In Youtube, you can find 2 types of channels to learn Spanish: videos for Real Spanish and Comprehension, and Teaching videos. In this post you can see the top 5 for the former kind, next week we’ll learn about the latter.
Learning Spanish on Youtube
There are so many channels about the Spanish language in Youtube. Like, so many that I can’t really give a number.
This is great. There are many people out there willing to help you improve your Spanish, just like me. Everybody has their ways, so it’s good that you have options to choose. And, most of all, they are free.
On the other hand, too many options can often lead to “analysis paralysis”. I’ve seen it many times in my students and Spanish learners around the web.
The Perpetual Beginner
They suffer from what I call “the perpetual beginner”. It’s great to start something, but you probably don’t want to be a starter forever, right? This phenomenon happens when you get really excited about a new project/way of learning/feature/topic, and you subscribe to all the channels, pages, email lists and accounts on that topic. But after this initial rush of stamina, you get overloaded with information and your motivation drops off and you feel like you want to quit.
A professionally curated list
In order to prevent that, you can start with a smaller and professionally curated list of recommendations. It will save you the hours of searching and it’s a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff. It’s a good starting point, but moreover, a great way of increasing your chances to surpass the starting phase and get actual benefit from this channels.
Using “Comprehensible Input” to Learn Spanish on Youtube
We’ll leave the Spanish teaching channels for next post, and this week we’ll focus on providing “comprehensible input”.
“Comprehensible input” is a piece of a foreign language that you can understand. Therefore, after enough exposition, you can replicate it (repeat it) in your own speech. It’s a well known and supported theory in Language Learning today.
Youtube channels are a powerful learning resource since they can provide this “comprehensible input”, the kind of language that you as a learner can understand but it’s still a good example of what you’ll find in real life. If you hear a sentence or expression on Youtube or elsewhere, next time you find it in real life you’ll be much more able to recognize it!
And the most useful aspect of these channels is that, unlike regular movies or TV shows designed for native speakers, the language here is tailored to non-native learners. That will allow you to not to feel distressed or overwhelmed when watching the videos.
That’s the basis of the “comprehensible input” language learning theory – you need exposure to actual pieces of the language, but ones that you can understand and decipher, in order to add them to your own language.
How can you learn with this input?
Treat it as you would with any new piece in Spanish. Some suggestions to get the most out of them are:
- Write down the new words to learn the vocabulary
- Shadow the pronunciation repeating after the speakers
- Look for the words or expressions that you don’t understand
- Let your ear get trained to Spanish.
Best Youtube Channels
1. Easy Spanish
Baruch is a young Mexican actor that, with Juan behind the scenes, goes around Mexico City to ask people about the most different topics. They have a chat just like they could have with friends on a regular day. Somehow, they manage to keep really simple and easily understandable, so it’s a great first sight to real Spanish conversation!
For example, in this episode, he asks young Mexicans walking around in el Parque México what they think of the highly successful “Pokemon Go” app. It was recorded at its peak in November 2016, and a lot of people were actually playing it and shared their experiences!
- Great for: Listening to real people talk about real life topics.
- Extra bonus: Simultaneous subtitles in English and Spanish.
- Country: Mexico
- Level: Intermediate-Advanced
Agustin Iruela’s channel is the Youtube channel for VideoEle, a website where he publishes a Spanish learning program for the first levels. It’s a great way of starting your Spanish experience because you’ll find very specific videos regarding the most important grammatical topics of the language, but with a twist – they’ll apply them to real-life situations and they will actually film some subjects in those situations.
In this example, you can see a typical Spanish market. You’ll find what is sold there, learn a lot of new words, and most importantly, you’ll make the connection between the word and the actual object.
- Great for: An introduction to the specific grammatical points of the language. Extra bonus: Closed captions are revised and available in Spanish and English!
- Country: Spain
- Level: Beginner.
According to the introduction, this is a “Spanish telecourse” that will teach you Spanish and tell you an interesting story at the same time. You will see at first sight that this series comes from an “older age”, and the look and feel a bit old-school and cheesy.
Regardless, if you give it a chance, it may catch your attention and provide you with some good comprehensible input. They also have quizzes embedded in the story. They have a narrator in English. It works similarly to the Pimsleur method, where he will guide you through the story and the language learning.
- Great for: If you have a taste for a romantic story and a more “classic” style.
- Country: Mexico and USA.
- Level: Beginner-Intermediate.
4. Extra en Español
Another cheesy, 90’s style sitcom created for Spanish learners. It doesn’t have any subtitles or explanations in English, but the language is easy enough that you can understand if you listen carefully. I mean, the acting is pretty bad and so is the plot, but, we would do anything in order to learn our languages, wouldn’t we!
- Great for: If nothing else works for you, you might find it entertaining and a good source of comprehensible, easy Spanish.
- Country: Spain
- Level: Beginner.
5. BBC’s Mi Vida Loca
This one is more a Spanish course than anything else, but they do have filming in the actual situations that they explain, so I included it in this list too. Like VideoEle, it’s a good starting point for new learners, since it explains the most basics from the beginning. They have English explanations for the terms, the expressions, and the grammar.
- Great for: A quick “crash course” if you are traveling to Spain!
- Country: Spain
- Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
Bonus: Youtube Tibdibs in Spanish
If you just want to see short and engaging videos on Spanish, there are a couple of great options from pop culture:
Tasty en Español
Great for learning Spanish cooking and food terms, and good-looking recipes at the same time! Like this “mango jamaica and chile “paleta”, very Mexican looking!
Movie Trailers in Spanish
If you are a movie aficionado, you have a good one here: the opportunity to watch the Spanish version of your favorite movies trailers. Time will fly as you see how many new movies come up every week. If you have already seen the movie, it will be easier to understand the Spanish, too!
Best Teaching Channels for Spanish in Youtube
I’m leaving for the next week the second group of Youtube channels to learn Spanish from: the ones dedicated to offering explanations and lessons just like a teacher in a classroom. Subscribe to get it directly in your inbox when it comes out!