What’s the best unconventional way to learn Spanish?
If you need a break from going to class or reading a book, there’s nothing better than learning Spanish through movies.
Why Learn Spanish Through Movies and Films?
Why learn Spanish through movies?
Here are three reasons:
- Movies are just plain fun. You can reserve them for times when you’re just too tired to do anything else.
- Movies tend to use natural conversational Spanish. This is different from other sources of Spanish like books or news.
- Also, movies are a great way to become culturally fluent. Being able to talk about a famous Spanish movie is a great way to connect with Spanish friends.
So you want to learn Spanish with movies – where to start?
1. Watch a movie you have seen in your language.
If you are already familiar with the plot, you will not worry about missing anything. I suggest watching the movie a few times with the subtitles in English first. Even though subtitles are usually a summary of what actors are really saying, it helps you get the gist of it. At the same time, you are exposing yourself to the Spanish audio, even if it’s not your priority at this point.
Once you are ready, deactivate the subtitles. I suggest doing this by segments, particularly the first time you see it. Watching a whole movie in Spanish might be overwhelming.
2. Focus on short segments where there is only one voice (or two at the most).
Not only are there many of variations of pronunciation and intonation in the different Spanish speaking countries, but each person also has his or her own way of speaking. This said, jumping into a conversation with many speakers may turn out to be a little frustrating (particularly if you are expecting to understand every single word that everyone is saying).
3. Don’t feel like you “have to” watch a movie you dislike.
You should definitely find something of interest to you in the movie, whether it’s the plot, the actors, the atmosphere…even the music. Otherwise, you’ll just suffer through it as you probably did when you took traditional classes.
4. Stick to one country.
At some point you must have wondered whether the Spanish you are hearing is “real” Spanish or a dialect. Well, remember that Spanish is spoken in many different countries. Just as it happens with English, there are local variants—though the differences are not so great that they become dialects. If you are American, you can understand an Australian, but you don’t speak like him. The same happens with Spanish.
Therefore, one suggestion that could help is this: stick to movies from one particular country first. After you feel comfortable with that local variety of Spanish, “move” to another country. Each Latin American nation speaks its own variety of Spanish, but in general they have more similarities with each other than any they have with Castilian Spanish (the “original” variety spoken in Spain).
The latter has a more differences in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. And when it comes to vocabulary, the main differences are in words for foods, clothes…and curses! Other than that, there are more similarities than differences.
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One can watch user uploaded videos and movies at many video sharing websites such as YouTube and Vimeo. One can watch theatrical and made for television movies on a variety of websites such as Hulu, Netflix, and XFinity.