So, you’ve decided to take the plunge—you’re going to learn Spanish. ¡Muy bien! But you don’t have the money to invest in an expensive set of audio CDs, and you’re not real keen on getting up in front of a bunch of other people, since your accent is strictly North of the Border. No worries! There are tons of fun, easy games to learn Spanish that you can play and use for practice in the privacy of your own computer screen. In fact, there’s a ton of free “learn Spanish” software and interactive programs available on the Internet that can get you well on the way to communicating in Spanish. Let’s take a look at a few sources.
Crosswords and Other Word Puzzles
The popular site about.com has a large selection of games to learn Spanish (Spanish.about.com), including crosswords (“crucigramas”) on various themes. These feature both Spanish- and English-language clues. Depending on your level of mastery, you can challenge yourself or go the easier route. Don Quijote.org also features word searches, Hangman, and lots of other resources. BamBam’s Puzzle Corner (at MultilingualBooks.com) has lots of word puzzles in various languages. Follow the “Spanish” link to their large list of Spanish crossword sites, as well as easy, intermediate, and difficult levels of interactive games to learn Spanish.
Software and Downloads
SpanishPrograms.com offers free interactive programs and online lessons, in addition to a free Spanish culture newsletter. FreeDownloadsCenter.com offers software you can download at no cost (freedownloadscenter.com/Search/spanish.html) and use on your own schedule. The BYKI (“Before You Know It”) system also is available in dozens of other modern languages (and also at BYKI.com). SpanishUno.com offers a download of its free software to learn Spanish, which includes grammar and writing lessons, stories, and games to learn Spanish. If you really like it, you can buy upgrade versions at various levels.
Transparent Language (www.transparent.com) offers a comprehensive set of language learning CDs for sale on its website, but they also provide a selection of free interactive games to learn Spanish. These include word scrambles, fill-in-the-blank puzzles, word finders, and my favorite, “International Café,” a game that lets you order from your Spanish menu, then receive exactly what you asked for—even if it’s a live, angry beaver (“el castor enojado vivo”)! It’s a fun way to expand your vocabulary (and possibly to avoid culinary disaster).
Other Useful Sites
At JiffySpanish.com (“Because learning Spanish should be free”), you can find a useful overview and reviews of several Spanish learning programs. This is a great place to start if you’re leaning toward purchasing or using an audio CD learning program.