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surebought

May 2, 2011, 1:32 PM

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An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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A friend of mine is really getting a lot better at speaking Spanish. He attributes his new found semi-fluency to the fact that he has gotten addicted to a Mexican Soap Opera (a novela). He faithfully watches it everyday. He has gotten to know all of the characters. It takes place out on a beautiful Blue Agave growing plantation somewhere in Jalisco. There is all kinds of intrigue with the extended family. The workers and servants are all playing intermediary roles between family members. It is very well filmed with no subtitles. So the only way you can follow what's going on is, learning Spanish by immersion. Believe me, you will start to pick up new words everyday.

I don't watch the Novelas myself because the last one I watched had a Gringo character that was depicted as a real scumbag. He was always drunk and argumentative and knew absolutely everything. I was kind of offended in how my countryman was being portrayed as a cultural stereotype. If US television depicted Mexicans in the same derogatory way as the Mexican Novelas portrayed Americans, there would be outrage. But so few Americans speak Spanish, so I guess the only one who notices is me. Maybe if someone else learns Spanish we can combine our voices and raise them high against this injustice. But until then, let's just have a few laughs watching them.



Rolly


May 2, 2011, 2:22 PM

Post #2 of 19 (17891 views)

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Re: [surebought] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Learning conversational Spanish by watching Mexican TV, including novelas, is hardly new or unusual.
In fact it's pretty common. And widely recommended.

Rolly Pirate


tashby


May 2, 2011, 4:15 PM

Post #3 of 19 (17875 views)

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Re: [surebought] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Do you know the name of that particular Telenovela and, maybe, which channel it's on? I've always thought this would be a great tool, but whenever I try to watch one I only last about 10 minutes because they're so horribly produced.


sparks


May 2, 2011, 4:34 PM

Post #4 of 19 (17868 views)

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Re: [tashby] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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A good Telenovela ..... I don't think so. You have to think of it as a classroom experience.

If you want some kind of a real and interesting story try Destinos online or where ever you can find it

http://www.learner.org/resources/series75.html

Sparks Mexico - Sparks Costalegre


esperanza

May 2, 2011, 5:07 PM

Post #5 of 19 (17853 views)

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Re: [surebought] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Most of Mexico's telenovelas are nothing but stereotypical characters, no matter what the nationality. The Mexicans, both the good ones and the evil ones, are stereotypes, the blacks are stereotypes (I remember an old telenovela from the mid-70s called La Esclava Isaura, you would have collapsed from looking at it), the indigenous are stereotypes, if there's a Frenchman in the script, mais oui aussi! It's one of the reasons telenovelas are generally so very easy to understand: the characters are predictable precisely because they are stereotypical.

I wouldn't get too worked up because an American is depicted the way so many people believe Americans to be. There's usually more truth to it than lies. Don't forget the line from Robert Burns:
"O wad some Power the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!"

And I've been recommending watching telenovelas as a way of attuning one's ear to Spanish and gaining vocabulary for lo these many years. Not a new thing, but certainly useful and fun.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









(This post was edited by esperanza on May 2, 2011, 5:08 PM)


raferguson


May 2, 2011, 5:42 PM

Post #6 of 19 (17845 views)

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Re: [surebought] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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My advice is a little different: Watch on Mexican TV whatever you would normally watch in English. If you like soap operas, watch telenovelas. If you like news, watch news. If you like old movies, watch old movies in Spanish. It really does not matter, whatever you watch you will learn.

I usually suggest that people avoid modern action movies, too much slang. The old movies, from the 50s or whenever, they speak slower, less slang.

I am not a big fan of subtitles, as the translation is usually pretty free, and I end up arguing with the translations (That is not what he said!). The best is subtitles in the same language as the audio, reinforces the learning, avoids translation issues. You sometimes miss it when it is said, but reading it you can pick up what you missed.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


Marlene


May 2, 2011, 10:00 PM

Post #7 of 19 (17818 views)

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Re: [raferguson] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Children's programs are a good option for those starting out. Watching (and comprehending) the news in Spanish is very different from regular TV shows. The newscasters speak extremely quickly, so when you can understand the news, your mission is pretty much accomplished. :-)

The people who translate programs for subtitles are under a great deal of pressure to get it done NOW, and you are right about there being constant mistakes. Sometimes it's really off, to the point it changes everything.


(This post was edited by Marlene on May 2, 2011, 10:03 PM)


Reefhound


May 3, 2011, 9:36 AM

Post #8 of 19 (17762 views)

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Re: [Marlene] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Really? I've found the news much easier than movies and shows as while they may speak fast, they enunciate clearly and correctly with no slang, stuttering, slurring, repeating, and other "sound effects". The weather is even easier due to the repetition of commonly used terms.


(This post was edited by Reefhound on May 3, 2011, 9:37 AM)


raferguson


May 3, 2011, 12:24 PM

Post #9 of 19 (17731 views)

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Re: [Marlene] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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It is true that one probably needs to be pretty far along to watch the news. It helps if you already know the subject that they will be covering. Sometimes I will have trouble with a topic if I know nothing about it, I just can't get a handle on the subject, the announcer assumes that you already know who this person is and why this is news. Easier to understand news about the USA because you already understand the USA and its politics.

Similarly, if you watch the telenovela every week, it will be easier to understand than if you just pick one at random, and have to come up to speed on the characters.

The hardest of all is radio news. No visual cues. You will hear about two sentences on one subject, and then they switch to a different subject in a different country!

Ultimately, it comes down to your own taste. I don't like children's programs because of the cutsy accents that some characters use. Sometimes on the cartoons they use electronic distortion which makes understanding difficult.

Occasionally I will hear low-bit-rate audio on the internet or even on XM radio, which ends up being kind of distorted, so hard to understand.

Lots of factors play into your ability to understand a particular program.

One thing to look for is internet video. The advantage is that you can play it back multiple times until you understand it.

Ultimately, it is whatever works for you. Try different things.

Richard


http://www.fergusonsculpture.com


(This post was edited by raferguson on May 3, 2011, 12:26 PM)


surjo666

May 6, 2011, 1:45 AM

Post #10 of 19 (17628 views)

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Re: [surebought] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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That's a pretty exciting and fun way to learn Spanish. But I think that it would be better if the language is studied at first. If someone doesn't know anything then this method wouldn't help them at all, would it?


Reefhound


May 6, 2011, 12:00 PM

Post #11 of 19 (17608 views)

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Re: [surjo666] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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"That's a pretty exciting and fun way to learn Spanish. But I think that it would be better if the language is studied at first. If someone doesn't know anything then this method wouldn't help them at all, would it?"

Do babies study a language before learning it?


mazbook1


May 6, 2011, 1:08 PM

Post #12 of 19 (17599 views)

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Re: [Reefhound] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Reefhound is close to the mark, but that only applies to 100% of babies. Different folks learn a second language in different ways. Some really can just "pick it up" from friends and telenovelas without cracking a book—and oh how I envy them—others can learn exclusively by books and classes but really need a LOT of practice to become fluent (at nearly any level). Then there are others who, through personal study and LOTS of practice can, but seldom do, become truly fluent—I count myself as one of these, as the best I can say is «me defiendo» and feel lucky that I am at that level after 13 years.

Unfortunately, then there is the large group that I call the "resistors". With the exception of a few of the standard greetings and polite words and responses AND a bit of terrible "Spanglish", this group "THINKS" they are "getting by", but the reality is that they are insular and really miss the large majority of what makes living in México such a wonderful experience. I feel sorry for them. I also call these folks "extended term tourists", since that is all they really are. ¡lo siento!


alex .

May 7, 2011, 7:52 AM

Post #13 of 19 (17559 views)

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Re: [Marlene] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Like Marlene says : start with Plaza Sesamo (Sesame Street). Imagine a scene where a puppet goes up and down stairs repeatedly saying "arriiiiiba...abaaaaajo." After 20 repetitions, vas agarrrar la onda.
Alex


eyePad

May 7, 2011, 1:21 PM

Post #14 of 19 (17542 views)

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Re: [mazbook1] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Quote
Some really can just "pick it up" from friends and telenovelas without cracking a book


mazbook1, these people are the small minority.
I have always said if I can learn another language, then anyone can. After thousands of hours of immersion it is inevitable


richmx2


Jun 17, 2011, 11:49 AM

Post #15 of 19 (16410 views)

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Re: [esperanza] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Esparanza....

I know this is an old thread, but La Esclava Isaura was a BRAZILIAN soap, later dubbed into Spanish and broadcast on several different Latin American networks. Several of the voice-over actors were Mexicans, but in no way was it a Mexican telenovela. La Loba (my recent favorite) was a remake of an Argentine story, reset in Mexico City, with Mexican characters and very Mexican social values. The over-the-top villainess, Doña Prudencia, was enough to hook my non-Spanish speaking partner, and at least introduce some basic Mexican social customs and practices.

For those who object to gringo stereotypes in telenovelas, you should watch the old India Maria movies, where the gringos are not only likely to be baddies, but unable to speak with anything but a comical accent as well.


http://mexfiles.net
http://editorialmazatlan.com

(This post was edited by richmx2 on Jun 17, 2011, 12:42 PM)


rayitodeluna

Aug 19, 2011, 9:47 PM

Post #16 of 19 (15133 views)

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Re: [Marlene] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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This is why I know about 80% of the words used in the movies Toy Story 3, Happy Feet, and Cars in spanish. ;) My daughter loves those three movies. Often times the subtitles arent an exact translation, and I love that I can tell the difference now!

~~~~~~ Enjoying life in northern D.F. with our family of Americans and chilangos.
Family and expat blog here : http://threecurlygirlys.blogspot.mx/ ~~~~~~


davidkrug

Aug 30, 2011, 1:11 PM

Post #17 of 19 (14885 views)

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Re: [surebought] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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I attribute a large portion of my spanish acquisition to watching Fuego en la Sangre!

TV and Music is what I recommend to most to pick up spanish faster and easier than anything.

Retirement: World's longest coffee break. ~Author Unknown
Visit Me Online at: DavidKrug.org


norteño

Aug 30, 2011, 2:05 PM

Post #18 of 19 (14873 views)

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Re: [davidkrug] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Since oral comprehension is always the hardest thing about learning a language it is extremely useful to set the closed captions of the TV for Spanish.


davidkrug

Aug 30, 2011, 2:57 PM

Post #19 of 19 (14864 views)

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Re: [norteño] An unusual way to learn Spanish. Its easier than studying.

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Good point I failed to mention!

Retirement: World's longest coffee break. ~Author Unknown
Visit Me Online at: DavidKrug.org
 
 
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