Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language

Rated 3 out of 5 by from A bit too fast for me I am on lesson 7. I find myself needing to listen to the lesson and audio exercises multiple times in order to learn the language. I can't believe that he flashed many, many family words up once and then asked me to complete the sentences. However, I will stick with this since it is a good companion to a different spanish course that I am taking that is much slower paced with a lot more repetition. I am 63 and this is my first attempt at learning Spanish. It would probably be easier if I was younger or had taken it in school.
Date published: 2021-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Language made simple I was skeptical, but after one class I recognized great value. I have been learning Spanish for several years, this series is putting me over the finish line. Very enjoyable.
Date published: 2020-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course I am coming to Spanish from Portuguese. The course is well paced, covers all aspects of the language, but most importantly covers fantastic tips and encouragement for any language learner. Just as the professor say, if the language is important to you, you will find a way to learn it.
Date published: 2020-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great introductory course to Spanish This is a great course both for those who have never been exposed to the language previously, and for those who have studied the language previously and need a "refresher." The pace is very good, the explanations are clear and easy to remember, and the additional speaking and written activities are a great way to consolidate the acquired knowledge. I also really appreciated the various cultural and geographical references related to the Spanish-speaking countries, and other helpful tips on how to best learn, understand, and practice the language. I highly recommend this course!
Date published: 2020-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Muy bien! El Profesor es excelente y divertido! Tomo siete anos de espanol cuando estoy una nina. Pero no tengo nunca oportunidad para practicarlo. Muchos anos pasar (?) y esta clase proporciona un oportunidad otra vez para aprender la lengua. El profesor es muy bien y divertido! Y, da las lecciones mas despacio entonces aprenderlas es muchas mas faciles. (Now let's see if I go that correct!) I took 7 years of Spanish when I was younger, but i never had the chance to practice it. Many years have passed and this class offered the chance to learn the language all over again. The Professor is great and funny! And, he gives the lessons slowly so learning them is much easier. Taking these classes very slowly but learning so much!
Date published: 2020-11-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not what I ordered nor expected I booth the Spanish Language Course that was to come with a DVD over a month ago. Upon arrival it did not come with a DVD - it was only a book along with more promotional brochures. I have written a complaint email twice with no response. I simply want the DVD I ordered and paid for. My order number is S08657684. Please send me my DVD to the address on file for this order. Thank you.
Date published: 2020-10-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from On the fence I'm currently watching this lesson as a free preview that has been provided by my cable provider. I have had the course on my "wishlist," and was happy to be able to experience it for a while w/o purchasing it. If what I have experienced thus far, (I have just finished lesson #2 with a lot of "rewinding," is how the other lessons are going to be, I am not sure if I want to purchase the set. I have learned 2 other languages mostly by the immersion method. I have taught ESOL, as a volunteer, and did my best to stay faithful to keep everything in English. My classes were for adults. (Sometimes my class was just too large and the learners ranged from barely knowing how to say, "Hello," to those who were on their way to higher education classes. I cheated and in order to avoid frustratration and boredom, I occasionally allowed a little bit of translation to happen! I'm not proud, but I had too many students who were of mixed levels.) Nonetheless, I always had graphics posted! The words were always review words from the last lesson and a list that I might be generating from the current class. For example, in Lesson 2, I would have at least had the female endings: vowels & suffixes plus the articles that accompanied them. I'm not an educator by trade, but I am a psychologist and I believe in giving people tools to help them succeed, especially the first time they come in contact with new information. (Don't respond that they could have taken notes! Imagine if it was a French class or a Greek!)
Date published: 2020-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Course Professor Worden is funny and gifted. His lecures are clear, full of knowledge and interesting. His workbook is easy to follow. I have taken 11/30 lectures so far and loved his course a lot. In fact, I have already bought his second Course. I can't wait to be fluent in Spanish! Thank you, Professor Worden! (Please make course 3)
Date published: 2020-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Teaching Methods I took this course to refresh and review my Spanish language skills. Dr. Worden is an excellent professor. Even though I am at the Intermediate or Advanced Level in Spanish ( I have been living in Mexico for 4 years) I learned new methods I did not know before, and he also taught me new and innovative practices to improve my abilities. I plan on reviewing this course again, and I also plan on taking the Second Course in Spanish.
Date published: 2020-09-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Learning Spanish I found the lessons too long and boring, I lost interest early.
Date published: 2020-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect Pace I knew a great deal of Spanish prior to taking this course but I switched to learning Russian. I wanted to refresh my Spanish and this lecture series is extraordinary for the task. I can't wait to take Spanish II with the same professor. I hope the Great Courses adds more language courses of this quality.
Date published: 2020-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very detailed and fast moving. I’ve just begun the course but already I can say a few things confidently.
Date published: 2020-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous Course! Bill Worden is a masterful teacher. I already speak French and recently decided to learn Spanish. The way he lays things out in such a thorough and organized and logical way is not only allowing me to progress quickly in Spanish but, believe it or not, is also improving my French. The course workbook is excellent. This is an excellent course with a skilled teacher.
Date published: 2020-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spanish made easy! The presentations and explanations are very clear. You can learn at your own pace, and review as often as you can.
Date published: 2020-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from JMESP Half way through live the professor good way of learning
Date published: 2020-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Prof Worden is Great This is without a doubt the finest approach to language teaching I have ever encountered. His students at University of Alabama have a real gem for a teacher.
Date published: 2020-08-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A real class over an app I've been using a Phone app for a long time and I really like it and I still use it I've learned a lot. But you don't realize how much you're missing from an actual class where you learn sentence structure conjugation and all of the little things that put the words in context. Plus Bill is a great teacher.
Date published: 2020-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent professor! This course was my first "true" attempt at learning Spanish. I have experience in learning foreign languages from highschool and college and I thoroughly enjoyed it back then. I find our teacher here most excellent, as he is so detail oriented, which of course is required for language studies, and delightful, as he includes jokes, references, and minor acting, in his instruction methods. I am most likely also purchasing the Spanish II course, as the instructor stays the same. I SO enjoy his methods of teaching -
Date published: 2020-08-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very precise Enjoying the course. well with the price. Would recommend to anyone.
Date published: 2020-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful way to start learning a language Bought Spanish I a few weeks ago and the lessons are great; El Professor es excelente! Highly recommend Great Courses and this one in particular for an introduction to learning Spanish.
Date published: 2020-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love the course so far. Most important, the professor is thorough and leaves me with the confidence that I may actually someday converse in Spanish.
Date published: 2020-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fast-paced but an excellent review. Years ago I studied Spanish in school and then moved from a Spanish speaking area. I started watching Spanish TV stations so I could understand the dialog and not lose all the Spanish I learned. Dr. Worden's style is fast-paced but, excellent for those who have studied Spanish before. I am so pleased to find that I remembered so much Spanish that I thought was gone forever! Dr. Worden is a wonderful teacher and I love his style.
Date published: 2020-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learning Spanish This a great beginner class, I did not have any prior knowledge of language and it is easy to unferstand
Date published: 2020-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I have been taking the class weekly, doing the homework and practicing and I think I will be able to communicate in Spanish when I’m done. The instructor is excellent and I really like the format
Date published: 2020-07-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Scattered As someone who was fluent in Spanish and needed a refresher I can honestly say this course is all over the place and not friendly towards new learners. I''d compare it to the new math. Your'e better off trying Duolingo or Babbel.
Date published: 2020-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Can not say enough good things about this course! I bought this course (and it's follow up) at the start of the COVID pandemic. A trip to Spain was cancelled, and I've been wanted to aprendo Espanol por mucho anos. I've been steadily working through the course and have supplemented it with other on-line drilling tools. Its been a lot of fun. The videos are good and are really matched well with the workbook & audio glossary tools. Prof Worden also offers great tips about motivation, continued learning and cultural context.
Date published: 2020-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great instructor I have only watched the first segment but I can tell from his teaching style that he definitely appeals to my learning style. And I can relate to his process to cover a wide range of topics within a single lesson.
Date published: 2020-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well designed to reinforce learning I have taken many Spanish courses and conversational speaking lessons and this is the best for me. It is logical, the instructor explains concepts clearly and reinforces learning through different types of exercise. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2020-06-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from here is the audio glossary? The instructor and the course description on the website both make reference to an "audio glossary" at the end of each lesson. Where m is it? Not on the DVD's that I've ordered, that's for sure. The website states 43 minutes per lesson, the DVD's state 30 minutes per lesson. I'm confused already before learning the language.
Date published: 2020-06-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too fast, not enough visuals, boring workbook I purchased the video course only to find out the digital course workbook was not fillable. As I wanted to be able to write in the workbook, I paid additional to purchase a hard copy. The workbook is black and white and the not very appealing or engaging. The course instructor has a pleasant speaking voice, personality, and I think if I took a course in person with him, I would enjoy it. That being said, the lecture style and presentation is too static. He lectures with no whiteboard or visuals. Key terms etc., are displayed digitally and then gone. When he demonstrates pronunciation and then asks for you to repeat, it is done at a rapid pace. I find myself stopping the video and rewinding in order to have adequate practice. After the lecture there is a section of the video called "Audio Glossary and Speaking Activities" where you are to practice the lesson. There is a native speaker who says vocabulary for you to repeat and the instructor gives the English. Again, this is delivered at a quick pace and nothing is displayed. I understand it is listening and speaking practice, however, for a beginning course, it would be helpful to say it once without the words being displayed, and then repeat it with the vocabulary displayed. Overall, the course is not visually appealing and I if you are a visual learner like I am, it will not meet your needs.
Date published: 2020-06-12
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Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language
Course Trailer
Introduction to the Spanish Language
1: Introduction to the Spanish Language

Begin by looking at both the "whats" of Spanish (elements such as grammar and vocabulary), and the "hows"-how to study, practice, and learn the language most effectively. Start with identifying cognates (Spanish words that are similar to their English equivalents), hearing the five Spanish vowel sounds, and practicing basic greetings, responses, and goodbyes....

45 min
Definite Articles and Nouns
2: Definite Articles and Nouns

Learn the gender of Spanish nouns by practicing each new noun with its masculine or feminine definite article. Grasp how the suffixes of nouns can help identify their gender. Study how to make nouns plural, practice pronouncing Spanish consonants, and learn the letters of the Spanish alphabet....

48 min
Subject Pronouns and the Verb Ser
3: Subject Pronouns and the Verb Ser

Investigate the five singular subject pronouns and the seven plural subject pronouns in Spanish, and how they are used in Spanish-speaking cultures. Then conjugate the verb ser (to be) in the present tense, create simple sentences, and explore how Spanish adjectives agree with the nouns they modify in number and gender....

43 min
Regular -ar Verbs in the Present
4: Regular -ar Verbs in the Present

Here, learn about an important category of Spanish verbs-those whose infinitives end in -ar. Conjugate regular -ar verbs in the present tense by identifying the verb's stem and adding the appropriate endings. Continue with Spanish adjectives and their placement, cognate adjectives, and the pronunciation of important consonants....

49 min
Indefinite Articles and Numbers to 100
5: Indefinite Articles and Numbers to 100

Acquire the Spanish indefinite articles ("a", "an", and "some" in English), and observe how indefinite articles are used in Spanish. Learn to count to 100, and practice simple math problems. Finally, complete your work with Spanish consonants, making important distinctions in the pronunciations of b, v, g, d, and x....

42 min
The Verb Estar and Numbers over 100
6: The Verb Estar and Numbers over 100

Investigate the verb estar, the second Spanish verb for "to be". Learn about the uses of estar, as contrasted with ser. Conjugate estar in the present tense, and use it with adjectives describing emotions, conditions, and locations. Learn to count to 1000, and conclude with a historical note about Spanish pronunciation....

46 min
Regular -er and -ir Verbs in the Present
7: Regular -er and -ir Verbs in the Present

Conjugate two new categories of Spanish verbs-those that end in -er and -ir. For both, learn and practice the appropriate endings for the present tense. Continue with possessive adjectives, and study how these are used in Spanish. Then discover three ways of forming questions, and learn vocabulary related to the family....

45 min
The Verb Ir in the Present
8: The Verb Ir in the Present

Begin with an important irregular verb: ir, meaning "to go". Conjugate ir in the present tense, and learn about its key uses in Spanish. Next, study and practice common Spanish interrogatives-words used in asking questions. Finish by looking at effective ways to remember new words and build vocabulary....

40 min
Expressing Time in Spanish
9: Expressing Time in Spanish

First, practice telling the time of day in Spanish, expressing the hour and minutes, and learn important vocabulary relating to time. Continue with the days of the week and vocabulary regarding days and dates. Finally, learn the months of the year, and form questions relating to time, dates, and the seasons....

45 min
Expressions Using the Verb Tener
10: Expressions Using the Verb Tener

This lesson begins with another important irregular verb: tener (to have). Grasp how to conjugate tener, and learn expressions using it regarding physical conditions, emotional conditions, and age. Add more important vocabulary related to the family. Finish by considering some important strategies to help you succeed as a language learner....

38 min
Verbs like Hacer and Interrogative Words
11: Verbs like Hacer and Interrogative Words

Study the verb hacer (to make or to do), and learn some of the many familiar expressions that use it. Continue with the similar verbs poner, salir, and traer, and take a deeper look at Spanish interrogatives. Learn how to talk about punctuation in Spanish, and discover how it is used....

42 min
The Verbs Saber and Conocer
12: The Verbs Saber and Conocer

Spanish has two verbs, saber and conocer, which carry the meanings of the English verb "to know." Investigate their conjugations, their differences in meaning, and their uses. Then add some new verbs that are conjugated like conocer, and begin to study Spanish prepositions, focusing on those that describe spatial relationships....

45 min
Stem-Changing Verbs
13: Stem-Changing Verbs

Here, work with Spanish verbs that are irregular-not in their tense endings, but in the verb stems used to conjugate them. Study how to conjugate verbs of this type as you learn a range of new verbs. Also study prepositional pronouns, as well as rules for which syllables to stress when pronouncing Spanish words....

42 min
Ver, Dar, and Other Irregular Verbs
14: Ver, Dar, and Other Irregular Verbs

Delve into the fascinating history of U.S. place names that are derived from Spanish, including the names of five states. Continue your work with key irregular verbs, and study important guidelines for conjugating them. Then, listen to excerpts from a Spanish newscast, and explore the value of listening to the news in Spanish....

42 min
The Present Progressive
15: The Present Progressive

The present progressive is a useful grammatical construction in Spanish that describes something that is in progress right now, happening in the present. Learn how to form and use the present progressive, and how its use in Spanish differs from the way it's used in English. Continue with vocabulary related to dining, meals, and eating venues....

42 min
Direct Object Pronouns and Adverbs
16: Direct Object Pronouns and Adverbs

Begin with additional vocabulary concerning food and drink, focusing on breakfast and lunch. Then study direct object pronouns (such as "them" in English), which replace direct object nouns to avoid redundancy, and learn their uses and placement in Spanish. Finally, encounter Spanish adverbs: common words used to modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs....

41 min
Affirmatives, Negatives, and Demonstratives
17: Affirmatives, Negatives, and Demonstratives

Now add the Spanish demonstrative adjectives ("this" and "that" in English) and the related demonstrative pronouns, and study additional vocabulary related to eating dinner. Look at ways to create both affirmative and negative statements in Spanish, and learn about regional differences in the language as it's spoken across the world....

40 min
More Affirmative and Negative Expressions
18: More Affirmative and Negative Expressions

Learn and practice a range of new vocabulary related to colors, followed by words that describe clothing. Take a detailed look at Spanish affirmative and negative adjectives (as in "some" and "none" in English), which can also be used as pronouns. Also study how to pronounce vowel combinations, diphthongs, and triphthongs in Spanish....

39 min
Indirect Object Pronouns
19: Indirect Object Pronouns

Continue working with vocabulary related to clothing, and practice describing clothing. Then study Spanish indirect object pronouns-pronouns that replace indirect objects-and learn verbs that commonly use them. Last, explore some additional strategies for learning and remembering new vocabulary....

41 min
Double Object Pronouns
20: Double Object Pronouns

Enlarge your vocabulary with words relating to rooms and furnishings in a house, and learn how to say ordinal numbers in Spanish. Then study how to use indirect and direct object pronouns together (as in, "I give it to you" in English), and explore some important expressions using the verb pensar (to think)....

38 min
Reflexive Verbs
21: Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs are those for which the subject and the object of the action are the same (as in, "I wash myself" in English). Study how these verbs function in Spanish, and learn commonly used examples. Look deeply at the uses of the verbs ser and estar, the two Spanish verbs signifying "to be." ...

45 min
Talking about the Past: Acabar and Hace
22: Talking about the Past: Acabar and Hace

Here, add important vocabulary relating to motion and travel, and learn some common reflexive verbs that describe mental and emotional states. Then study two useful constructions for speaking about the past: acabar de, which describes something that just happened, and hace...que, which expresses how long something has been going on....

42 min
Talking about the Past: Desde Cuando...?
23: Talking about the Past: Desde Cuando...?

This lesson introduces two common constructions that allow you to ask how long someone has done something, and how long something has been going on. Following this, add a range of vocabulary related to leisure activities, household chores, and romantic relationships. Also explore strategies to improve your speaking in Spanish....

43 min
Formal Commands and Unequal Comparisons
24: Formal Commands and Unequal Comparisons

Continue to enlarge your vocabulary with words relating to places, such as public venues and businesses. Then learn how to say formal commands, also known as imperatives, as well as negative commands, and practice using them in different contexts. Study ways to compare two things that are not the same. Finally, consider two effective approaches to remembering grammar rules....

43 min
Informal Commands
25: Informal Commands

Study and practice informal commands, both affirmative and negative, including their important irregular forms. Learn vocabulary related to the human body, and practice commands referring to the body. Then grasp how to use pronouns with commands, and explore some of the most commonly used command forms in Spanish....

45 min
Superlatives and Equal Comparisons
26: Superlatives and Equal Comparisons

Delve into vocabulary relating to sports and outdoor activities, and investigate the importance of el fútbol, or soccer, in Spanish-speaking countries. Learn how to make comparisons involving actions, numbers, and things that are equal, and how to express superlatives. Last, consider a useful approach to thinking about and incorporating new vocabulary....

44 min
Regular -ar Verbs in the Preterite
27: Regular -ar Verbs in the Preterite

Begin to work with the preterite tense, which expresses actions completed in the past. Explore how to use this tense in Spanish, how to conjugate regular -ar verbs, and how to make preterite conjugations easy to remember. Expand on preterite usage by practicing with new vocabulary used in describing past events....

44 min
Regular -er and -ir Verbs in the Preterite
28: Regular -er and -ir Verbs in the Preterite

Continue your exploration of this vital tense in Spanish, and learn to express past actions with regular -er and -ir verbs, stem-changing verbs, and irregular verbs. Observe how some Spanish verbs actually change meaning when used in the preterite. Also learn important adjectives that describe inherent characteristics of something, as well as others used to describe changeable conditions....

41 min
Irregular Verbs in the Preterite
29: Irregular Verbs in the Preterite

Round out your knowledge of the preterite by working with the full range of Spanish verbs that are irregular in this tense. Grasp why, in studying the present and preterite tenses, you have now learned the hardest verb conjugations in the Spanish language. Then add important vocabulary about work and money....

47 min
Next Steps in Improving Your Spanish
30: Next Steps in Improving Your Spanish

Begin this final lesson with useful vocabulary regarding professions, technology, and the Internet. Learn about key verbs that are commonly used with prepositions, and review the preterite tense. Conclude by looking at ways to have an immersive experience with Spanish, and get a preview of a second level of Spanish study....

49 min
Bill Worden

The ideal language learner is a motivated student who is unafraid to make mistakes. Motivation leads to a high level of engagement with the language, and accepting errors as a natural part of the language learning process helps students keep working toward proficiency even when things get difficult.


Brown University


The University of Alabama

About Bill Worden

Dr. Bill Worden is an Associate Professor of Spanish at The University of Alabama. He received his A.B. in Mathematics from Dartmouth College, his M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College and his Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University.

Since 2002, Dr. Worden has taught a wide variety of courses at The University of Alabama, ranging from Introductory Spanish and Advanced Grammar and Composition to undergraduate and graduate courses in 16th- and 17th-century Spanish literature.

Dr. Worden's main area of research is the work of Miguel de Cervantes, especially his novel Don Quixote. Dr. Worden has published in the fields of early modern Spanish literature, colonial Cuban theater, and 19th-century Spanish literature. He has also published on pedagogical topics, including how to teach Spanish at the middle school and high school levels, and has lectured on approaches for helping beginning language students become comfortable speaking Spanish.

Dr. Worden was awarded the David and Ruth Kossoff Prize for Leadership in Language Teaching by the Department of Hispanic Studies at Brown University, as well as the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching by the Graduate School at Brown. In 2013, the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers selected Dr. Worden as the winner of the annual Outstanding Foreign Language Teacher Award for Postsecondary.

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