Review of: Gritty Spanish
Use: Spanish learning program
Great for intermediate & advanced students
Starting at $44.95
Use it as much or as little as you want
Ease of Use
Straightforward and easy to use
I Don't Like
Summary: Gritty Spanish is a unique audio based program that helps students learn conversational Spanish. It's centered around recorded Spanish dialogues which come with English and Spanish transcriptions.
Gritty Spanish isn't a full on course, it's primarily a learning tool. It excels at teaching practical phrases in the context of real life situations. The dialogues are also great for developing your Spanish accent or improving your listening skills.
The dialogues also focus on casual conversations. You won't see any of the overly stiff or formal Spanish that you find in other audio based materials. The dialogues are casual to the point of incorporating curse words and colloquial phrases that you're not likely to hear in a traditional Spanish course.
All in all Gritty Spanish is a great option for intermediate learners up to advanced students. Beginners with little experience in Spanish may want to look elsewhere, as Gritty Spanish doesn't provide any help or explicit explanations with grammar.
Program versions starting at $44.95
Is Gritty Spanish Right for you?
If you want to learn conversational Spanish
Most Spanish courses and programs focus only on the most formal uses of the language, not so with Gritty Spanish. In this program you will be inundated with casual/conversational speech, including many figures of speech and colloquial phrases.
If you have some knowledge of the language
Though they do offer a beginner course, Gritty Spanish is best used by students who already have at least some knowledge of Spanish. You'll get the most out of this program if you have a handle on the basics of Spanish grammar.
A sample episode from Gritty Spanish
If you want to learn how to cuss in Spanish
Gritty Spanish lives up to its name, in that there are a fair amount of curse words throughout the course. Thus you have the opportunity to do something other courses don't usually allow you to do: learn Spanish curse words in context.
Gritty Spanish also comes in a censored version, if you'd rather not pick up the dirty words.
If you want to focus on grammar
If you do learn grammar while working through this program it will be implicitly. There are no explicit explanations or lessons for Spanish grammar.
If you're an absolute beginner
Because of this program's deemphasis on grammar, it is not ideally suited for those who are completely new to the language. As we said before it's better to have some working knowledge of Spanish first.
What is Gritty Spanish?
Gritty Spanish is essentially a collection of recorded Spanish dialogues and their written transcriptions (available in both English and Spanish). Students are free to pick and choose which dialogues they want to work with. They are also free to use the dialogues in any way they see fit.
There isn't much here in the way of a structured approach.
Gritty Spanish is a flexible learning tool
Gritty Spanish is available in four separate versions: The original version, the original version (censored), Gritty Spanish Parte II, and Gritty Spanish Beginnings.
Each version has over 30 recorded dialogues for students to work with. Dialogues are recorded at both a regular speed and a slower speed (for newer students).
The original, censored, and Parte II versions are aimed at intermediate to advanced students, while the Beginnings version is designed for beginners.
Pros of Gritty Spanish
Every dialogue in Gritty Spanish is designed to leave you with practical Spanish that you're likely to use in a day to day situation. You won't come across any useless sentences like "I have a brown dog" or "The girl is wearing a red shirt".
You can verbatim take phrases from the dialogue and use them the next time you practice with a native speaker. Just be careful with the bad words!
Flexible learning tool
Gritty Spanish's lack of structure make it an immensely flexible learning tool. The way you use the dialogues is up to you.
You can focus on phrases and build up your conversation skills. You could use the recordings and transcripts to practice your listening abilities. You could even use the recordings to practice your Spanish accent as you do your best to mimic the native speakers.
Quality voice actors
The folks behind this program didn't skimp out when it comes to the voice actors in the recorded dialogues. Each version of the program features an array of actors, many with different regional accents (this is a huge asset to developing your listening skills).
Also the actors are convincing. In their own way, they help make the course interesting and even entertaining.
Cons of Gritty Spanish
Little to no structure
While the lack of structure can be a pro for many students, it can also be a con. Some learners won't like the lack of direction in Gritty Spanish. There is no guide or walk through. If you're looking for a structured and methodical way to learn Spanish this isn't it.
No explanations are given to help understand why the phrases in the dialogues mean what they mean. As a result you may not be privy to the grammar behind the phrases you're learning. For learners who like to jump right into a language this isn't a huge deal. For others it might be an issue .
What others say about Gritty Spanish
Diana & Jared
I like that Gritty Spanish leaves out the “neutral Spanish” and that it exposes you to different Spanish accents (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, etc.) and colloquial vocabulary. I think it is a nice way to expose you to the diverse Spanish accents and vocabulary.
This is not a traditional audio learning program, it is a tool specially focused on listening to native speakers. If you are looking to learn grammar, verb conjugations, etc. you will not find this here. Instead, Gritty Spanish will help you fine tune your ear with Spanish conversations at real speed, with real expressions, from real native speakers.
Alternatives to Gritty Spanish
Rocket Spanish is a comprehensive Spanish course that will take you from a beginner level up to the mid-intermediate level in the language. The course is designed around interactive audio lessons.
Each lesson will breakdown a Spanish conversation which native speakers into smaller parts so that you can pick the grammar and vocabulary and then use them yourself when you speak Spanish.
Even though the emphasis of Rocket Spanish is always conversation, the course also does a good job of incorporating reading and writing as well.
Spanishpod101 is a Spanish course in the form of audio podcasts. Each lesson is an episode and features a conversation between two native speakers, as well as lesson notes, and sentence examples.
Every episode is moderated by two hosts who help explain difficult concepts and share interesting insights into the language or culture.
The site also features many extra resources like in site flashcards, slow playback and recording (for pronunciation), and vocabulary lists.
At the end of the day Gritty Spanish stands as a powerful tool for helping intermediate and advance students improve their core conversation skills. To my knowledge no other course or program quite fills the niche of teaching casual real life Spanish conversations quite like Gritty Spanish.
Beginner students may find other tools and resources more beneficial, but intermediate and advanced learners should definitely check it out!