Learning Resources

Resources for Language Learning

We want you to succeed in your studies. Please find below a few best practices on learning strategies for L2 students, as well as recommended dictionaries, grammar worksheets, and accent mark hacks. ¡Manos a la obra!

For a link to e-Portfolio Student resources, please click here. If you'd like to learn more about e-Portfolios and student learning, please consult the College of Arts & Sciences guide to e-portfolio learning design.

Learning Strategies

Tips on how to succeed in a foreign language course:

Preparation outside of class
  1. Know the guidelines of the course syllabus and make a note of test, composition, oral exam and final exam dates in advance.
  2. For each hour of class time the student should dedicate two hours of study outside the classroom.
  3. Small study groups (2-4 people) are useful to practice vocabulary and grammar.
  4. Correct your work (homework, lab, quizzes, exams).
  5. To learn vocabulary – memorize words by making flash cards in advance, write sentences using words, pronounce words aloud.
  6. To learn grammar – write out verb conjugations, do as many drill exercises as possible (practice and repetition is key).
  7. Get to know instructor during office hours or set up an appointment – ask questions and provide feedback.
  8. Use resources wisely – language lab, Internet, tertulia, cine club, International Center.

Maximizing class time

  • Be punctual
  • Come to class prepared
  • Participate actively
  • Ask questions
  • Work with different students

Activities and Resources for Language Learners


http://www.wordreference.com/ (see forum discussions to understand how native speakers and translators use key terms)
http://www.rae.es (All entries are hyperlinked. If you don't understand a word, just click on it! It's a great way to build vocabulary)

Grammar explanations and practice exercises


Search engines





Latin America
United States (Latinx)
Other links

¿Having Trouble with Accent Marks and Diacritics?

Hacks for PC and Mac

Accentuation rules in Spanish

  • For words ending in a consonant other than n or s, the stress falls on the last syllable unless otherwise indicated by a written accent mark. e.g., tomar, invitar, papel, reloj, universidad, matiz.
  • For words ending in a vowel, n, or s, the stress falls on the penultimate syllable (unless otherwise noted by written mark). e.g., clase, tomamos, casas, sombrero, corbata, comen.
  • A written accent mark must always be used to indicate an exception to the ordinary rules of stress. e.g., sábado, escribí, lección, fácil, ánimo, cenábamos. Note: Words stressed on any syllable except the last or penultimate will always carry a written accent mark. Verb forms with attached object pronouns are frequently found in this category. e.g., explíquemelo, levantándose, preparárnoslas.
  • A diphthong is any combination of a weak vowel (i, u) and a strong vowel (a, e, o) or two weak vowels. In a diphthong the two vowels are pronounced as one syllable sound with the strong vowel (or the second of the two weak vowels) receiving slightly more emphasis than the other. e.g., piensa, almuerzo, ciudad, fuimos. A written accent mark is used to eliminate the natural diphthong so that two separate vowel sounds will be heard. e.g., cafetería, tío, continúe.
  • Written accent marks are also used to distinguish between words with equal spellings and pronunciation, but with different meanings.

a. Interrogatives and exclamatory words have a written accent (their relative pronoun counterparts do not).

b. Demonstrative pronouns have a written accent to distinguish them from the demonstrative adjective forms.

c. In nine common word pairs, the written accent mark is the only distinction between varying meanings. These words are pronounced equally.

el = the dé = give (present subjunctive, 1st/3rd singular)
mas = but él = he
de = of, from más = but
mi = my mí = me
se = him/herself, themselves, itself, oneself sé = I know
si = if sí = yes
solo = alone sólo = only
te = you (object pronoun) té = tea tu your tú you (subject pronoun)

  • Words whose stress falls on the penultimate syllable are called palabras llanas (flat). Words whose stress falls on the last syllable are called palabras agudas (sharp). Words whose stress falls on the third-to-last syllable are called palabras esdrújulas (proparoxytone).