[Course Forum] First 5000 Words of Spanish by BenWhately


(Wynrich) #1

Please post here with requests, comments, questions about the course which is at

See thread below which explains how the course exists even though it no longer is listed in the catalog.

(Ian) #2


Hi, I can’t see this course being listed among BenWhately’s teaching courses, so I’m a bit baffled right now:

I also don’t see it in BenWhately’s learning courses -

So, I’m wondering if you’re referring to “First 5000 Words of Spanish” by xoviat ? -

I’m one of the contributors to the xoviat course, and we have an active thread already running (please see below). But there could be more to this than meets the eye - please could you let me know what’s happening from your angle?

Many thanks,
Regards, ian_mn

@BenWhately @RancidBeef @xoviat

(Wynrich) #3

Hi ian_mn,

It is for this course:

This is an old course that isn’t publicized any longer, but there are still a number of active learners. Ben “de-publicized” it when it didn’t behave well on the mobile app. I believe Ben cloned this big 5000 word course and then broke it into several smaller courses that work better on the mobile app. But he didn’t take away the main course since there were still so many people using it. (I just checked and there are 49 active users this month.)

Ben wasn’t maintaining it so he let me work on it as a contributor. Since then, hundreds of synonyms have been disambiguated so it is a pretty good course. (The old forum for the course documented all those changes but I don’t know how to get back to that old forum. But, you can see a list of those here:
https://www.dropbox.com/home/5000-course-changes )

I’m glad to see your courses that supplement the 5000 word courses. I’ve been painfully aware how many common words are missing!


(Ian) #4

Aha! That makes sense - and thanks for the detailed explanation.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the group of shorter BenWhately courses appears to form a perfect clone of the current xoxiat 5000 course. And when contributors make a change to the xoviat 5000 course, the same change automatically appears in the appropriate BenWhately course.

Regards, - Ian.

(Wynrich) #5

Thanks, Ian. I’m not sure what happened that we ended up with two almost-duplicated 5000 Word courses. Once someone is invested in one course, it is hard to switch. Sure wish these were all getting cleaned up at once!

PS. Thanks for pointing out the confusion. I edited my original post to give the URL for the course.

(Kaspian) #6

As I understand it, the app had (and may still have) trouble with courses that contained a lot of levels. The hidden course (#1288, by BenWhately) has 15 words per level and 308 levels. The visible course (#737, by xoviat) has 75 words per level and 63 levels.

Since I prefer courses with fewer words per lesson, I completed the BenWhately version. I can confirm that it is a great course—free of typos, good at clarifying which synonym it’s asking for, contains audio, etc.

(Wynrich) #7

Thank you for your comment, Kaspian. I’m glad to know that you like the course.

(Silverbear) #8

bajar=to go down
Could you add ‘lower, turn down, download’?

la carrera = career, race (speed)
Perhaps add ‘university degree’ to this?


(Wynrich) #9

Thanks a lot for the input, silverbear. I’ve expanded “bajar” from “to go down” to “to go down, descend, get down, lower, turn down, download”. And expanded “carrera” from career, race (speed)" to “career, race (speed), route, university degree, major”.

Good to know about those extra meanings.

(Vincislao) #10

Is this good course for learning Spanish, if I’m interested in Latin America?

(Just a regular user) #11

Hi @vincislao! Depends on which level you are. If you are a beginner I would recommend courses made by OliviaZavala or official courses

(Vincislao) #12

I’m asking cos it’s not for Latin America.
Maybe some people has learned Spanish and Portuguese (Brazil) languages and could give advice to pick right course (I’m more interested in comprehensive courses, where are at least 3000 words or more).

(Just a regular user) #13

Spanish dialects are not that different.

(Just a regular user) #14

So you tried the official Latin American Spanish courses and you did not
like them before they were short. Am I right?

(Vincislao) #15

No, you aren’t. :smile:
I’m more interested in comprehensive courses. I don’t like short courses.
I hope Spanish dialects are not that different as you said.
Would be great to find Portuguese (Brazil) course too! :slight_smile:
On memrise are many comprehensive courses but some of them for Spain, other for Latin America. With Portuguese language is the same dilema.
I wanna choose right one.

(Wynrich) #16

The nice thing about this course is that it is actively maintained so
synonyms are not a problem and mistakes are fixed. However, I’m not sure
how well it works on the phone app. Does anyone know?

(Ian) #17


Hi, just to let you know, I think there’s a possible error in one of the items in Level 240, 5th word:

glaciar = glacial (not glacial)

I think that "el glaciar’ = “glacier”, and "glacial = “glacial” would be correct.

The noun is about four times more common that the adjective, so I’d suggest using the noun here.

(Wynrich) #18

Thanks, Ian, I agree this one is really confusing. SpanishDict.com
translates adjective glacial to both glacial and glaciar. The word is
specified to be an adjective but to emphasize that I put ADJECTIVE after
it. At this point, since it is not an error (I don’t think) I hate to
change it since so many who are taking this course are used to learning it
this way. (I find it amazing that glacial is one of the top 5000 Spanish
words - must have been in original list that Ben Whately used to set up the

(Lurajane) #19

Glacial is much more common in Spanish than English because it is used metaphorically, as in
Icy smile => sonrisa glacial

Interesting: Los adjetivos glacial y glaciar no significan lo mismo. Glacial significa ‘helado’, ‘muy frío’,‘extremadamente frío’, mientras que glaciar solo se aplica a lo relativo a los ríos de hielo que se forman en las laderas de las montañas. - http://www.fundeu.es/recomendacion/glacialglaciar/

(Ian) #20

You’re right. The Spanish word “glaciar” is translated into both the English “glacier” and “glacial” in SpanishDict - they show examples of both, so it’s very likely correct. And, as you point out, there’s a strong argument for leaving the item as it is.

WordReference shows the same thing, and includes the example “casquete glaciar”.

The Spanish word “glaciar” seems to be fairly common, but I’m guessing that it’s used almost always as a noun. It appears twice (and only as a noun) in Davies’ first 50,000 2-grams.

The word “glaciar” lies in the top 8000 lemma forms in the SUBTLEX database, so it would probably be expected to show up in some good 5000 lists.

Thanks for looking at this one.