Ok, I’m going to start a list of YouTube channels that teach Spanish. This list will be continually updated and maintained (as it will need to be in order to remain current and useful) in the same vein as my list of websites where you can watch Spanish videos that have Spanish subtitles (or transcripts). That list was first published back in 2012 but has been updated many times since then to include new sites and remove old, defunct ones. This will work the same way.
These will be channels specifically designed and intended to teach Spanish or at least to help people learn Spanish. This includes not just channels directly teaching Spanish (e.g. grammar lessons) but also those where the Spanish is intentionally spoken in such a way as to make it easier for non-native speakers to understand (slower than normal, avoids complex, less common words and syntax).
These channels will not be ordered in any particular way. I’ll provide a short description and reason for why I like them along with a single video from their channel that I think does a good job of representing them. Let’s get started.
This is a long-time favorite of mine, and what’s nice is that he’s been around forever and still consistently puts out videos. The amount of content he offers is enormous. He’s a Spanish teacher (no idea what level, I’m guessing middle/high school) who just makes videos over his summer break. He’s been doing this so long (since 2007) that at this point he’s covered the overwhelming majority of commonly used Spanish. Nearly any topic you’d like to learn about, he’s got a video on it.
He picks a single topic for each video and does an excellent job of explaining it. His explanations are clear, slow, and include lots of examples and visuals to help you remember the material. Check out his video below about the present perfect in Spanish to see what I mean:
Since YouTube’s not great at organizing large volumes of videos like what he has, I strongly recommend you go to this page on his website where he’s done it for you. The videos are primarily organized by level – for the student – such as “basics”, “advanced”, and “more advanced”. Oh, and I should point out that his Spanish is almost entirely Latin American (principally Mexican), where that makes a difference (rarely, except in pronunciation). If you’re a beginner it doesn’t much matter which dialect you start with because the basics of a language are almost completely the same throughout the various dialects (if there were major differences then they wouldn’t be two dialects of one language but two different languages altogether).
She’s a teacher at a Spanish school (that is, a school for foreigners that teaches Spanish) in Madrid. She’s a native speaker (unlike Señor Jordan), and obviously the Spanish she teaches is the Iberian dialect, specifically that from Madrid. What I like about her is that she not only speaks slowly and clearly, and provides Spanish subtitles for all her videos, but especially that she makes most of her videos out of lessons with actual students. That is, you learn a concept along with the student she’s teaching who is also learning it, that way the tempo of the instruction is matched to that of such a student, plus they tend to ask the same questions and have the same problems that you likely will have. Check out her video about tan/tanto to see what I mean:
Yes, the dictionary. They have their own YouTube channel where they’ve put a lot of fairly high-quality content, mostly about various grammar concepts and common phrases. I will warn you that most of their videos are fairly old and as such the audio and video quality is not so great, but the explanations are pretty good. The below video illustrates this (yeah, that’s 240p):
These are much more recent/modern, and very well-made. God does she love her whiteboard, though (not criticizing). She’s a native speaker, Latin American, though I’m not sure from which country. She’s covered a ton of topics already, explains things slowly and comprehensively, and does so mostly in English (though I notice that subtitles are provided for when she speaks Spanish! excellent!). Check out this video on describing how you feel in Spanish:
He’s a native English speaker living in (I believe) Spain at the moment. He makes fairly long videos (30-45mins) explaining various Spanish concepts, principally using very simple, Powerpoint-like graphics. He does a good job of explaining things though and people seem to think he’s a very good teacher. See his explanation of the preterite tense in Spanish below for an example:
Yes, the professional podcasting company. For what it’s worth, by the way, I think their podcast lessons are excellent and it’s absolutely worth the money to get a membership.
They tend to focus more on how to say various common phrases, expressions, how to talk about certain subjects and events (New Years, your birthday, vegetables, vehicles, “kitchen vocabulary”, etc.), than grammar. This is what some people prefer so it’s a nice change from most of the rest that do largely focus on grammar. Check out their video below on fruit to see what I mean:
I’ve just spent nearly an hour watching this guy’s videos and I’m pretty impressed overall, but I will add the significant forewarning that his style definitely will not suit some people: it’s very grammar-oriented and he presumes that you already know all the relevant grammatical terminology that he uses (e.g. “dependent clause”, “relative pronoun”, “modal verb”, “imperfect tense”, etc.).
Other than that, I must say that he does an excellent and thorough job of explaining the concepts that he does. His videos tend to be long (20-40 minutes) but given what they’re about that’s a good thing, even a necessary one I would say. The concepts he discusses are complex and cover a lot of ground, they need time and plenty of examples to be explained properly. When you finish one of his videos you’ll feel like you not only have a good understanding of the topic discussed but also like it’s had a chance to sink in fairly well, not like it wasn’t just crammed down your throat as quickly as possible.
Check out his video below about the differences between aquí, acá, allí, and allá for an excellent example of what I’m talking about: it’s thirty minutes long but is probably the best video you can find online about this topic.
If you think a complete, structured course may help you…
That is, something designed to take a beginning or intermediate learner from where they are to a more advanced level. I have a few that I recommend below (very short explanation of each) if you’re interested. I receive a commission on the sale of some of these, but not all of them (the stuff on Amazon I make very little on because the commission rate is ~6.5% on books which only cost about $10). The way it works is I determine if I am willing to recommend a particular product first, and then if so, I check to see if they have an affiliate program. This and my book (how to learn Spanish from media like movies, TV shows, music, books, etc.) is how I support this website and how I manage to keep it ad-free: I pitch my book and these products here and there (via links only, no ads). If you do happen to be interested in buying one of them I’d like to ask you to use one of my affiliate links below as it costs you nothing extra (my commission comes out of the merchant’s pocket, not yours) and helps me keep writing (and buying beer, which is just as important).
- Synergy Spanish – Fairly short course (~30 days to complete), all material based on the 138 most commonly spoken Spanish words. For beginners (A1 level, A2 max), incorporates a lot of dialogue that would be immediately useful to a traveler/tourist (ordering, restaurant/hotel/airline/reservation stuff) so if you’re leaving soon and need to make the most of the few weeks you have, this is probably your best bet. Uses audio and video as the principal teaching material with written instructions/dialogue to support it.
- Learning Spanish Like Crazy – A more comprehensive course (30 days per level, there are 3 levels) specifically focused on making the student conversationally fluent in Latin American Spanish (he favors Colombian speakers, an excellent choice in my opinion as they speak a very clear, neutral, grammatically correct Spanish that everyone in Latin America can easily understand). In this case I would say “conversationally fluent” equates to ~B1 level spoken Spanish, that is capable of talking about everyday topics with natives without too much trouble or need of outside references (dictionaries, Google Translate, etc.). It’s intended for beginners, though intermediates could start out at one of the higher levels if they liked.
- Practice Makes Perfect Series – A series of workbooks by McGraw-Hill that teach various aspects of Spanish, written by various authors. They do a good job of teaching what they purport to and, what I really like about them, you can write in them. Some workbooks expect you to do the exercises elsewhere (notepad, whatever) – these don’t. You don’t need anything but the workbook and a pen. The ones I recommend are: Spanish Grammar, Spanish Verb Tenses, Spanish Conversation, and Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions.
- Pimsleur – No link for this one as I think it’s ridiculously overpriced ($181 per level, and there are 4 levels, on Amazon right now). It’s great for learning pronunciation and getting a basic feel for the language but that’s about it. Very slow (that’s a good thing for beginners), audio only. Check the various torrent sites, they all have it (I believe Audible does as well, or at least some of it, if you want to stay legal).
- Benny Lewis’ Language Hacking Spanish book – Very good for beginners, especially those who will be going in-country soon and need some tips/tricks/hacks now. I reviewed the Italian version here (picked Italian because I had no experience with the language, wanted to see what it was like for a beginner). I actually consulted for him (along with a native speaker from Spain) on the Spanish version linked to above and helped him adapt the material from French to Spanish (he wrote the French version first and then adapted it to all the other languages).
Ok, hope that was helpful to you all. Please, if you know of a YouTube channel that wasn’t on this list and you think it should be, tell me in the comments! I’m happy to check it out and add it if I think it ought to be here.