Arts and Culture

Learn a Language for FREE with iTunes

Updated: Jul 06, 2010 11:16
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Americans are usually pretty crappy when it comes to mastering other languages. You go to Europe and everyone can converse in at least three, and here we just mastered not sounding like an asshole when saying fajita. I am unfortunately part of this majority. With over 5 years of French under my belt I haven’t seduced anyone yet with my linguistic skills, and my Spanish vocabulary is limited to the Taco Bell menu and those ads on the subway that tell you not to blow cigarette smoke in your baby’s face or something along those lines. So after booking a trip to Spain, I realized it’s time to learn some basics so I don’t have to rely entirely on wild hand gestures. I don’t think jazz hands is gonna get me through airport security.

A friend told me about Coffee Break Spanish on iTunes when she herself was brushing up on her Spanish before heading down to Peru. It’s a free podcast that teaches you helpful phrases, conversations and day to day vocabulary. But here’s the best part, it’s taught by two Scottish people. I mean I thought my Cuban French teacher was bad, but if there was one accent in the world who could butcher any language, including their own, it’s the Scots. Don’t get my wrong, I love a good Scottish accent, but I find it really hard to understand anything their saying. I once had a Scottish tour guide at the Tower of London but after listening to 5 minutes of incomprehensible English, I said fuck it and paid for headphones and a audio tour. The couple that lead the lessons are the delightful Mark and Kara. But before you even get started there’s an introductory theme song that is the most ridiculously thing you will ever hear. They manage to reference both cerveza and haggis in the same song, somebody give these kids a record deal!

The lessons are broken down into 15 minute sessions, like say the length of a coffee break?! Besides having one of the lamest show titles, you can’t help but fall in love with Mark and Kara and their adorable Spanish banter. With over 80 free lessons, I can’t imagine you not absorbing some knowledge of Spanish. And if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, there’s also free French lessons from this Scottish twosome. Now if only they could get Sean Connery to do German lessons, we’d be in business.

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Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S, left the "sixth borough" three years ago to settle in Brooklyn. After working at some daily rags, she now does writing on the side but still eats more Ramen then necessary. When she's not moving residences every 6 months, eating her way through every neighborhood, and trying every microbrew known to man, she is unsuccessfully rediscovering home economics. With her binging days behind her, she's now exploring new projects and rediscovering the city that she loves (although is still prone to sliding on her knees during a Prince karaoke set).


  1. Tony T
    July 6, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Good one!

  2. Beatrice Seymour
    October 22, 2010 at 9:49 am

    This should be fun.

  3. Beatrice Seymour
    October 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Learn a language for free with iTunes.