There are many benefits of learning Spanish, from getting ahead in the job market to travelling in countries where the language is Latin-based.
There isn’t one answer as to how much it costs – it depends on how you’re going about your learning. These days, the Internet makes it easy to find Spanish lessons, without needing a ton of expensive books or software. Plus there are free Spanish-learning apps that can be a fun way to fit learning into your day. And, when you’re ready to take your studies seriously, the availability of online lesson platforms makes finding a tutor within your budget easier than ever. So let’s see what the options are.
Yes, those things that existed before computers, the Internet or smartphones. Advantages? You can go at your own pace, and most books will have quizzes or tests at the end of each chapter, but it’s difficult to really gauge your progress outside of that. On top of this, you won’t have the audio that software provides, just a phonetic spelling that you’ll need to decipher. Books can be as inexpensive as £5 second-hand, and up to £20 new.
While there are many language-learning software packages available out there (Babbel, Mondly, FluentU, Rocket Spanish, Duolingo, Instant Immersion Spanish, Pimsleur, Living Language Spanish), the best known is Rosetta Stone, which offers a Spanish program that includes a fully immersive and sequenced curriculum. It also integrates speech recognition software to help you get the actual pronunciation and accent down. Prices range from £13 for three months to £4.98 per month, depending on the length of your subscription.
Language software is a great option if you want to set your schedule –whenever you have some spare time. However, the biggest drawback is the lack of personal attention. You won’t be able to double-check your pronunciation with the software; you’ll need to rely on your own ear to determine whether you’re getting the syntax and pronunciation correct.
Nowadays, there’s an app for everything – including many for learning Spanish. Language-learning apps are quite similar to software, but they're much more portable. It’s an easy option for quick study during your commute, on your breaks, or anywhere else that you bring your smartphone or tablet. In addition to being portable, many of these apps are free.
However, keep in mind that these apps typically set your path for you and assume your goals. Because of this, you might get stuck at a certain level, even if what you really want to learn is introduced much later on. Mobile apps may be free and ad-supported, or require a monthly subscription of £5 up to £40 or even more.
Online Learning Websites
Of course, another learning method comes in the form of websites or tutorial videos. These share the same drawbacks as apps and software, in that they’re not targeted to your specific goals. There are certainly some excellent sites out there, but beware of those that rely on memorising and repetition, instead of real-life scenarios for learning. Online resources are often free or ad-supported, or they require a monthly subscription of £10 to £50 or more.
Whether you seek an online tutor that you meet over video chat or an in-person tutor that you meet with regularly, or perhaps a home tutor, you should know that teachers are easily the most effective choice for your money. This is because you have complete control over the pace of your learning (your tutor will monitor progress and only proceed when you have mastered the current Spanish segment), instantaneous feedback on pronunciation errors and the ability to ask questions about anything that you’re having trouble with. As you’re weighing options and considering how much a tutor will cost, it’s important to realise how much more you’re getting for the expense.
Check out our database of tutors to see who would suit your situation.