How to Learn Spanish: Native Resource Guide

So you want to speak Spanish like a native, but it seems like all Spanish learning resources are made for non-native speakers. That means you’re not exposed to the slang or natural flow of grammar and conversation skills that you definitely need to start speaking like a local!

If you’re ready to take on the challenge and advance your language skills, check out this guide with all of our favorite Spanish resources. Whether it’s news or short films, these will help you incorporate more Spanish into your everyday life. And, if you spend an hour or two watching Spanish movies instead of doing the laundry, you can always say it was in the name of learning. Disfruta!

Movies | Pelis

There are a lot of differences in both slang and culture across Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish films are a great place to get comfortable with these variations.

  • Y Tú Mamá También is a classic film that takes place in Mexico. It recounts the life of two teenage boys who go on a coming-of-age journey.

  • No se aceptan devoluciones tells the interesting story of a man whose life totally changes after his supposed daughter is left on his doorstep.

  • Los Diarios de Motocicleta will teach you a little bit about history by giving a look inside Che Guevara’s youth.

  • Volver is a critically aclaimed drama that takes place in Madrid and stars Penelope Cruz. The film mixes the genres of farce, tragedy, melodrama, and magic realism, and it's definitely worth a watch.

Short Films | Cortos

If you don’t have time for a full movie but still want to get your Spanish film fix, “cortos” are the perfect place to start.

  • 7:35 de la Mañana is an Oscar-nominated Spanish short film. We don’t want to spoil the 8-minute plot, so make sure to check this one out.

  • Código 7 is based on a science fiction story by Philip K. Dick. In just 9 minutes, you’ll get to follow the travails of a man trapped in an outer space prison.

  • Salers is set in the French city of Salers where the protagonist lived during the Nazi regime. Many years later, he retells his story. You can view it online at Cinemargentino, which is a one-stop-shop for all sorts of Spanish short films.

Podcasts & Radio | Podcasts y Radio

Download one of these before your morning commute each day and you’ll understand the locals in no time.

  • Cadena SER is Spain’s most popular radio station, boasting a great selection of videos, podcasts, and breaking news.

  • Buenos Días América is a half-hour podcast that posts a new episode every day. Their content is focused on current events across the United States and Latin America, so you can stay updated while you practice your listening skills.

  • Futuro Abierto is one of Spanish Public Radio’s weekly podcasts. Although there are many to choose from, Futuro Abierto focuses on a new theme each week. You'll expand your vocab through their combination of interviews and news reports on everything from psychology to health.

News | Noticias

Not only can reading Spanish news help with your comprehension, it can also offer you a new global perspective.

  • El País is a great source for Spanish news. Based out of Madrid, it's read by over 15.6 million hispanohablantes, and you can be one of them!

  • From Barcelona, La Vanguardia is one of the most popular news sources in Spain. Published in both castellano and catalán, you can always freshen up with this paper before planning a trip to Catalunya.

  • Because you can’t do Spanish News without Fútbol News, check out Mundo Deportivo.

Humor | Humor

When you need a fix of The Onion but want to keep practicing your Spanish, these online “news” sources are the place to go. Whether it’s satirical news or silly cartoons, you’ll not only be learning the language, but the cultural sense of humor.

  • El Jueves is the name of a “newspaper” that actually releases on Wednesday’s each week, so you can see where things are headed. With everything from satirical takes on the daily news to Spanish cartoons, this is a local’s favorite place for a good laugh.

  • Las viñetas del país is the cartoon section of the aforementioned newspaper, El País. Similar to English New Yorker cartoons, these offer social commentary through drawings and humor.

  • El Mundo Today is another news satire site. You can read about society, sports, culture, and more through a sarcastic lens.

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This post was originally published on April 3, 2017.