Learning Spanish II: How to Understand and Speak a New Language

Course No. 2816
Professor Bill Worden, Associate Professor of Spanish
The University of Alabama
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Course No. 2816
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What Will You Learn?

  • a range of new vocabulary and develop excellent pronunciation in Spanish.
  • preterite tense, which expresses past actions that are viewed as completed or ended.
  • trace the origins of Spanish, beginning with the early Iberian languages and the introduction of Latin by the Romans.
  • take a look at verbs that change meaning depending on their context.

Course Overview

Learning Spanish II: How to Understand and Speak a New Language follows on The Great Courses’ highly acclaimed first Spanish course, taking you to the next level of mastery of this beautiful and incredibly useful language. This exciting program grounds you in the fundamentals that will help you work toward fluency, enhancing your ability to converse with your Spanish-speaking friends and acquaintances, to speak Spanish more skillfully as a traveler—to enjoy the thrill and pleasure of communication in a language spoken by half a billion people around the world.

As in our precursor course Learning Spanish, these lessons, taught by world-class language instructor Professor Bill Worden of The University of Alabama, present a cutting-edge language-learning system that has worked brilliantly for adult learners for over twenty years.

If you’ve completed our first level of Learning Spanish, or have the equivalent of a first-year Spanish course, these 30 lessons will give you the opportunity to practice what you know while advancing into new territory, which will prepare you for more advanced conversations and enhance your ability to express yourself in Spanish on a wide range of subject matter.

Professor Worden’s system makes learning Spanish both fun and wonderfully accessible, and this course is expertly organized to give you the elements of Spanish most vital to daily communication. Within each lesson, you’ll work with three fundamental learning “modules,” each of which builds facility with listening and speaking in Spanish:

  • Grammar: First, you’ll continue to build the core elements of grammar—the “skeleton” of the language—giving you a solid foundation for using Spanish in many contexts. In each lesson, you’ll build facility with verbs, adding important verb tenses for expressing actions in the present, past, future, as well as the vital conditional tense. You'll also communicate using the imperative and subjunctive moods, which allow you to express commands, desires, feelings, and states of mind. Moreover, you’ll further your work with adjectives, adverbs, nouns, prepositions, pronouns, and their essential usage.
  • Vocabulary: An ample vocabulary underlies real fluency, and here Professor Worden teaches you a rich and broad spectrum of words and expressions, reflecting those used most frequently in the Spanish language. Each lesson adds useful new vocabulary to your repertoire, and key lessons delve into specific vocabulary on subjects ranging from health and medicine to money, shopping, cooking, time, family, and more.
  • Culture: Each lesson grounds you in a knowledge of the Spanish-speaking world, as it applies to using Spanish—the cultures, customs, and ways of thinking that surround the Spanish language. Here, you’ll learn how Spanish differs from English as a medium of expression, and you’ll delve into subjects such as the evolution of the Spanish language, the geography of the Spanish-speaking world, and iconic works of art and literature.

In addition to the core work of speaking and listening, the course gives you extensive practice in reading and writing through the course workbook, which allows you to interact with new vocabulary and grammar in their written forms. Learning Spanish II is designed as a natural progression that gives you the basis for real facility with the language as you work toward fluency in Spanish, enhanced by a host of onscreen diagrams and visual aids.

Build Solid Skills in Speaking and Listening

Becoming truly fluent in a language means moving beyond memorization. To speak a language well is to have the right words and expressions exactly when you need them—to always have them ready on the tip of your tongue. Learning Spanish II builds the resources you need to achieve this ease, in a way that is highly effective, and at the same time captivating and enjoyable. Professor Worden adds new grammar and vocabulary in digestible units, making each lesson fun and engrossing by changing subjects frequently and by relating the language itself to the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world.

Spanish verb forms can seem intimidating in their difference from the workings of English, but they are surprisingly easy to grasp once you understand how the basic structures of Spanish work. Throughout the course, you’ll work deeply with verbs, both regular and irregular. As a case in point, after the present tense (which you’ll practice extensively), the preterite tense (as in, “I walked” in English) and the imperfect tense (“I was walking” or “I used to walk”), are the most commonly used tenses in the Spanish language. You’ll encounter these tenses all the time, both when speaking and when reading and writing. In these lessons, you’ll work extensively with the preterite and the imperfect, learning how they function in Spanish, and exactly when to use each. Later in the course, you’ll add the present perfect tense (as in, “I have walked”), and the imperfect progressive construction, which describes ongoing past actions—leaving you with a rich range of ways to talk about past and present events, processes, and feelings.

In learning to express actions and thoughts, you’ll add the conditional tense (“I would like to travel”), the future tense (“Tomorrow we will leave”), the imperative mood, which expresses commands, and the present tense of the subjunctive mood, which is used in expressing desire, doubt, and emotion. Professor Worden’s finely honed teaching method makes this process into a fascinating and inspiring learning journey, as you see the structure of Spanish taking shape within your understanding.

Learn Verbal Tools for Everyday Communication

Speaking a language well also means being able to communicate about the practical details of everyday life. In these lessons, in addition to essential vocabulary, you’ll master grammatical resources for speaking about common, daily matters, including:

  • Spanish prepositions (such as “underneath” and “behind” in English), and prepositional pronouns (as in “near them” or “next to him”)—vital for speaking about physical location;
  • possessive adjectives (“my” or “your”) and possessive pronouns (“ours” or “theirs”) and other words that describe possession and relationship;
  • reciprocal verbs (“We see each other every week”), which express actions done by people to each other;
  • how to make comparisons between people and between things; and
  • direct object pronouns (“I see them”), indirect object pronouns (“They write to her”), and double object pronouns (“He sends them to us”), indispensable for real world conversations.

With these and other grammatical tools, you’ll build the ability to speak not only about action, thought, and feeling, but about the features and details of daily living.

Accelerate and Maximize Your Learning Process

Perhaps equally as important as the material of the course, Professor Worden offers vital pointers—based on his decades of teaching—describing the most effective ways to study and learn a new language, and how to move forward as quickly as possible. Here, you’ll learn about:

  • the nature of language acquisition and three fundamental qualities of successful language learners;
  • key methods for expanding your vocabulary and a two-step system for making new words an active part of your speaking;
  • how to develop the best mental attitude for language learning;
  • practical ways to connect with Spanish speakers; and
  • how to accelerate your learning by expanding your contact with the language.

Enjoy a New Level of Mastery in Spanish

In its design, Learning Spanish II offers you a wealth of resources for learning and practice. In addition to the 30 lessons themselves, each lesson includes a separate audio glossary, where you’ll hear a native speaker pronounce all of the new Spanish words you’ve learned, as well as review their meanings in English. The course workbook gives you essential practice in reading and writing, using your new grammar and vocabulary. And, the audio speaking activities that accompany each lesson allow you to further hone your listening and speaking skills, using dialogues in Spanish.

As another core aid to learning, Professor Worden gradually increases his use of Spanish in the lessons, eventually teaching the lessons in both Spanish and English. Throughout the course, you’ll work on Spanish pronunciation, highlighting sounds that don’t exist in English, as well as sounds that are analogous between the two languages, yet different. And, as an additional useful tool, you’ll learn a range of effective conversation openers, to engage immediately with the person you’re speaking to.

In exploring the rich cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, you’ll learn about how the language evolved from Latin, and the influences on it by German, Arabic, and Native American languages; and you’ll sample great art and literature, in the lives and works of such beloved figures as the novelists Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and Gabriel García Márquez, and the great Renaissance painter El Greco.

Learning Spanish II: How to Understand and Speak a New Language takes you across an important and exciting threshold—from the beginning stages of communicating in Spanish to a more advanced level of speaking and understanding the language. Join a master language teacher in one of life’s great experiences—the never-ending adventure and discovery that speaking a new language brings.

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30 lectures
 |  Average 44 minutes each
  • 1
    Essentials for Success with Spanish
    Begin by exploring key principles of effective language learning. Consider a core approach to building comprehension, focusing on linguistic cognates, context, and the use of conjecture. Then, do a spirited review of definite and indefinite articles, singular and plural nouns, and subject pronouns, and look at some new grammar and vocabulary. Finally, preview the material you’ll learn in the course. x
  • 2
    The Present Tense and Prepositions
    To build conversational skill, practice the present tense with verbs ending in “ar,” “er,” and “ir.” Then learn some vital irregular verbs and how to use them. Continue with prepositional pronouns (as in “near me” or “next to her”), and some new prepositions (such as “beneath” and “behind”). Finish with a look at the four-part structure of the course, and how to get the most from it. x
  • 3
    Indirect Objects and Verbs like Gustar
    Here, tackle a variety of new material. Start with a thorough look at indirect object pronouns (as in “to/for you” or “to/for us”), and verbs that use them. Work with a highly useful verb, gustar, which expresses what someone likes or doesn’t like, and with other verbs which function similarly. Then explore the geography of the Spanish-speaking world, and adjectives of nationality. x
  • 4
    Spanish Pronunciation and Reciprocal Verbs
    Look at ways to develop excellent pronunciation in Spanish. In particular, practice Spanish consonant sounds that don’t exist in English, focusing on the Spanish “r.” Investigate reflexive verbs, and how to use them in conversational speech. Last, study reciprocal verbs, which describe actions done by people to each other, and observe how they work within a romantic story spoken in Spanish. x
  • 5
    Advanced Work with the Preterite Tense
    First, learn useful vocabulary relating to the kitchen and cooking. Then study grammatical constructions that use the present tense to talk about the past. Delve deeply into the preterite tense, which expresses past actions that are viewed as completed or ended. Sharpen your command of the preterite with key verbs such as tener (to have), ver (to see), dar (to give), and ir (to go). x
  • 6
    Introduction to the Imperfect Tense
    Explore important vocabulary regarding time, and how to use it conversationally. Then work with the imperfect tense, which expresses ongoing actions in the past, conditions or characteristics in the past, time or age in the past, and habitual past actions. Practice forming the imperfect with all categories of verbs, and grasp how the imperfect is used in Spanish compared with English. x
  • 7
    When to Use the Imperfect and the Preterite
    Learn to distinguish between contexts where the preterite is the necessary tense and others where it's best to use the imperfect. As a case in point, see what happens when an action in the past interrupts another action that is in progress. Work briefly with the verb haber (to have) in the preterite and the imperfect. Finally, learn about one of the most important novels in Spanish literature. x
  • 8
    How to Expand Your Spanish Vocabulary
    Investigate a two-step approach to incorporating new words in Spanish as an active part of your vocabulary. Next, focus on the Spanish pronoun se, and its essential use in passive and impersonal expressions. Then learn the imperfect progressive construction, vital for conversation, which emphasizes the ongoing nature of past actions. Observe the use of verb tenses in a story from Cervantes. x
  • 9
    Mastering the Imperfect and the Preterite
    Learn a range of new vocabulary relating to the family. Then take a look at verbs that change meaning depending on their context. Observe how some important verbs have different meanings in the preterite and the imperfect, and how others change meaning when used in the positive as opposed to the negative. Also grasp three rules regarding which syllables to stress when speaking Spanish. x
  • 10
    Mastering Direct and Double Object Pronouns
    Improve your Spanish pronunciation by working with key vowel and consonant sounds that we may think are the same as English, but are in fact different. Continue with direct object pronouns (as in, “I see them.”), and double object pronouns, where two pronouns occur within a sentence (“We send them to him.”). Learn how to build skill with these vital elements of conversation. x
  • 11
    Expressing Possession in Spanish
    Begin this lesson with some highly useful vocabulary regarding shopping. Contemplate three qualities of successful language learners, and how to maximize your own learning of Spanish. Then work in depth with possessive adjectives (as in “my” or “your”), and possessive pronouns (“mine” or “yours”), and practice them in many different conversational settings where they appear. x
  • 12
    Using Se to Talk about Unplanned Events
    Continue your work with Spanish pronunciation by practicing sounds which can be tricky for learners, such as the Spanish “b,” “s,” and “d” sounds. Next, learn a useful verbal construction that expresses accidental or unplanned events, such as when someone breaks or forgets something. Finally, take a thorough look at Spanish spelling, and some of the challenges it presents for English speakers. x
  • 13
    The Present Perfect Tense
    Following work with new vocabulary, delve into the past participles of verbs. In particular, investigate their use as adjectives (as in, “I’m prepared”). Then learn five additional words used in talking about time in different contexts. End this lesson by exploring the present perfect tense (as in “We have slept”), how to conjugate it, and when to use it in expressing yourself in Spanish. x
  • 14
    Past Participles as Adjectives and Nouns
    Deepen your work with some core elements of conversational fluency. First, refine your knowledge of past participles; both their use in the present perfect tense and their use as adjectives. Practice the present perfect tense with pronouns (such as, “We’ve given it to them”), with adverbs (as in “I’ve never met Juan”), and discover how Spanish past participles can also function as nouns. x
  • 15
    The Future Tense
    Learn two ways to express future actions without using the future tense; one, using the present tense to describe future actions, and, two, using the Spanish construction meaning that one is “going to” do something. Then learn the less used future tense, some key expressions regarding the future, and note how the future tense is also used to express uncertainty or conjecture. x
  • 16
    Cognates and False Cognates
    Consider the value of making a good first impression when you begin communicating with Spanish speakers. With this in mind, learn a group of effective “conversation openers,” to engage with the person you’re speaking to. Continue with a range of new vocabulary, and take a close look at the frequency and usefulness of cognates in Spanish—words that are the same as or similar to words in English. x
  • 17
    The Conditional Tense
    In approaching the conditional, note how this tense is used in English to express potential actions, and to be polite, and how it functions similarly in Spanish. Review the five tenses you've learned so far, and observe how adding new tenses becomes easier as you progress. Learn to conjugate the conditional, and practice its application, including its use to express probability in the past. x
  • 18
    Uses of the Infinitive
    Explore Spanish nouns that are directly related to verbs, highlighting nouns that end in the suffix “-miento.” Continue with a look at important uses of the infinitive in Spanish; its use as a subject (“I like to cook”), an object (“We want to eat now”), and in commands. Also work with three highly useful verbs: dejar (to leave), and sentirse and sentir, which express how or what someone feels. x
  • 19
    Relative Adverbs and Relative Pronouns
    Extend your skill with the infinitive with important additional ways to use it, such as its use as a noun. Also deepen your work with interrogatives, focusing on questions involving “what” and “which.” Then delve into the use of relative adverbs and relative pronouns, words which link the first part of a sentence with what comes afterwards. x
  • 20
    Mastering the Uses of Estar and Ser
    A grasp of how to use the verbs estar and ser (both of which mean “to be”), is fundamental for communicating in Spanish. Here, study five primary contexts for using estar, followed by eight core uses of ser. Also note cases where both ser and estar are possible. Conclude this lesson by considering how to develop the most effective mental attitude for learning Spanish. x
  • 21
    Advanced Work with Adverbs and Adjectives
    Refine your facility in Spanish with a review of the three types of adverbs, adding some vital adverbial expressions, such as con frecuencia (frequently). Explore Spanish adjectives which can come before nouns, and nouns that end with the suffix “-ión.” Then, learn about Gabriel García Márquez’s Cien años de soledad, one of the two most important and influential novels ever written in Spanish. x
  • 22
    How to Use Para and Por
    Add more adverbs and adjectives to your vocabulary, and learn how to change adjectives into nouns. Study how to use two of the most important prepositions, which can be challenging for Spanish learners: para and por, both of which translate into English as “for.” Learn the key contexts for each, and the usage differences you must grasp to speak Spanish correctly. x
  • 23
    The Evolution of the Spanish Language
    Trace the origins of Spanish, beginning with the early Iberian languages and the introduction of Latin by the Romans. Follow the process by which Latin developed into castellano, or modern Spanish. Learn to make comparisons in Spanish, both of equality and inequality. Also study adjectives which mean one thing when used before a noun, and something else when used after it. x
  • 24
    Health and Well-Being in Spanish
    This lecture introduces a wide range of vocabulary regarding health. Learn to speak about medicine and doctors, the parts of the human body, and about various common health problems and their remedies. Continue with important vocabulary regarding pleasure and enjoyment. Practice using the preterite and imperfect tenses. Then, consider some ways to accelerate your learning of Spanish. x
  • 25
    Advanced Work with Commands
    Take a deeper look at commands in Spanish, which you will use constantly in conversation. Begin with informal commands in the second person singular and plural. Then work with the more complex formal commands, negative commands, and commands in the first person plural. Study the geography of the U.S.-Mexico border, and the Mexican states and cities that adjoin the region. x
  • 26
    Introduction to the Subjunctive Mood
    The subjunctive mood in Spanish expresses subjectivity on the part of the speaker. Look into the meanings of this important mood, how to conjugate many verbs in the present tense of the subjunctive, and how to use it in one specific context: with expressions of desire. Also investigate the historic influence of Germanic languages on Spanish, particularly regarding Spanish vocabulary. x
  • 27
    Expressing Doubt with the Subjunctive
    Look again at the question of assimilating new words in Spanish, and steps you can take to expand your vocabulary. Practice the subjunctive as it's used in expressions of doubt or uncertainty, and also with certain important impersonal expressions. Learn new vocabulary relating to the world of art. Then explore the life and works of the great Renaissance painter, El Greco. x
  • 28
    Expressing Influence with the Subjunctive
    Review the uses of the subjunctive mood that you've learned to this point, and the typical structure of sentences where the subjunctive appears. Continue with a new context for the subjunctive: expressions of influence. Learn more useful impersonal expressions that require the subjunctive. Finally, take account of the enormous impact of Arabic language and culture on Spanish. x
  • 29
    Expressing Emotion with the Subjunctive
    Practice using some key Spanish verbs that have to do with the act of seeing or looking. Then, study another context for the subjunctive mood—the expression of emotion—along with some new vocabulary relating to emotional states. Consider an important way to think about language learning. Also discover another important influence on Spanish: the indigenous languages of the New World. x
  • 30
    Next Steps toward Spanish Fluency
    In this last lesson, learn about the different varieties of Spanish spoken around the world, and the differences you'll encounter in grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Continue with a look at some new and useful vocabulary. Conclude by taking stock of where you are in your Spanish studies, and some key ideas on how to keep moving forward. x

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  • Download 30 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course workbook
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Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 30 lectures on 5 DVDs
  • 366-page printed course workbook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course workbook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 366-page printed course workbook
  • 30 lessons (each of which includes the following sections: new vocabulary, general review, activities, and correct answers)
  • Grammar reference section
  • Four glossaries

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Your professor

Bill Worden

About Your Professor

Bill Worden, Associate Professor of Spanish
The University of Alabama
Dr. Bill Worden is an Associate Professor of Spanish at The University of Alabama. He received his A.B. in Mathematics from Dartmouth College, his M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College and his Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University. Since 2002, Dr. Worden has taught a wide variety of courses at The University of Alabama, ranging from Introductory Spanish and Advanced Grammar and Composition to undergraduate and...
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Reviews

Learning Spanish II: How to Understand and Speak a New Language is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 56.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I am ready for Spanish part III I hope Great Courses has contacted the Professor to continue to offer more Spanish courses for Great Courses. I completed both I and II, and found the courses so easy to complete. There is so much more Spanish to learn and I am ready. I enjoyed studying Spanish from the comfort of my own home and being able to stop/start/repeat at my convenience. I love Great Courses and love this Spanish Professor. He is so concise and understandable. I want more. Thank you
Date published: 2019-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love Both spanish 1 and 2with Bill i have tryed to learn Spanish from people that Spanish was there first language and that didn't work for me!!! The only thing that makes sense to me is Bill sees details that they dont cuz his first language is english to!! i love both classess and i am still learning so thank you Bill!!!
Date published: 2019-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic course I purchased this because I love the first one, Spanish I. This reenforce what you learn in Spanish I. Both are excellent courses. If you're interested in learning Spanish, this the course for you. Easy to understand with plenty of practice exercises. Professor Worden is extraordinary! You will learn a lot at your own pace.
Date published: 2019-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the professor is outstanding. I purchased ver 1 which was a reason I bought ver 2.
Date published: 2019-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review of Learning Spanish I by Prof. Bill Worden This review is on Learning Spanish I. I have Spanish II but haven't reviewed it yet. I found Dr. Worden to be an absolutely outstanding language teacher. He sneaks in new words and then uses them over and over. He constantly reviews and has us repeat. He has lots of suggestions on improving our proficiency. He covers Spanish and Latin American history, Geography, and culture. I am very impressed. I listened to the entire course once, then went back and started it again, taking copious notes and using the audio glossary. He's a wonderful Spanish teacher. I'm looking forward to progressing to Spanish II.
Date published: 2019-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well constructed lessons. This course covers all the bases and when Spanish is spoken in the lessons it is delivered in a manner that a non-native speaker can easily understand.
Date published: 2019-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I hope there will be a Spanish 3! I just finished my second time through the Spanish II class, and I've learned so much from this program. Professor Worden is an excellent teacher. His presentations of vocabulary and grammar are clear and easy to follow. He speaks in Spanish in each lecture, carefully balancing new vocabulary and new grammar using lots of cognates, giving students the opportunity to practice comprehension in an achievable way. The pacing is good, and the whole program is filled with suggestions on how to improve our learning skills through outside activities. I highly recommend this course and I hope there will be a Spanish 3 in the future.
Date published: 2019-04-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good but not great. I bought this course in order to restart my efforts to learn Spanish. The reviews were misleading in that this course was something different and could provide breakthrough insight. I is a good course but not a great one.
Date published: 2019-04-11
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