Resources for Spanish Students

These are very brief descriptions and do not take into consideration the specific attributes of each resource; please stop by the Language Learning Center where our staff will be able to assist, or email us at

(* = on-campus specific tool) - An excellent online dictionary that has both traditional dictionary definitions and extensive discussions of regional variations, idiomatic expressions, and common phrases. You are able to pose a vocabulary question and receive responses from around the globe.

Diccionario de la Lengua Espanola (DRAE) - This is the “official” dictionary of Spanish made in collaboration with 21 academies from different Spanish-speaker countries. It includes the etymology of the words and the different connotations the words have in various countries. Besides, since it is an on-line resource, they keep update it constantly.

Diccionario Panhispánico de dudas (DPD RAE) - This other tool includes the terms that most commonly rise doubts about their usage, spelling or pronunciation. It shows examples of the right and wrong usages of such terms.
It also includes other interesting links such as the appendix “Apéndices” where you can find samples of verb conjugation (regular and irregular) “Modelos de conjugación verbal”, a list of abbreviations used in writing Spanish “Abreviaturas” or a list with names of countries, capitals and inhabitants of these places in Spanish, “Lista de países y capitales con sus gentilicios”.
Other interesting links in this site are the list of abbreviations “Abreviaturas usadas en el diccionario” used in both dictionaries DRAE and DPHD, and the list of signs used in the dictionary “Signos usados en el diccionario” (it is highly recommended to consult this link before starting using the DPHD in order to better understand its explanations). - Excellent resource for drilling yourself on Spanish verb conjugations. You can set the parameters to practice all verbs, just irregular verbs, all pronouns or all pronouns except vosotros. - A great site for grammar and verb practice. There are various different exercises you can do with all the different kinds of verb tenses in Spanish. You can practice regular verbs, different kinds of irregular verbs through different activities.

Coming soon! - Quizlet is a flashcard website where users may either create their own flashcards or choose from millions of other sets already created. There are several ways to study your flashcards, including multiple choice tests or study games. You can even add images or listen to audio files for individual words. It is easy to create and share material and Quizlet is good for studying almost any subject! - Provides a free weekly podcast of news from around the world. The speaking is slower than typically spoken Spanish and there is a written text of the news you can follow along with as well. If you want to pay a small subscription fee, you can access more extensive support and practice. - Audio and video clips designed to show you around Spain, and expose you to current expressions, practical vocabulary, and improve your speaking and listening skills. - This is the online program in support of our textbooks. You may be assigned activities from The site also has a lot of its own resources including explanations of grammatical concepts, verb charts, etc. that you can use. There is a tab on the left side of My Spanish Space on WISE to easily access this website.

*Atajo - This is a really useful program installed on the computers in the LLC that acts as a writing assistant alongside your word processor; the idea is that you would have it open as you write an essay, etc. It has an "Accent Tool" bar you can use for special characters and also provides writing help with a dictionary, verb conjugator, grammar concepts, vocabulary and how to say certain phrases. Check out the tutorial! - This is a great online program that will help you improve your essay writing. It examines compositions in Spanish, identifies errors as a teacher would without providing the immediate answer. It then provides feedback about understanding the mistakes you have made so that you know why you made them as opposed to automatic correction. There is a tab on the left side of My Spanish Space on WISE to easily access this website. You can also simply go to If you come to the World Languages Studio you can access the *Spanish Checker Pro version, or at any Willamette campus-wide computer by going to

Check out the tutorial!

Tutoring - Get essay help, ask grammar questions and practice your language skills with native Spanish speakers! Click “Sign-up” on the left side of WISE to schedule an appointment with your language assistant.

Mixxer - Too busy to meet with Language Assistants? Through Skype, you can be matched up with a native speaker, who is also interested in learning English. Don’t stress, you’re both sharing and learning

Spanish word processing in the LLC: The LLC at Willamette University, in the World Languages Studio of the first floor of Ford, is a mac lab with 18 macs, and 10 PC laptops.
Each computer also has Atajo v.3.0, a writing assistance program for Spanish.

Microsoft Word
PC Windows XP English (United States) Keyboard

1. Typing special characters: to type special characters in Microsoft Word, you must do it in two steps. The first step involves pressing the control key plus other keys simultaneously.

The second step is typing the letter you want. Here is a chart that explains how to type the various characters:

á = control key + " , then a
é = control key + " , then e
í­ = control key + " , then i
ó = control key + " , then o
ú = control key + " , then u
ñ = control key + shift + %7e , then n
¡ = control key + shift + alt + !
¿ = control key + shift + alt + ?

2. To use the proofreading tools to proofread in Spanish, highlight the selection you want to proofread; then, go to the "Tools" menu up at the top, go to "Language," and click on "Set language" Select "Spanish (Spain-Modern Sort)" from the dialog box that appears. Then click on "Spelling and Grammar" under the "Tools" menu to proofread the selection.

Macs, OSX English (United States) Keyboard

á = option + a, then a
é = option + a, then e
í­ = option + a , then i
ó = option + a , then o
ú = option + a , then u
ñ =option + n+ ~ , then n
¡ = option + 1
¿ = option + shift+ /


Mac OS 9 only

  1. Click on the Apple in the top left of the screen.
  2. Single click "Keycaps". A little keyboard will appear on the desktop.
  3. Hold down the option key- the accents will apear.
  4. Single click the accent you want.
  5. Type the letter you want accented and it will appear in your document.

If you are having technical difficulties, this is a good site to use for accents: - when you click the letter with the accent you want, it automatically copies it for you!

Willamette University

Digital Learning Studio

Ford Hall 101
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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