Spanish learning resources

I wrote this a couple of years back. Some of the information (esp. chronological) no longer applies. -2012Jan02

El idioma español seems to be gaining quite a bit of popularity (at least within my social circle) nowadays. These are the resources I have used to learn Spanish:

Coffee Break Spanish – An intended-to-be-weekly free podcast from Scotland. Instructor Mark is an experienced Spanish teacher, and Kara is a student that learns along with the listeners.

Spanish Verb Conjugator at – Type in a Spanish infinitive and this spits out a handy conjugation table, which includes subjunctive mood. The site actually has more than just the conjugator.

Yahoo Babel Fish Translation – Useful tool for translating a word/phrase. I don’t recommend this for whole sentences/paragraphs.

Spanish for Gringos Level 2 by William C. Harvey M.S. – This is the best Spanish learning book I have picked up, hands down. The book is chock full of adjectives/nouns. Also includes quite a few infinitives and more advanced conjugations, as well as a bit on the subjunctive mood.
ISBN: 978-0812097436 Spanish for Gringos Level 2 by William C. Harvey M.S.

Rosetta Stone Version 3 – Latin American Spanish
This is actually the least used yet most expensive resource I’ve listed. Just never used this that much, I felt it was a bit slow. But would probably be great for people with a bit of either patience or time.

Univisión, Galavisión
These are the 2 Spanish-language TV channels I get. I mainly watch “Al Diablo con los Guapos”, “Fuego en la Sangre” (both telenovelas – like Spanish soap operas) y las noticias (the news).

Mägo de Oz – A Celtic folk-rock band from Madrid. Going to the band’s website ( and looking up song lyrics has helped expand my vocabulary.

people – My friends from Latin America have helped me to learn a lot over the months. This is probably the best resource I’ve had, truth be told.

Como me le va?

Medellin Taxi
Medellin Taxi

This was originally posted on my old blog, ngmarleyDOTnet, on Jul 12, 2009 @ 15:00 CST. That blog is now defunct and the content is slowly being absorbed into this one. This is one of a few posts I wrote when traveling Latin America during the summer of 2k9.

As I entered a taxi a couple of days ago, the driver said to me “¿Cómo me le va?”, which I took to mean “Como le va?” (how are you), but he added an extra “me” in there, which perplexed me. In all my time studying/speaking Spanish, I’ve never heard it worded this way before (with the extra 1st person personal pronoun thrown in). I asked the taxista to repeat the question, and he clarified for me with a slowly-spoken “¿Cómo estás?”.

That’s been bugging me for a couple of days, so I had to look it up. Apparently my taxista was employing the ethic dative (dativo ético), which according to wiktionary is “the use of the dative case of a pronoun to signify that the person (or thing) being referred to is regarded with interest”.

Here are a couple of sites I’ve dug up (in Spanish) with information on the Spanish ethic dative.

This one is geared more specifically to my question.

This page has a ton of info on superfluous datives.

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