way to learn Spanish for free is using Spanish media. Traditionally, the telenovela method (TV method) involved watching Spanish soap-operas and learning Spanish with them.
The Telenovela Method uses Spanish-language media, that you would enjoy, to teach you Spanish. In our experience, this method works best once you have some basic knowledge of Spanish grammar and vocabulary - although we have seen people use just this method as well.

Expanding scope from just TV, you could use movies, YouTube videos, songs, comic strips, news, or whatever you enjoy to make the process of learning Spanish fun and engaging. While starting out, it is ideal if you use videos, songs, movies, and comic strips with  both Spanish and English subtitles.

Learn Spanish for free with comics

Learn Spanish for free with comics (copyright: GoComics)

Take the above comic strip for example. If you don’t know any Spanish then you’ll find it difficult to understand the first script. But if you know the basics (like pronouns, ser/estar, basic conjugations) then understanding the strip becomes very easy by looking at its English version.

Eg: Una gran mayoría de gente de seis años dice que no satisfaces sus expectativas de la paternidad
Una gran mayoría de gente = A large majority of people
de seis años = of 6 years
dice que = say that
no satisfaces = you don’t satisfy
sus expectativas de la paternidad = their expectations of (the) fatherhood

You should watch/read small sections at a time, then try to look at the meanings of the words you don’t understand. More than just the vocabulary, try to understand the grammar – why a sentence is framed the way it is.

If you don’t understand certain concepts, you can post questions on forums.

The Telenovela method is effective because it introduces real conversations – as a native would talk, and is fun at the same time. However, you will need help with understanding the grammar and vocabulary. So, the Telenovela method would need some basic understanding of the language and supplementary sources which explain the concepts well. We recommend using it as a fun way to practice and learn more vocabulary.

Some resources:

  1. Songs:
    1. Just go to YouTube, Grooveshark, or Pandora to tune into Spanish songs. You can find Spanish and English lyrics on sites like metrolyrics.com, lyricstranslate.com, etc..
    2. We are working on adding a Karaoke tool into your lesson experience to help you practice Spanish. Check out a sample: http://culturealley.com/SpanishKaraoke.jsp
  2. Comic strips: GoComics:  You can find popular strips like Calvin & Hobbes, Garfield, and other in Spanish on this site. It also has the English version of the same strips.
  3. Movies: You may find some movies (with subtitles) on YouTube. Otherwise you can also get DVDs or go to websites like open subtitles.

3. Language Exchange

This method involved conversing (either face to face or over Skype) with a native who speaks Spanish and knows some English (or whatever your native language is) – the native would teach you Spanish and you in-turn would teach him/her English (or whatever your native language is).
Finding a native:

  1. Friend circle: If you can find someone you know already or a friend – nothing like it! Because that will make the conversations more natural and comfortable.
  2. Clubs: A lot of cities have clubs and meetup groups for language learning where you can find a mix of beginners as well as native speakers
  3. Online: You can also find websites to connect you with natives over chat/Skype

It works well because you are interacting 1on1 with a native – you pick up the right words, learn the accent well, learn about their culture, and most importantly practice speaking.
The only draw-back at times is that a native Spanish speaker may not be necessarily equipped to teach Spanish and both of you may feel lost.
There is a paid version of this option where instead of choosing just any native, you can interact with a native Spanish teacher over Skype who is trained to teach you Spanish. However, experienced teachers would charge a fee.

4. Free English-Spanish Dictionaries

There are several online dictionaries to help you find new words and build your vocabulary. If your aim is to build vocabulary, find a limited word dictionary that has curated the most important words. If your aim is to find meanings of words you read somewhere or hear somewhere then go for a more comprehensive dictionary like the one from Oxford word reference or use Google translate (it works well with individual words, not so much with phrases).

The web provides tremendous scope for learning a new language – so save the 500$ for exploring a new place! :) There is enough quality material out there – all you need to do is be careful and picky.

Here are some resources and tools that we have built at CultureAlley to help you learn Spanish for free (also available for other languages):
1) Free audio visual lessons on Spanish – More than 60 free lessons with voice and audio support. The lessons are super-intuitive, conversational, and explain each concept in detail
2) Free practice games on Spanish – Our games ‘spellathon’ and ‘scatterathon’ provide action packed practice to develop your reading, writing, and listening skills. They complement what you learn in each lesson and give immediate feedback
3) Free Spanish Dictionary – 1000 most used words in Spanish with English translations. Has an easy search feature and comes with audio support.
4) Live chat - To guide you on your learning plan, answer your questions, hear your feedback, and more!
5) Spanish Forums – Ask questions and get responses from our team within 24 hours
6) Spanish Karaoke ToolLearn Spanish with music using our karaoke tool. Many more songs coming up soon!

Tell us about more helpful resources that you’d like us to review or include in the list. Happy learning!

Learn foreign languages with music!

In our recent blog post on How to learn a new language’ we emphasized on embracing the new language and making it flow with your life.

Our Spanish coaches also recommend finding something you love about the new language and surrounding yourself with it!

Today we talk about one such universal love – Music, and how it can enrich your language learning experience!

There are several occasions when we end up humming and memorizing songs even though we don’t know the language!
Susanna Zaraysky, author of ‘Language is music’ pointed out in her one her interviews:How many of us have sang along to Gangnam Style without knowing what it means!”
Now imagine if you could see the transliteration in your language while you sing along!

Of-course grammar and conversational context is a must and important, but language learning can be enhanced if some singing and music based practice is incorporated in your learning schedule.

In one test, carried out by researchers at Edinburgh University’s Reid School of Music, those who learned by singing were able to recall phrases with greater accuracy in the longer term.

Here’s how music can help:

  1. Pronunciation: Music can help you get a better hang of the new accent and pronunciation peculiarities. While learning with music, you listen first and speak later.
  2. Vocabulary: Learning the lyrics of a song helps you expand your vocabulary. Music aids memory and recall. Words and phrases that you hear in a song tend to stick around much longer. Songs also introduce you to some streetwise phrases!
  3. Grammar: Music does not directly teach you grammar but can give you contextual information on usage of words and phrases. For example: ‘Para bailar La Bamba’ translates as ‘In order to dance La Bamba’. Next time when you get confused on whether you use ‘por’ or ‘para’ – this will help! With music, you subconsciously learn the right way to construct sentences.
  4. Culture: Music is a great window into the new culture! It will also be a great ice-breaker while talking to natives!
  5. Its fun! Music activates your senses and gets you grooving – picking up some language while you groove is a big bonus!

Here are some tips on using music effectively to pick up a new language:

  1. Don’t just let the music fade away in the background. Pay attention to the lyrics and phrases – make a list of some of the new words you hear.
  2. Sing-aloud – Listen first and then sing along. This will help you with your accent and will also expand your vocabulary.
  3. Try and get the transliteration of the lyrics to help you understand the meaning of the new words and phrases.

So don’t wait – let the music flow! Here are some links to help you find great world music:

  1. Directory of Radio Stations by Language/Ethnic Group:
  2. Pandora: http://www.pandora.com/
  3. Grooveshark: http://grooveshark.com/

At CultureAlley, we are fascinated with how music can help in the language learning journey. Here’s a new feature we are experimenting on:

http://culturealley.com/SpanishKaraoke.jsp – Sing-along with the Spanish lyrics, check the English transliteration, and hover to review important grammar tips. Learn Spanish while you groove to the classic ‘La Bamba’!

Many more hits coming up soon!

Get grooving at the Alley!


Spanish SuperStar of The Month

How learning Spanish made Daachi Halima a special girl!

We get a lot of comments, questions, and feedback from our learners. These go a long way in helping us evolve CultureAlley and make it a better, more enriching experience for all our learners. Every month, we will feature one of our students, who stands out as a true language learning star!

Here is Daachi Halima’s story, in her own words – one of the most heart warming stories we have read so far!

Name: Daachi Halima
From: Algeria
Born: 1989
Profession: Earned a diploma in English language and working in a cultural center.

The things that I like (my hobbies) are: I love reading books, writing poems; novels; and short stories. I also like to draw Anime! I like watching Korean and English movies.

Before I entered the university, you won’t imagine the thing that I disliked the most was learning languages!!
I did not expect that one day I’ll become so fond of learning languages.

The reason why I started learning Spanish is that when I was studying in the University, we were studying about the American civilization which contained the history of Mexico; and we studied about Santa Anna. During that time I started liking Spanish. Then, I started looking for sources to help me learn some Spanish.
I asked my colleague to teach me some Spanish – she used to just give me some words and then laugh at me because I didn’t understand the meaning. Then, I looked for a teacher but I didn’t have enough money to carry on with my studies in the university and learn Spanish in parallel because it was too expensive.
I didn’t give up, and I continued looking for sources for learning Spanish for free – I looked for two years!
I was looking on the internet too but all that I found was forums with short trials. And on some forums which were free – the narration was so fast that I never understood anything!
Finally, I found CultureAlley which was really amazing. Teaching everything so well and slowly also with practice – all of that for free! The most amazing thing is that they are available to chat with their learners kindly.
My language learning journey has been so good. With CultureAlley, I can take two to three lessons each day at my own pace because I’m busy with work and I don’t get much time to learn at one go. I like to practice each Spanish word that I learn every day. I practice it with my sister and brother too – I’m teaching them everything I know about Spanish – at the same time this makes me revise my lessons with them.
I have a mobile dictionary Spanish -> English that I keep with me too.
Learning Spanish has made me special girl!
It has made me want to learn more languages; as I said before, I’m working at a cultural center; this place is suitable for learning.
Learning Spanish has made me want to teach this language to all my village for free – just as I studied it! I want to teach them about this culture. I want to tell them to never be afraid of learning languages – because learning languages is something so interesting!
I have started teaching English in my village and my students also want to learn Spanish because sometimes I talk to them in Spanish to make them get a flavor of it.  Most of the people in my village don’t have enough information about foreign languages and how interesting they are.
I want to learn all languages that are available at CultureAlley – I hope they’ll offer French soon because it is the Second language in Algeria. Also I’d like to learn Korean because I like to watch a Korean movies. I want to learn English better. And Hindi too – because sometimes I sing some Hindi songs but I always wonder about the meaning and about my pronunciation.
CultureAlley has helped me a lot in learning Spanish because of the way of teaching that they adopt. For me, as an Arabian girl, I benefit from both sides. I practice my English by listening to the narrator and learn Spanish slowly and perfectly! Specially with practice! I also love the cultural leaf!
I want to tell all learners that if you want to learn a new language – you can! All you need to learn a language is to have some will. The reason to learn languages is not important – if you have a noble aim then God will help you for sure.


Look who is blogging at the Alley!

It has been a few months since we launched CultureAlley’s beta and what a ride it has been! We have seen the highs and lows, but the one thing that has been constant is the love from our learners.

Yes, we read every single comment and every single email sent to us (and reply to most :) ) and we are overwhelmed with your support. While making the product and the interface better and more engaging for you is our top goal – we want to stay connected with you, share our story, and hear yours too. Over 200,000 people have studied at the Alley – Starting a blog is just a tiny step to connect with them and hopefully thousands more in the future!

For those of you who are new, CultureAlley was started with a clear aim – to make learning a new language simple – really, just that.
I have been a professional traveler, a backpacker, an exchange student; and I realize learning a new language can be difficult.

CultureAlley follows a simple rule while hand-crafting each lesson for you – we break down each concept into the most intuitive unit so you don’t have to ‘remember’ a phrase but understand how it is constructed. We want to enable our learners to have conversations – not become a phrasebook!

Here’s what our learners say and what keeps us going:

“Spent a year trying to figure Spanish out. 4 years later I have decided to try again and came across CultureAlley. Wish this was available 4 years ago, I would’ve carried it on. Thank you this is an amazing lesson!”

How do we do it?
We work with teachers, native speakers and students from across the world to develop our content. The content is highly conversational based on real situations one might need to use the new language in. It has just enough dose of grammar to get you going to frame your own sentences.

We realize vocabulary is important – but too much and you are lost in the world of flashcards! Our lessons cover just enough vocabulary to help you converse in real life contexts and become familiar with natives. Here’s a comment we received recently:

“My Mandarin vocabulary was so blank until I discovered your lessons! Now, instead of always replying with ‘Wo hen hao’ I can reply with so much more. You make it seem like I have a pretty good Mandarin vocabulary”

Once you master the concept and the context, we give you additional vocabulary separately as a reference and as per your learning needs.

The practice is action packed and understands where you err. It makes you re-do and revise just what you don’t get.

We are constantly working on adding many more innovative features to make language learning fun, engaging and an experience you’d want to go through again and again.

We’d love to hear from you on how CultureAlley can help you further! You can kick-off your cultural voyage here:
Learn Spanish for Free: www.CultureAlley.com/Spanish
Learn Mandarin for Free: www.CultureAlley.com/Mandarin

More to follow. Till then, See you at the Alley!