spanish

Lexicoon


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  • Review


    This Spanish language dictionary has it all–the looks, the functionality, and the attitude! It includes ethymology, pronunciation, sentence part categorization, definition, synonyms, a handy translator to several languages, words related to it, live examples, and recent tendencies in relation to it as well! Definitely a must for beginner and intermediate Spanish language learners.

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Academia Mexicana de la Lengua


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    In the Mexican Academy of Language’s website you will find four great Mexican Spanish dictionaries (on this incarnation of the site, you’ll find them on the top left corner, in the main menu). My personal recommendation is the “Diccionario breve de mexicanismos de Guido Gómez de Silva”, which is the most complete Mexican Spanish dictionary you will find on the web. The site also features another “Diccionario de Mexicanismos” (right above Guido Gómez’s), but that one is flash based so it’s not as easy to navigate.

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Tu Babel


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  • Review


    TuBabel.com is a Spanish language dictionary, but not your garden variety one. It is an ambitious crowd-sourced project that aims to gather all the Spanish slang and colloquial expressions you would never find in a “respectable” dictionary. It doesn’t only hold the meaning for a word in one country: it will also show you what that word means in every country where Spanish is the official language. This way, you’ll know beforehand where a certain word is considered rude, and where it isn’t. It even has an “angel” mode and a “devil” mode that you can toggle between, in order to go from the PG words to the, ahem, spicier language.

    This site has a relatively low rating for two reasons. One is that every once in a while, it has server problems and disappears off the face of the internet for a day or two, only to come back like nothing happened. Don’t ask me why. The other problem is that it is somewhat poorly edited, so sometimes you’ll find errors, such as entries where instead of a definition, the contributor decided to make a comment instead, which really defeats the purpose of the entry in the first place.

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En sintonía con el español


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    The Centro Virtual Cervantes website is an amazingly useful resource in itself, with materials for every level, online courses, literature articles, and more, but it’s so big it’s easy to get lost in, which is why I’d rather focus on “En sintonía con el español”. This site (obviously belonging to the Centro Cervantes network) is home to a podcast and blog which are both updated frequently, with interesting articles and videos on general interest, cultural and grammar-related topics.

    Its contents are more beneficial to students entering intermediate Spanish, but in any case it’s a good study resource.

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Duolingo


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  • Review


    Duolingo is Luis von Ahn’s second brainchild (von Ahn is also ‘father’ to CAPTCHA, which you must have seen at least once in your life unless you have been living under a rock). In his own words, von Ahn wanted to know how to deliver quality English language education to the millions of people without access to classes, and he came up with a brilliant idea: the students would “pay” for their classes translating the Internet (and by this I mean the whole internet–from Wikipedia to other less well-known large clients).

    Duolingo works like this: you learn the language of your choosing through intuitive, practical writing and listening/reading comprehension exercises, translating phrases from and to your base language, or writing them as they’re spelled to you. Once you have a certain level (since you earn points for each completed lesson, as if playing in an arcade game) Duolingo will start showing you an approximate percentage of reading comprehension in your target language and invite you to participate in translating or correcting an actual article.

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