VocabuLearn Spanish

3-5 Spanish, Audio Lessons, Vocabulary

March 10, 2013

Series  VocabuLearn
Publisher  Penton Overseas
Price  Varies; $35.99 per level on iTunes
Skill Level  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

VocabuLearn Spanish is not glamorous, but it is useful. It works like this: a voice tells you a word in English, then you come up with the equivalent in Spanish, then you are told the answer, which you have a chance to repeat for reinforcement before you are given a new word in English. Or sometimes it works in reverse, moving from Spanish to English.

For Spanish there are three different VocabuLearn levels available, each originally coming on four CDs of 45 minutes apiece, broken up into parts-of-speech-based segments such as nouns, adjectives and adverbs, verbs, and expressions. It is likely that nine hours of VocabuLearn Spanish will be too much for most people to tolerate, but a subset of that, perhaps one level at a time, could serve as a valuable accompaniment to errand-running, or driving, or dish-doing. VocabuLearn Spanish can help you improve your accent, learn new words, and reinforce vocabulary you once knew but have forgotten.

VocabuLearn CDs stopped being published by Penton Overseas in the midst of the global economic meltdown. However, the product is increasingly being made available online in downloadable audio format, through or iTunes or other sources. (At present, Audible has some VocabuLearn products, but not this one for Spanish.)

In my experience, while the audio quality of the original CDs is high, the audio quality of the new incarnations varies, so if possible, I recommend you listen to a sample before buying anything. Prices are all over the map right now, so you might want to comparison-shop or check with libraries. I first encountered VocabuLearn products at the New York Public Library back in 2009.

Another caveat: VocabuLearn Spanish is not good for haters of classical music, because it sometimes plays in the background. I personally did not find the music distracting at all, but not everyone feels that way.

One final warning: if you search online for VocabuLearn Spanish, results can include something called Spanish Word Booster: 500+ Most Needed Words & Phrases. That is a different product, one I find intensely irritating, so please make sure you are looking at the right thing if and when you buy.

VocabuLearn Spanish CDs Are Now Hard to Find, But MP3s Are Not
VocabuLearn Spanish CDs Are Now Hard to Find, But MP3s Are Not

Comments (4)

Lars D • Posted on Sat, May 04, 2013 - 5:35 pm EST

hi Ellen,

i’ve been using the same cd’s for 20 months now. I bought the 12CD pack. My estimation is that the complete set contains about 3989 words, less than the promised 7500 words (2500 words for each of the 3 levels). Nevertheless still a huge collections.
I listen to the audio while driving my car or while working at home. During my daily traveling to work by train i repeat the words in Anki. Anki is a spaced repetition flashcard program. I’ve copy-pasted the complete set of words into Anki.  For the moment i learn 10 new words per day (from spanish to dutch). As i learn new words i translate them with a dictionary from English to Dutch. My native language is Dutch.  In the beginning it was difficult but i’m getting better in remembering words and expressions.
To my opinion Vocabulearn is very underestimated. I tried other programs too but i prefer Vocabulearn, being a beginner in Spanish.

with kind regards,

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Sat, May 04, 2013 - 6:25 pm EST

Lars, you are able to “paste” the audio files into Anki? Can you elaborate on how this works? I didn’t realize one could do this, and I am very interested…such a capability could greatly expand the potential of VocabuLearn. Using Anki, can you then “discard” cards for words you have already learned, leaving only the ones you still need to study?

Lars D • Posted on Sun, May 05, 2013 - 4:46 pm EST

hi Ellen,

Maybe i gave the wrong impression that i’ve already completed to job. but yes, that can be done ! I didn’t want to put that in the response because i’m still working on it.
When i listen to the audio cd’s i noticed that i can come up with more words then when i do the same exercise on paper (Anki). Must be because of using a different wiring in the brain ? Just as when listening to music you already feel what the next song will be when you listen to a song and come near the end and the break is coming up. You could not tell when reading the title on the box, but when listening is like automatic. Btw, i never remember the titles.

I’m experimenting with this program: “mp3splitter_joiner_pro.htm”. It has a feature to detect pauzes in the audio and do a kind of auto-cutting.
The only remaing problem is the parts where they put audio. I guess i will have to do that manually. It will take a bit time but that’s my next mission in my spanish learning fase.

yes, discards are possible: after too much failures they get “leeched” automatically but you can do a manual discard also.

Chad Woolley • Posted on Sat, January 23, 2016 - 3:58 am EST


Would you be willing to share your Anki Vocabulearn Spanish deck?  Feel free to contact me directly, I’m


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