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Do you watch telenovelas to learn Spanish?


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Do any of you watch telenovelas to learn Spanish?

I did that a few years ago, and it really improved my Spanish. The best part is that I learned more colloquial Spanish than school Spanish. I think to be a good Spanish speaker, you must be good with both. Anyway, telenovelas was a nice addition to Spanish class.

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They are actually useful because for the most part, they speaks slowly and the camara is right in their face so you can see the lip movements which, to me, is very helpful in understanding certain words.  For instance, I have a much harder time understanding people on the phone.

I was surprised when I moved her to learn that Ugly Betty was actually a very famous latin american telenovela before it went to the USA.

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I actually started watching them when I started learning Spanish just to see how much I could comprehend, but then I stuck around because they are so hilarious sometimes.  I love ridiculously dramatic acting!  But I do think I've learned a little from watching so much, which is a nice bonus.

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A telenovela I would recommend for anyone newly learning Spanish is Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish. Visit link: http://www.learner.org/resources/series75.html

I don't believe this telenovela is on TV anymore. PBS.org and other learning channels used to run it for their followers. However, it is both engaging and educational.

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I used to watch a lot of TV-E, or television Española, when I started my "quest" to learn Spanish.I think it helps, you'll learn a few words and phrases at least subconsciously and you'll be familiarizing yourself with the language just by hearing it. Watching TV in Spanish can also be a good refresher for Spanish speakers who don't speak Spanish often and might lose fluency. 

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One of my Spanish teachers actually encouraged us very much to watch telenovelas in Spanish. She was mostly someone who focused on listening to Spanish speech and talking in Spanish, so she gave us lists of Spanish channels and appropriate telenovelas for us to watch in our free time. Occasionally, she would even find a telenovela for us to watch in class for a few minutes. It really helps with colloquial, conversational Spanish because usually the curriculum does not teach the Spanish you would hear on the streets. I think it is a great way to pick up more casual Spanish if you already have a strong background in Spanish vocabulary and grammar.

The concern that one may have when watching Spanish telenovelas is that they may not be appropriate for younger Spanish learners. Most of the telenovelas are geared toward adults, so generally young learners do not get a chance to watch them as often. Still, it is a good way to practice listening skills while also enjoying the telenovela.

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I guess watching Telenovelas can help you when you already have some knowledge in spanish, but it can be tricky... because you might learn some spanish words that might not even be part of the spanish variation you are learning. I mean... a colombian telenovela is totally different from a mexican one!

They use a totally different vocabulary, sometimes it would seem as theiy're speaking a totally different language, and don't get me started on venezuelan telenovelas!  It's way worse, so I'd be wary when watching telenovelas... specially if you are interested in learning the spanish spoken in certain country. If you want to learn a more neutral spanish... I'd advice you to stay away from telenovelas!

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The telenovelas that got me hooked and inspired to learn more are Pasion de Gavilanes, Dame Chocolate, and Gitanas. I loved those soap operas. They kept me coming back for more each time.

I was surprised to that Ugly Betty was Yo Soy Betty, La Fea, first. I didn't realize it until I saw a commercial of a re-run of it in Spanish.

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Years ago when telenovelas first appeared in my country I did watch them, because there were only 2 of them :) I did learn some words and because of them I can understand Spanish. I don't speak it though... but yes, they were helpful.

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Telenovelas are not also good to learn Spanish, but also to learn how Spanish it's spoken in different countries.

In example Betty la Fea (Ugly Betty) is a Colombian telenovela, while the remake Letty la Fea is Mexican.

While it's the same story, it has two different cultural settings, different Spanish accents, and different words because some idiomatic expressions used in Colombia are no used in Mexico.

Similarly, watching La Rosa de Guadalupe you can hear Spanish as spoken in different Mexican social settings depending on the episode you watch.

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  • 1 month later...

I not only watch telenovelas to learn Spanish, but also because they are very entertaining! I learn by listening and watching, so telenovelas help! Like others were saying, it's good to watch telenovelas because they use  "proper" Spanish and/or "slang" Spanish (which is good to know both).

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I tried to watch telenovelas...but I couldn't stomach any of them. I just end up laughing hysterically at the cheesiness of them all. Not that American soap operas are much better...but some of the stuff is just so ridiculous that I can't help but to laugh so hard that I fall off the couch.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Over here, the Spanish telenovelas are usually dubbed in Tagalog,so there's no chance to improve my vocabulary as long as Spanish is concerned. What I do though is I listen to Spanish songs or English songs that have Spanish lines in them, so that I can better learn and recall Spanish words.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I tried watching a few telenovelas and Spanish talk shows but I found the action and trying to figure out the plot distracted me from the words, and the actors spoke way too fast for me to catch what they were saying. Depending on the drama of the scene, they may also be whispering, mumbling, or shouting.

Sometimes in the car I put on the local Spanish radio station and listen to the DJ and the songs. They also speak quickly, but without the extra strain of watching the actors at the same time, it's somehow easier for me to pick up on the language. With enough practice I can grasp better what they say, especially since most radio DJs and singers end up saying the same things in English.  :smirk:

One of my college professors showed us this ready-for-learners "show" that was like a telenovela to help learners learn Spanish in an authentic way from real Spanish speakers: it was a staged "reality show" about 5 or 6 young people traveling together and staying in a big house (like a Real World knock-off). It was corny but the actors probably spoke a little slower and used easier vocabulary. I'm sure you could find this or something like this on the internet.

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I used to watch Sos Mi Vida (or Martín y Monita), an Argentinian romantic comedy series. I loved it. Most of the time it was cheesy, but funny. I don't think it's the best series to watch when you're just starting to learn Spanish. The conversations were very fast so I needed the subtitles all the time.

The series was highly addictive, so I kept watching :) I did learn a few things, so it wasn't a waste of time.

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Once in a while I'll watch some Spanish TV. I think it definitely helps me learn. I pick out the words and phrases I know and learn some new things by context. I used to watch it with my dad who speaks fluent Spanish so I could ask him if anything was too confusing. Some of the shows are laughably terrible, but I thought that made for pretty entertaining education.

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  • 2 months later...

I watch them from time to time. They do help me because I need to really hear the language being spoken. It helps me learn. I may not understand them word for word, but I can understand what's going on based off of the words that I do know.

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UPDATE:

Hey everyone!!! I thought I'd write an update for this thread because I started watching telenovelas again. Woohoo!!! :D

I fell upon a station by accident about a month ago that plays old Telemundo telenovelas, all day long. Sweet!!! And the best part, they are playing a telenovela I fell in love with years ago called Dame Chocolate with Carlos Ponce. I seriously never get tired of looking at him. They are also playing Madre Luna, another great drama. So, yah, I've been really happy lately :D

The best part to all of this: I'm watching the two telenovelas without any caption or subtitles. And guess what, I'm understanding them. Woohoo!!! I'm soooo proud of myself.

I read through some of the recent comments, and I have to agree that many of the telenovelas out there are really cheesy. I refuse to watch many of them because I don't like what I call "stupid comedies". The good thing is I like romance. And most telenovelas seem to revolve around crazy, super dramatic romances. Oh Well... :D Anyway, if you want to go this route, you have to do some searching and experimenting. Over the years, I've learned that Telemundo telenovelas are more my thing than the other Latin stations in the US.

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Oh I think this is pretty useful. I mean I don't even watch telenovelas but my mom does. And I've inadvertently picked up a couple of Spanish words along the way. I wasn't even trying to lear the language. So if someone like me who isn't even really paying attention to the telenovela can learn from it, how much more someone who actually watches, right?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Novelas are silly to me. Now that I have read this thread I can see why it is actually helpful. The added drama and facial expressions really can help one learn Spanish. I just hope no one tears up when Maria chooses Esteban, the ridiculously handsome mariachi guy, over Juan, the average nice guy with a kind heart. Things are always so unfair.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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