Can’t wait to see what happens next with your Spanish learning?
Learning Spanish as a couch potato has never been easier.
In fact, these days there are lots of options for learning Spanish while kicking back and relaxing.
You can try YouTube.
You can try movies.
But there’s nothing quite like TV for kicking back with a bowl of popcorn and improving your language skills.
Yes, you can totally immerse yourself in Spanish just by watching TV.
In this post, we’ll look at some great resources that will reward the most devoted of couch potatoes with that long sought-after gift of fluency.
But before we get on with our regularly scheduled programming, a quick look at how you can go about improving your Spanish with TV, no matter what your level or learning style.
Using Active and Passive Watching to Learn Spanish Through TV
If you really want to get the most out of your Spanish TV viewing experience, you’ve gotta work for it.
If you are, for example, jotting down notes and looking up words while watching TV, you’re actively learning. This type of learning will help you become fluent in the language more quickly. So go ahead: Play around with your techniques. Make some flashcards. Learn all the words and phrases you missed the first time and then try watching again. You’ll catch a lot more the second time around. Even if you decide to just keep watching, chances are these same words will reappear in other episodes, too. That’s one of the great things about TV: You can tune in at practically any point!
FluentU makes active watching easy.
If you just can’t manage to pry your hand from the popcorn bowl, you can still get a lot out of the experience.
Passively watching a show, while not as beneficial for increasing vocab and understanding, will still increase your exposure to the language and help improve your pronunciation. Simply hearing a language is important to learning it. You might not even notice you’re learning, but you are. It’s like listening to the radio. If you listen long enough, you’ll find yourself singing along to songs you didn’t even realize you’d memorized.
So here you are: 9 great resources for improving your Spanish through active watching, passive watching or any combination of the two.
Learn Spanish with TV: 9 Resources for Tuning In and Chilling Out
This site actually has TV shows and movies from all around the world, with a good amount of Spanish-language content.
DramaFever is organized by language, so be sure to have the “Spanish” filter on. Some of the international programs feature dubbing and/or closed captioning in Spanish, so if you want original Spanish-language content, you may want to set the “Latino” filter. Depending on your level, you may also want to try filtering by “Latino” programs and “English” language. This way, you can watch a show in English first. This will help you understand what it’s about, allowing you to understand a lot more when you finally watch it in Spanish. The basic service is free, but to reduce the number of ads, you might want to consider subscribing to the premium service.
DramaFever offers a unique assortment of TV shows and movies. Genres range from telenovelas to action to romance. There are currently about 25 series available, including the well-reviewed “El Tiempo Entre Costuras,” or “The Time in Between,” about a seamstress during the Spanish Civil War.
While Hulu is already a well-known service, you may not know that it has a “Latino” branch, offering both movies and TV shows in Spanish. While signing up for Hulu Plus will get you additional content and fewer ads, the basic service is free!
The “shows más vistos” section makes it easy to skim what TV shows are popular. On the main page, you can also browse categories for kids shows, action shows and what’s new. Try turning on Spanish-language subtitles by clicking the gear symbol second from the right in the video control bar. This will help you practice both your reading and listening skills.
With over 200 series available, it will take a lot of popcorn to run out of shows from Hulu. Many series were originally produced in Spanish, but there are also a few popular English-language programs (like “CSI” and “South Park”) available with dubbing. And when you’re done with those, why not try a fun telenovela like “La fea más bella” or a reality show like “Rica Famosa Latina 2” ?
3. Telemundo on YouTube
The TV network Telemundo offers this free YouTube channel with clips from shows.
These short clips are a helpful way to improve your Spanish without putting aside too much time. Just skim their list of offerings and choose what you feel like watching at the moment. With over a hundred clips posted in the last week, there are plenty of options here, and they vary wildly. You can find cute web videos, home improvement tips, tutorials and segments from popular TV programs.
This website is run by the TV channel Univision. While some clips are available for free, most full-length programs require registration. Since this is done in conjunction with your cable provider, the cost will depend on your provider and package. It may be well worth it.
The website is broken down into 3 main categories: shows, novelas and series. The shows tend to be talk shows, the novelas tend to be what are commonly called telenovelas and the series are predominantly dramas.
There are nearly 40 shows, 11 novelas, 10 series and 8 specials. All the programs featured appear in their original Spanish.
This website offers a fun TV show that’s actually aimed at assisting Spanish language learners. Both the episodes and practice activities are available free of charge. For each episode, there’s a “watch” section and a “practice” section, allowing you to maximize your learning.
There are 52 episodes of this series currently available. It features a lawyer traveling and solving mysteries, but the lessons that go with the show are what really set it apart. The “practice” section will help you learn vocabulary from the episodes and practice your grammar.
6. Mi Vida Loca
Like Destinos, Mi Vida Loca (offered by the BBC) is geared toward Spanish language learners. In this case, specifically toward beginning students, with interactive episodes and activities. Even better, all this stuff is free.
Each episode has printable grammar and vocabulary sheets that correspond with it. You can watch the episodes with English and/or Spanish subtitles. The interactive approach will help you perfect your reading, listening and speaking. There are 22 interactive episodes, in which you help solve a mystery in Madrid!
Rather than specific shows, this website offers free live-streaming TV from channels around the world.
Since it’s organized by country, you’ll need to select a Spanish-speaking country to find Spanish-language television. Once you’ve selected the country, you can choose a network and follow the link to the live stream. Countries to check out with a lot of listed TV networks include Argentina, Mexico and Spain.
8. Beeline TV
Like wwiTV, this site offers free live-streaming TV from all over the globe.
The site is organized by language, so all you have to do is scroll down to the “Spanish” section. Then, the channels are labeled with their respective countries of origin. This website offers a grand total of 22 Spanish-language channels.
9. Your own cable provider!
When seeking out Spanish TV resources, don’t neglect to look in the most obvious place. Watching Spanish-language television right through your cable provider is an easy and convenient option. And the best thing about it is that you might already be paying for it!
Each cable provider offers different packages. Look through your channel guide carefully, and you might find you’re already receiving some Spanish-language channels. If not, you might want to go to your provider’s homepage and see what other packages are available.
Two of the most common Spanish-language channels offered are Telemundo and Univision (as mentioned above), so keep an eye out for these. Both provide a wide variety of TV shows for your enjoyment (and education!).
Now that you have all these great options for learning Spanish from TV, it’s time to put the popcorn in the microwave, relax and prepare to learn!
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