I am learning Spanish (Castellano) and want to expand my vocabulary.

There are many vocabulary trainers out there. But some do not come with predefined words and others contain them all. I want to learn basic words first. But not only a few words for vacation.

Is there any site or software that contains only basic vocabulary to train or where different levels of knowledge can be chosen?

I want to avoid wasting time learning words I never gonna need.


5 Answers 5


Duolingo is an excellent and free tool to learn Spanish: http://duolingo.com/

It is also available as a free App for iPhone and iPod touch if you have any of those devices. https://itunes.apple.com/app/duolingo-learn-spanish-french/id570060128?mt=8

And to your concern, it does help a lot as it involves lot of different types of activities and reinforcements, all revolving around the most used Spanish words and phrases.


I think the only way to acquire vocabulary is practice, practice and practice. Read stuff with a dictionary handy, this will give you the words that are actually used.

One easy way is to read comics. There are lots of great ones in Spanish, think "Mortadelo & Filemón" and the likes... They definitely use every day words that you are going to need.

Another way is listening to songs while reading the lyrics along. It worked for me, but the downside is songs contain poetry constructions or vocabulary that may sound awkward in normal conversations or when written in prose.

  • 2
    It worked for me watching movies with subtitles while learning English.
    – juergen d
    Jan 10, 2013 at 16:36
  • +1, por alentar el uso de los cómics como forma de aprendizaje (MUY buena sugerencia), ¡y por la referencia a Mortadelo y Filemón ojalá pudiera +1000!
    – Arkana
    Apr 26, 2013 at 11:01
  • Any way that you can find to integrate the Spanish language into your daily entertainment rituals, i.e music, film, books, etcetera... is the best possible way to practice by yourself. I learned a great deal of what I know from listening to music, translating the lyrics, singing along, and pretty much just dissecting every word and phrase and soaking up the fullest meaning possible.
    – dockeryZ
    Apr 22, 2014 at 16:06

Have you tried to document or record which basic words have troubled you, so that you can use the Etymological Approach to learning these troubling words? Not all words have known etymologies, but at least you can try to understand the etymology?

See this article by Dr Jon Aske, Department of Foreign Languages, Salem State University.: https://ssclinguafranca.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/the-etymological-approach-to-learning-spanish-vocabulary/.

  • +1 Good article.
    – DGaleano
    Apr 6, 2016 at 13:39

One tool I use in learning foreign languages is the word list for Basic English.


Then I learn the translations of these basic words in my target language.


I'm using Anki to learn vocabulary and memorize idiomatic sentence structure with great success. Anki is a free spaced repetition system. It comes in a desktop version and mobile versions. Once you download it you can get free decks of the most common words or useful sentences. I'm currenlty using this deck.

FWIW, plain ole memorization didn't work for me in the beginning. I used Michel Thomas to learn grammar first. Now, I'm finding Anki to be a perfect follow-up to his method.

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