Learning Spanish II: How to Understand and Speak a New Language

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Forcing Me to Learn I took a year of Spanish in high school (decades ago) and have dabbled in other attempts through the years (tapes, Spanish children's' books, a dummies book, mobile apps, etc.). I decided it was either a GC course or going back to college. Professor Worden is a great instructor, very clear, personable, and efficient with the lesson time. My only complaint is that it is heavy on the mechanics of the language, grammar, verb tenses, etc., sometimes at the expense of things that I feel would help in conversation. The most helpful segments for me are those that are short, provide a new word or phrase, then use it in a practical sentence. The long strings of Spanish lose me too often, even in the exercises. Professor Worden articulates his Spanish nicely during the exercises, but his actor friends often aren't as clear or careful. I find I'm being forced to re-learn some English grammar terms so I can keep up (". . . indirect personal pronoun used with the first-person preterite conjugation . . ." Yikes! I'm not a language major!). One word of advice: Don't neglect the workbook. I ignored it for the first couple of lessons and "discovered" it during the third. Went back and repeated the first lectures and found them much more understandable.
Date published: 2020-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Presenter This course is helping me review and solidify my Spanish. The lecturer is clear and has enough repetition to make new words and concepts stick. His methods of presentation are excellent and the aural exercises at the end of each lesson are very helpful. I am enjoying this so much that I wish there was a Learning Spanish 3.
Date published: 2020-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spanish II I just received the bundle of fantastic learning DVD & workbook. Beautiful!
Date published: 2020-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Well presented and clear I bought this to expand my knowledge of Spanish. The lectures and the lecturer compare very favourably
Date published: 2020-08-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Learning Spanish II I made a mistake in buying the "II" version instead of the "I" version. I have no understanding of Spanish and find the "II" version useless. I cannot find the "I" version to buy!
Date published: 2020-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A little too advanced for me I ordered volume 1, after seeing my Spanish was not quite up to starting with 2. I will love 2 once I have finished 1.
Date published: 2020-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course I was born and raised in the USA. But my parents and many relatives spoke Spanish as well as English. So I grew up speaking, reading and writing both languages. I also took Spanish in middle and high schools plus in college. I wanted a course that could help me review grammar as well as expand my vocabulary. Well, I certainly made the right choice. Learning Spanish and Learning Spanish II are excellent resources. I am even using the courses to tutor my neice and nephew who have been enrolled in a Spanish immersion program since they were in elementary school. These courses are great for beginners, those with some language experience and for those needing a review. Thanks to The Great Courses!
Date published: 2020-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Learning Spanish Prof. Bill Worden has done a great job. I love his dedication and endeavor. What wonderful lectures. God bless you
Date published: 2020-06-05
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Learning Spanish II: How to Understand and Speak a New Language
Course Trailer
Essentials for Success with Spanish
1: Essentials for Success with Spanish

Begin by exploring key principles of effective language learning. Consider a core approach to building comprehension, focusing on linguistic cognates, context, and the use of conjecture. Then, do a spirited review of definite and indefinite articles, singular and plural nouns, and subject pronouns, and look at some new grammar and vocabulary. Finally, preview the material you'll learn in the cours...

47 min
The Present Tense and Prepositions
2: The Present Tense and Prepositions

To build conversational skill, practice the present tense with verbs ending in "ar," "er," and "ir." Then learn some vital irregular verbs and how to use them. Continue with prepositional pronouns (as in "near me" or "next to her"), and some new prepositions (such as "beneath" and "behind"). Finish with a look at the four-part structure of the course, and how to get the most from it....

44 min
Indirect Objects and Verbs like Gustar
3: Indirect Objects and Verbs like Gustar

Here, tackle a variety of new material. Start with a thorough look at indirect object pronouns (as in "to/for you" or "to/for us"), and verbs that use them. Work with a highly useful verb, gustar, which expresses what someone likes or doesn't like, and with other verbs which function similarly. Then explore the geography of the Spanish-speaking world, and adjectives of nationality....

53 min
Spanish Pronunciation and Reciprocal Verbs
4: Spanish Pronunciation and Reciprocal Verbs

Look at ways to develop excellent pronunciation in Spanish. In particular, practice Spanish consonant sounds that don't exist in English, focusing on the Spanish "r." Investigate reflexive verbs, and how to use them in conversational speech. Last, study reciprocal verbs, which describe actions done by people to each other, and observe how they work within a romantic story spoken in Spanish....

44 min
Advanced Work with the Preterite Tense
5: Advanced Work with the Preterite Tense

First, learn useful vocabulary relating to the kitchen and cooking. Then study grammatical constructions that use the present tense to talk about the past. Delve deeply into the preterite tense, which expresses past actions that are viewed as completed or ended. Sharpen your command of the preterite with key verbs such as tener (to have), ver (to see), dar (to give), and ir (to go)....

42 min
Introduction to the Imperfect Tense
6: Introduction to the Imperfect Tense

Explore important vocabulary regarding time, and how to use it conversationally. Then work with the imperfect tense, which expresses ongoing actions in the past, conditions or characteristics in the past, time or age in the past, and habitual past actions. Practice forming the imperfect with all categories of verbs, and grasp how the imperfect is used in Spanish compared with English....

48 min
When to Use the Imperfect and the Preterite
7: When to Use the Imperfect and the Preterite

Learn to distinguish between contexts where the preterite is the necessary tense and others where it's best to use the imperfect. As a case in point, see what happens when an action in the past interrupts another action that is in progress. Work briefly with the verb haber (to have) in the preterite and the imperfect. Finally, learn about one of the most important novels in Spanish literature....

44 min
How to Expand Your Spanish Vocabulary
8: How to Expand Your Spanish Vocabulary

Investigate a two-step approach to incorporating new words in Spanish as an active part of your vocabulary. Next, focus on the Spanish pronoun se, and its essential use in passive and impersonal expressions. Then learn the imperfect progressive construction, vital for conversation, which emphasizes the ongoing nature of past actions. Observe the use of verb tenses in a story from Cervantes....

47 min
Mastering the Imperfect and the Preterite
9: Mastering the Imperfect and the Preterite

Learn a range of new vocabulary relating to the family. Then take a look at verbs that change meaning depending on their context. Observe how some important verbs have different meanings in the preterite and the imperfect, and how others change meaning when used in the positive as opposed to the negative. Also grasp three rules regarding which syllables to stress when speaking Spanish....

47 min
Mastering Direct and Double Object Pronouns
10: Mastering Direct and Double Object Pronouns

Improve your Spanish pronunciation by working with key vowel and consonant sounds that we may think are the same as English, but are in fact different. Continue with direct object pronouns (as in, "I see them."), and double object pronouns, where two pronouns occur within a sentence ("We send them to him."). Learn how to build skill with these vital elements of conversation....

44 min
Expressing Possession in Spanish
11: Expressing Possession in Spanish

Begin this lesson with some highly useful vocabulary regarding shopping. Contemplate three qualities of successful language learners, and how to maximize your own learning of Spanish. Then work in depth with possessive adjectives (as in "my" or "your"), and possessive pronouns ("mine" or "yours"), and practice them in many different conversational settings where they appear....

43 min
Using Se to Talk about Unplanned Events
12: Using Se to Talk about Unplanned Events

Continue your work with Spanish pronunciation by practicing sounds which can be tricky for learners, such as the Spanish "b," "s," and "d" sounds. Next, learn a useful verbal construction that expresses accidental or unplanned events, such as when someone breaks or forgets something. Finally, take a thorough look at Spanish spelling, and some of the challenges it presents for English speakers....

50 min
The Present Perfect Tense
13: The Present Perfect Tense

Following work with new vocabulary, delve into the past participles of verbs. In particular, investigate their use as adjectives (as in, "I'm prepared"). Then learn five additional words used in talking about time in different contexts. End this lesson by exploring the present perfect tense (as in "We have slept"), how to conjugate it, and when to use it in expressing yourself in Spanish....

43 min
Past Participles as Adjectives and Nouns
14: Past Participles as Adjectives and Nouns

Deepen your work with some core elements of conversational fluency. First, refine your knowledge of past participles; both their use in the present perfect tense and their use as adjectives. Practice the present perfect tense with pronouns (such as, "We've given it to them"), with adverbs (as in "I've never met Juan"), and discover how Spanish past participles can also function as nouns....

47 min
The Future Tense
15: The Future Tense

Learn two ways to express future actions without using the future tense; one, using the present tense to describe future actions, and, two, using the Spanish construction meaning that one is "going to" do something. Then learn the less used future tense, some key expressions regarding the future, and note how the future tense is also used to express uncertainty or conjecture....

43 min
Cognates and False Cognates
16: Cognates and False Cognates

Consider the value of making a good first impression when you begin communicating with Spanish speakers. With this in mind, learn a group of effective "conversation openers," to engage with the person you're speaking to. Continue with a range of new vocabulary, and take a close look at the frequency and usefulness of cognates in Spanish-words that are the same as or similar to words in English....

38 min
The Conditional Tense
17: The Conditional Tense

In approaching the conditional, note how this tense is used in English to express potential actions, and to be polite, and how it functions similarly in Spanish. Review the five tenses you've learned so far, and observe how adding new tenses becomes easier as you progress. Learn to conjugate the conditional, and practice its application, including its use to express probability in the past....

45 min
Uses of the Infinitive
18: Uses of the Infinitive

Explore Spanish nouns that are directly related to verbs, highlighting nouns that end in the suffix "-miento." Continue with a look at important uses of the infinitive in Spanish; its use as a subject ("I like to cook"), an object ("We want to eat now"), and in commands. Also work with three highly useful verbs: dejar (to leave), and sentirse and sentir, which express how someone feels....

47 min
Relative Adverbs and Relative Pronouns
19: Relative Adverbs and Relative Pronouns

Extend your skill with the infinitive with important additional ways to use it, such as its use as a noun. Also deepen your work with interrogatives, focusing on questions involving "what" and "which." Then delve into the use of relative adverbs and relative pronouns, words which link the first part of a sentence with what comes afterwards....

42 min
Mastering the Uses of Estar and Ser
20: Mastering the Uses of Estar and Ser

A grasp of how to use the verbs estar and ser (both of which mean "to be"), is fundamental for communicating in Spanish. Here, study five primary contexts for using estar, followed by eight core uses of ser. Also note cases where both ser and estar are possible. Conclude this lesson by considering how to develop the most effective mental attitude for learning Spanish....

43 min
Advanced Work with Adverbs and Adjectives
21: Advanced Work with Adverbs and Adjectives

Refine your facility in Spanish with a review of the three types of adverbs, adding some vital adverbial expressions, such as con frecuencia (frequently). Explore Spanish adjectives which can come before nouns, and nouns that end with the suffix "-ión." Then, learn about Gabriel García Márquez's Cien años de Soledad, one of the two most important and influential novels ...

44 min
How to Use Para and Por
22: How to Use Para and Por

Add more adverbs and adjectives to your vocabulary, and learn how to change adjectives into nouns. Study how to use two of the most important prepositions, which can be challenging for Spanish learners: para and por, both of which translate into English as "for." Learn the key contexts for each, and the usage differences you must grasp to speak Spanish correctly....

42 min
The Evolution of the Spanish Language
23: The Evolution of the Spanish Language

Trace the origins of Spanish, beginning with the early Iberian languages and the introduction of Latin by the Romans. Follow the process by which Latin developed into castellano, or modern Spanish. Learn to make comparisons in Spanish, both of equality and inequality. Also study adjectives which mean one thing when used before a noun, and something else when used after it....

45 min
Health and Well-Being in Spanish
24: Health and Well-Being in Spanish

This lecture introduces a wide range of vocabulary regarding health. Learn to speak about medicine and doctors, the parts of the human body, and about various common health problems and their remedies. Continue with important vocabulary regarding pleasure and enjoyment. Practice using the preterite and imperfect tenses. Then, consider some ways to accelerate your learning of Spanish....

43 min
Advanced Work with Commands
25: Advanced Work with Commands

Take a deeper look at commands in Spanish, which you will use constantly in conversation. Begin with informal commands in the second person singular and plural. Then work with the more complex formal commands, negative commands, and commands in the first person plural. Study the geography of the U.S.-Mexico border, and the Mexican states and cities that adjoin the region....

41 min
Introduction to the Subjunctive Mood
26: Introduction to the Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood in Spanish expresses subjectivity on the part of the speaker. Look into the meanings of this important mood, how to conjugate many verbs in the present tense of the subjunctive, and how to use it in one specific context: with expressions of desire. Also investigate the historic influence of Germanic languages on Spanish, particularly regarding Spanish vocabulary....

42 min
Expressing Doubt with the Subjunctive
27: Expressing Doubt with the Subjunctive

Look again at the question of assimilating new words in Spanish, and steps you can take to expand your vocabulary. Practice the subjunctive as it's used in expressions of doubt or uncertainty, and also with certain important impersonal expressions. Learn new vocabulary relating to the world of art. Then explore the life and works of the great Renaissance painter, El Greco....

43 min
Expressing Influence with the Subjunctive
28: Expressing Influence with the Subjunctive

Review the uses of the subjunctive mood that you've learned to this point, and the typical structure of sentences where the subjunctive appears. Continue with a new context for the subjunctive: expressions of influence. Learn more useful impersonal expressions that require the subjunctive. Finally, take account of the enormous impact of Arabic language and culture on Spanish....

43 min
Expressing Emotion with the Subjunctive
29: Expressing Emotion with the Subjunctive

Practice using some key Spanish verbs that have to do with the act of seeing or looking. Then, study another context for the subjunctive mood-the expression of emotion-along with some new vocabulary relating to emotional states. Consider an important way to think about language learning. Also discover another important influence on Spanish: the indigenous languages of the New World....

42 min
Next Steps toward Spanish Fluency
30: Next Steps toward Spanish Fluency

In this last lesson, learn about the different varieties of Spanish spoken around the world, and the differences you'll encounter in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Continue with a look at some new and useful vocabulary. Conclude by taking stock of where you are in your Spanish studies, and some key ideas on how to keep moving forward....

39 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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