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AlwaysSpanish is Retiring!

After a long awkward silence, here's something to break the ice – all over again. I can totally see why you should be upset to see no action from the Burro for over a month now, but trust me, your wait was all worth it. The news here is that your beloved Burro has just moved into a brand new home – one that's a whole lot richer, swankier, and easier to live in. I'm talking about PeppyBurro. That's the name of the new website! Isn't that cool? At least it tells you all about the Burro's pepped up temperament right off the bat, right? This post is not about Spanish-learning tricks (although I will drop in a couple out of habit, I guess) or grammar lessons. This one's all about our new home!

The Witchcraft Of Spanish Vocabulary

The very first step to conquering a language is to tame its vocabulary. And sadly, that's the part that puts off most novice learners because memorizing strange-sounding words is too darn boring! A never-ending chant of rote rehearsal and a nervous prayer can see you through an upcoming test, but the process just won't cut it if your goal is to actually use the language in the street. It's a mystery how this incredibly inefficient method has survived this long and still continues to be perpetuated by schools and educators around the world. So is there any nirvana around this assault of monotony in our miserable lives? Anything that could make learning foreign words less painful?

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Always Spanish has retired. Please visit the new blog at for all future articles.

7 Sites Spanish Learners Must Bookmark

Out there in the vast expanses of the Internet, there are more free resources available for Spanish learners than can ever be included on any list of any length. While we recognize how important absolute immersion is to one’s language program, it’s almost impossible to ignore the importance of an infinitely rich resource like the Internet. When starting out learning Spanish, we tend to spend a fortune on gathering all sorts of reference materials, such as books, DVDs, courses, etc. for the program. However, today the Internet is brimming with nuggets of Spanish to satisfy the most discernible of learners. Let’s explore.

Learning Spanish solely off the Web ain’t no myth

The Internet is brimming with Spanish language resources
The Internet is brimming with Spanish language resources
Photo credit: Simon Law licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
It is established and needs no convincing that the Internet is an incredibly rich source of some of the finest language materials for those learning Spanish. It is a classic example of what millions of minds working together in an independent environment can achieve when their creativity is unleashed on the information superhighway. It is this richness of the Web that has made possible for a Spanish learner of today to have everything they need for their mission at their fingertips without spending a dime and without moving out of their bedroom. And the best part is, no real classroom or real book ever produced by mankind can ever compete with the richness of the Internet when it comes to variety, quality, usefulness, and volume!


By far, our favorite Spanish dictionary on the Internet. Any lookup on WordReference returns a plethora of definitions and constructs not only for the word being looked up but also all the phrases and idioms that include that word. Further, the site also supports a richly participated forum where one can discuss any word with native speakers. This helps one learn the various dialectical variants of the standard, dictionary Spanish. Try posting any question on any Spanish word in its forum and, if your experience is as good as ours, you’ll get at least one response within the first 30 minutes; and we bet you’d be better-off following these responses instead of the one thrown up by your standard Spanish-English dictionary. Take it for a spin and your Spanish will thank you for it.


Span¡shD¡ct is another of our top favorites. Other than your regular dictionary lookup, this one’s also rich in resources that are immensely helpful to every Spanish learner. For example, its articles on various aspects of the Spanish vocabulary, its word-of-the-day section, and a feature that lets you listen to native speakers pronounce words in Spanish. This website also features a free online Spanish verb conjugator, an online translator, and thousands of translation videos.

The highlight of this site is its Answers section where one can post any Spanish-related question and get answers from an entire community of thousands of Spanish learners and speakers from around the world. We have seen questions being answered in as little as 20 minutes! The community is extremely vibrant and active. This section is particularly useful when one needs help with some idiomatic expressions and their finer nuances that aren’t always explained reasonably well in the dictionary.

Google Translate and Bing Translator

By far the most accurate machine translation services available to mankind. We are naming both Google and Bing because, in isolation, they are far from accurate for all situations. Google provides uncannily accurate translations for some contexts which return hillariously inaccurate results on Bing while it goes the other way round for others. Hence, our strong suggestion would be to use them together for any translation to draw the best translation. Translating is a very silent teacher; your brain quietly continues to absorb salient vocabulary and constructs every time you translate something into or from Spanish.

Google’s continued use of its crowd-sourcing approach to improve its translation algorithm has resulted in a massive inventory of human confirmed phrases and machine translation is gaining credibility at a reasonably pace. What used to produce laughable results until a few years back is now approaching accuracy upwards of 90%!


This is where you can lookup any word for its most authentic pronunciation as recorded by the natives themselves. The best site to learn and practice native Spanish pronunciation, being open-source makes it particularly rich and useful.

What makes Forvo so immensely useful is its community-driven approach which turns it into a self-correcting, self-sustaining information engine. Anybody who has ever used Wikipedia for reference would know what community-driven resources are capable of achieving.

Urban Dictionary

Urban Dictionary is the best, ever-growing reservoir of slangs and colloquial vocabulary both in English as well as Spanish. It is open to native speakers who can submit words and/or their meanings as understood in their specific geography; this means, most words have multiple entries reflecting the geographical variations in their meanings and usage. Scores of Spanish learners have used this site’s services to acquire a rich vocabulary of some of the most local Spanish lingo not taught in any classroom or courseware.


MexicoGuru, as the name suggests, is a one-stop-shop for almost anything under the sun that has anything to do with Mexico. Other than learning interesting facts about the Mexican lifestyle and culture, you can also find here a huge list of hundreds of slangs uniquely spoken in the streets of Mexico. If you wish to speak Spanish like the natives and the natives you intend to be able to imitate are Mexicans, there’s no richer resource of street lingo than this site.

Well, these are your 7 indispensable sites that should give you a good head-start with your Spanish program. However, do note that this is just scratching the surface and the Internet is full of many more such sites and resources, some well-known, others hidden for you to discover. But they are all there waiting to give you the best language-learning experience possible. Know of any such incredibly useful website that you would love sharing with the rest of us? Feel free to chime in!

The BIG RED BOOK of super quick Spanish vocabulary using mnemonics and other unconventional memory shortcuts is out and ready to make Spanish accessible and fun once again. 1,442 pages packed to the brim to help you nail difficult Spanish words @ THE SPEED OF THOUGHT.
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HOUSE RULES: We love comments that add value to our discussions and help build a healthy community of Spanish-lovers around them. Please keep’em coming; feel free to speak your mind. Everything’s welcome unless you’re spamming or trolling (refer to our Comment Policy). You’re also welcome to share links to relevant resources but no annoying; sales pitches please! So, let’s get talking, shall we?

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  2. As a Spanish instructor I love SpanishDict as a resource. Google translate has gotten much better over the years but it's still not perfect. It's hard to rely on machine translation only. For learning, there's a new blog called SpanishBoca that is great for Spanish vocabulary because you get a word, a picture, pronunciation, meaning and examples. You can check it out at

  3. This April I'm leading a team of 20 workers to make basic block houses for widows who are taking care of their children without assistance. The majority of these workers can't understand Spanish and are asking me about Spanish learning programs.

    I always recommend them RocketSpanish (video presentation here ), why? because I use it myself and it's effective. I'm on a non-stop search to achieve fluency in Spanish so I've tested many courses and study programs. All of them have been monotonous or need quite alot of discipline that I just cannot achieve. The lessons are absorbing and hands-on, they involve countless practical situations that I come into contact with so often when I am in Venezuela, it even teaches you how to argue in Spanish, no other program can do better than that.

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