What's the best telenovela for Spanish beginners? | SpanishDict Answers
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4 Vote

I want to watch a Spanish soap to practice conversational Spanish. Do you have a favorite telenovela and does it have English subtitles?

  • Posted Jan 16, 2010
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13 Answers

3 Vote

Some ideas:

Some shows like CSI Miami have subtitles in Spanish, so you can listen in english and follow the subtitles in spanish. I believe it is also dubbed into spanish, so you can watch the english subtitles as well.

You might also consider cartoons, especially if you are a newbie. Telenovelas can be pretty intense, and difficult to follow at times. I enjoy Inkee Deekie Doo (spelling?). They have a couple of fun stories in each episode and the dialog is easy to follow. You can pick up some good vocabulary. "Jane and the Dragon"has both english and spanish audio and subtitles.

  • cdowis~~great answer! I like watching the cartoons on the Spanish stations~~they keep me "fluent" (at the See-Spot-Run level!) :-) - Dee914 Jan 16, 2010 flag
2 Vote

I usually recommend that everything necessary to learn Spanish is free. There are so many great sights on the internet with loads of possibilities. However, there is one sight I have gladly paid my $9.95 per month for and felt like it was worth every penny. Lo Mas TV has music videos, soap operas, documentaries, biographies, culture and travel, cooking videos, and so much more! The neat thing is that each video is captioned in English and Spanish and has a related practice game and integrated dictionary. You can slow the video down for beginners and choose to discard the captioning for advanced learners. I have learned endless things with their flashcard sets. Maybe its not for everybody but this sight has been invaluable for me!

  • I've seen Lo Mas TV written on here a few times & I've been meaning to check out. Thanks for the reminder...and the description! :-) I'm going to investigate it today!!! - Dee914 Jan 16, 2010 flag
  • LosMas TV looks really awesome. I just watched a demo music video of Juanes and it was great for new learners how they design the player. Thanks! - reddhawt Jan 16, 2010 flag
1 Vote

At the risk of sounding somewhat heretical, I think the best shows for improving ones skills in everyday language are the telenovelas (soap operas). When watching American TV, I usually choose programs such as "House", CSI", "Law and Order" and "The Closer" But I choose them because they're funny/interesting (I'm not trying to improve my English language skills).

I also watch a lot of Japanese programs (because I am trying to improve my Japanese). I watch some of them simply because I like some actor/actress (more often the latter) but, on the whole, my goal is language practice. For that purpose, police/detective/lawyer/hospital/forensic science based dramas are less successful/useful (there is simply too much technical jargon that I am sure I will never have occasion to use).

Mind you, I never watch soap operas in English (I think that their plots are ridiculous) but several years ago (when I decided that it was time to "remove some of the rust" from my Spanish), I immediately turned to telenovelas. As with English-language soaps, the story lines are silly and much of the acting is "over the top" but (for better or worse) I think they do best reflect the way real people speak most of the time.

At the other extreme, I find news, comedy and music shows the least useful for language learning. Comedy can be nice but it often requires a profound knowledge of the language, or relies on difficult "plays on words", or requires a familiarity with "current"/"topical" events. Newscasters often use a "telegraphic" style of speech. There is, of course, also the issue of frequent references to people/events that are of considerable local interest but which may not be very interesting from the point of view of learning the language.

Music can also be a difficult subject. I'm very fond of folksongs (which I think are useful for learning a language because the lyrics are more "every-day language") and of Flamenco singing (which is less useful because it's frequently sung with heavy Andalusian/Gipsy accent and vocabulary). On the whole, I'd say that music may be fun to listen to but is not a good path towards language competence (except for the really advanced).

1 Vote

Here is a cute cartoon based on a book. I got the book at the local library and it is perfect for beginning spanish! This is the link to show you when it is on in the next few days. It is called El Perro Y El Gato.

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1 Vote

You might want to check out Destinos which was created for teaching spanish. http://learner.org/resources/series75.html.

  • I'm almost finished with Destinos and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The actors start the series speaking very slowly and gradually increase their speed. It was shot in the early 90s; so beware of shoulder pads:) - Helind May 30, 2010 flag
0 Vote

Hi reddhawt...and Welcome to the Forum! grin

I don't have a favorite, but I watch several different ones as often as I can (on Univision Galavision & Telemundo). and with the Caption on. wink

I've learned quite a bit from them (when my husband isn't asking me to translate for him) LOL

I would say to try them all...including the commercials!

0 Vote

cartoons... pitufos

0 Vote

If you get MTV3 or MUN2 then they are both great channels to watch for learning Spanish. They are geared towards the Hispanic American crowd rather than the Native Spanish speaking crowd so alot of their shows are a mix of Spanish and English. Mostly during the day they just play music, but they also show actual Spanish soap operas in the afternoon or night that come complete with English subtitles.

0 Vote

Most, if not all Telenovelas, are on YouTube now. grin

0 Vote

Here is the link text to the same question I asked a couple of months ago. There were some great answers. Warning - Watch it on a small TV! I couldn´t get past the horrible film quality to hear what they were saying on (my husband´s choice) 60 some inch screen TV.

0 Vote

Epitafios is the best! It's an Argentinian crime series but they don't use voseo, though you get a good dose of "sho te shamo".

0 Vote

This may or may not help those stuck at home, but when I travel to Mexico I watch the weather and sports since I at least know the subjects being discussed. I also like to watch "The Simpsons" and "South Park" en español since I am familiar with most of the episodes and the context of the humor.

0 Vote

I've found telenovelas to be quite helful (and personally enjoyable). For example, I really enjoyed Treat Me Nice (from Argentina) and One Step Forward (from Spain) - the accent is very different on each, so if you're more familiar with Latin American spanish, Treat Me Nice might be a better option. Both telenovelas can be seen for free online (with english subtitles).

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