25 February 2023
As a second-year Spanish student at Victoria University of Wellington, I understand the struggles of learning a new language. Fortunately, I have discovered some excellent Spanish learning applications that have helped me improve my language skills.
In this blog post, I will be sharing with you the applications I use regularly to enhance my knowledge of Spanish. Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate learner, these resources can help you learn and practice Spanish at your own pace, anywhere and anytime.
This is the primary application that I use. I use it everyday, and will usually have it open in my lecture, should I need to find the translation of an unfamiliar word.
If you un-mute the video, you can hear the spoken Spanish from the app.
The main highlights include:
I rate Spanish Dict as a must have for any student studying Spanish. The app is available as both a iOS/Android app as well as a webpage.
My primary use of this app is to connect with native Spanish speakers.
HelloTalk helps you to find native Spanish speakers who want to learn English. You can read and write, as well as speak and listen. Because everyone is learning, people are very patient with each other, and want to help.
In addition, you also get to meet people who live in countries that you’ve barely heard of, and in circumstances that are very different from your own. You will learn more than just a new language here.
A few of the other features I use include:
HelloTalk is available primarily as an iOS/Android app, but there is also have a web view of the chat functionality.
The primary goal of Dreaming Spanish is to improve your listening comprehension.
The app publishes several videos every day, and these are segmented into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The videos are usually between 10 and 20 minutes long, and cover a wide variety of topics.
Examples of videos include:
Some videos are interesting, others are boring. But, because there are new videos published every day, there’s always something worth watching.
I try and watch 15 minutes of these every day, and it has certainly helped.
Speechling helps with speaking and listening comprehension.
It has recordings of short phrases in Spanish, and also a recording of the English equivalents. You can have the app playing Spanish and English phrases while you go for a run, or wash the dishes, etc.
The newest app that I use is ChatGPT. ChatGPT is a tool based on a machine learning model, that you can ask questions. It will normally give a very useful answer.
Here is an example of an interaction with ChatGPT:
Why do some Spanish verbs use an indirect object pronoun, and not a direct object pronoun?
In Spanish, verbs can take direct objects, indirect objects, or sometimes both. The choice between direct and indirect object pronouns depends on the role the pronoun plays in the sentence and the specific verb being used.
Direct objects are nouns or pronouns that receive the action of the verb directly, answering the question “what?” or “whom?” in relation to the verb. Direct object pronouns in Spanish are: me, te, lo/la, nos, os, los/las.
Indirect objects, on the other hand, indicate the person or entity for whom or to whom the action is done. They typically answer the question “to/for whom?” or “to/for what?” in relation to the verb. Indirect object pronouns in Spanish are: me, te, le, nos, os, les.
Some Spanish verbs specifically require an indirect object pronoun because they involve an action done to or for someone else, or because the action has an indirect recipient. For example:
These are just a few examples, and there are many other Spanish verbs that use indirect object pronouns. It’s important to learn and recognize the different structures and roles of direct and indirect objects in Spanish to use the appropriate pronouns when needed.
What about the verb hablar?
The verb “hablar” (to speak or to talk) in Spanish typically takes a direct object when referring to a language, topic, or subject of conversation, and it takes an indirect object when referring to the person with whom one is speaking. Here are some examples to illustrate the different uses of “hablar”:
Direct object pronoun:
In these examples, “español” and “política” are the direct objects because they are the topics or subjects of the conversation.
Indirect object pronoun:
In these examples, “mi madre” and “me” are indirect objects because they are the people with whom one is speaking. Notice that the preposition “a” is often used in Spanish to introduce the indirect object when it’s a person, even when an indirect object pronoun is also used (as in “Le hablo a mi madre”).
However, it’s worth noting that when the verb “hablar” is used without a specific object, it doesn’t require a direct or indirect object pronoun. For example:
I found the response from ChatGPT to be very helpful, because I was having trouble understanding why sometimes an indirect object pronoun is used with the verb hablar. The response helped me understand the different scenarios by which the pronoun choice might happen.
One cavet about ChatGPT though - sometimes its answers are not correct. It will confidently make incorrect statements, so you require some context to know if a response is likely to be factual or incorrect.
The use of ChatGPT for learning Spanish probably deserves its own blog article, or series of articles. It is very powerful, and can provide a lot of help to Spanish students.
These are my favourite Spanish Language podcasts:
In summary, there are a variety of different applications available for the learning of Spanish. The apps I find most useful are Spanish Dict, HelloTalk and Dreaming Spanish. When I have a monotonos activity to perform, I play a podcast or turn on the Speechling app.