Genre: Conversational Spanish
Firstly, please note that Notes in Spanish offers four levels of difficulty: Inspired Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced, and Gold. For this blog post, I have chosen to review the Intermediate channel.
Secondly, this is Borderlands first review of a podcast! Podcasts are highly useful language learning tools; they're free, you can access them on the go, and they cover a wide range of topics, exposing you to new vocabulary. From now on, Borderlands will provide French and Spanish podcast reviews in addition to our usual book, film, and YouTube channel reviews. Get pumped!
Because Notes in Spanish is a podcast designed for Spanish language-learners, the show does not feature any specific topic, but rather a variety of popular conversation topics (a few episode topics include: Facebook, different types of food, family vacations, and Spanish film.) Each episode lasts about ten minutes and consists of a conversation between the show's hosts, Maria and Ben. The show is available at various difficulty levels: Inspired Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced, and Gold, making it available to Spanish language learners at all skill levels. When deciding which level to try out, keep in mind that as Notes in Spanish advances, the conversations become more and more interesting, so while you might feel more at ease listening to their Inspired Beginners episodes, it may be worth it to challenge yourself by listening to Intermediate episodes, which will be slightly more entertaining. A few good topics in their Intermediate channel include: Fobias, Los Tatuajes, and Harry Potter.
Without a doubt, the best aspect of Notes in Spanish is that they offer different difficulty levels, whereas most Spanish podcasts are too fast-paced for the typical Spanish language-learner. This means that you can listen to episodes from different levels to determine which level fits you best. Another thing I love about Notes in Spanish is that Ben sometimes makes mistakes (Spanish is his second language.) His mistakes are few and far between, but it's nice to know that other people struggle with el vs la and other tricky grammar concepts. My only complaint about Notes in Spanish is that their topics of conversation are not always especially interesting. This is mostly due to the fact that Maria and Ben simplify their language in order to cater to early language-learners, however it does lead to a few dull conversations. If you find that the Advanced or Gold level fits you best, I would suggest a different podcast with more interesting material (try out A Hombros de Gigantes for a science fiction fix or Fallo de Sistema for pure science goodness.)
See our "About" page for an overview of our difficulty ratings!
*For the Intermediate level of Notes in Spanish*
Maria and Ben speak at a leisurely pace, making the podcast easily understandable, even for beginners like myself. Had Notes in Spanish been in the form of YouTube videos, it probably would have ranked as ★✩✩✩✩ Piece of Cake, however because it is audio only (and therefore has no helpful visual cues) it is slightly more difficult to follow.
Subscribe to Notes in Spanish on your favorite podcatcher!