Learn Spanish the way it's really spoken. Lupa trains you to hear language like a native speaker while you listen to captivating stories recorded in Spanish-speaking communities all over the world. The interactive audio player — something you won't find anywhere else — focuses your ear so you can understand real-world accents at natural speeds, and build a robust colloquial vocabulary. Lupa fills a crucial gap for intermediate-level learners who've hit the "sound barrier" — where the Spanish they've learned in the classroom doesn't resemble what they encounter at street level. Lupa is the result of a deep collaboration between Radio Ambulante and Jiveworld.
The Lupa app hosts a selection of audio stories from Radio Ambulante, an award-winning long-form journalism podcast distributed by NPR. These stories are recorded in the field all over Latin America and normally require native-level Spanish fluency to understand. But with the Jiveworld audio player and ear training method they are now within your reach. The player gives you just enough help to keep you on the edge of understanding: your ear will quickly adapt to different regional accents and styles, and your vocabulary will expand fast. And because our study-relisten cycle is based around your natural concentration span, you can retain more, study longer, and learn more Spanish.
Listening and understanding is the foundation for true fluency (more than speaking and being understood). You can spend years on drills, flashcards, and grammar study, only to stumble when you encounter a native speaker in the wild: you can't understand the answer to the question you asked (where IS that bathroom?), you fear answering the phone in Spanish, can't follow a story on the radio or TV, or engage in meaningful social interactions. You may miss things that a native four-year-old would catch.
The problem is that your ear has been trained on "Slow Spanish" — the artificial, curated speech used by teachers in most language study products. "Slow Spanish" is not "Real Spanish". It's not even about the speed: rather it's about the local accents; the way sounds run together in natural speech; colloquial use of words; and how it all changes from region to region.
Listening in Lupa, you're getting real language in its full complexity and beauty. Radio Ambulante's stories will transport you into Spanish-speaking communities all around Latin America and beyond. You'll be captivated by tales of love, adventure, soaring success, and sometimes devastating heartbreak, told by the very people who experienced them. With the help of the Jiveworld player, your ear gets the practice it needs so that it can lock into a wide variety of accents and styles of speaking, whether it is a bookseller in Bogotá, a Chilean football star, a bee professor in Puerto Rico, or a poet from Buenos Aires.
Lupa offers you many types of assistance while you listen. You can use any or all of them — whatever your level of Spanish requires:
- Show just the words you need, and hide the others for your ear to figure out (so it's not just a reading exercise)
- Titles and hints help you stay on-track in the story
- Speed control for the more challenging passages
- Vocabulary that you can tap for instant help
- Language notes about accents and idioms
- "Tricky bits" — we identify spoken phrases that may be harder to decipher by ear
- Intuitive controls for easy navigation within the story
- Bios for the speakers, alerts on non-standard usage, and more
You always have immediate access to both the full Spanish transcript and the English translation when you need the extra boost.
Practicing regularly, even a few minutes a day, you will find yourself getting comfortable listening to native voices speaking at natural speed, and you will build up a robust vocabulary so you can handle yourself with confidence in any Spanish conversation.
Download Lupa and start your journey to real-world Spanish fluency today.