On the Journey of Learning Spanish as a Second Language; Telenovelas on Telemundo

In an attempt to become comfortable speaking in Spanish, I watch several programs on Telemundo, a Spanish-language television network. I have found that it is difficult to learn a new language without hearing it spoken regularly. Also, I would like to develop the ability to think in a second language. Right now, I think and speak English primarily, But I would like to become more proficient in Spanish. As I speak very beginner Spanish right now, my thinking in English hinders me in speaking Spanish. However, I can write Spanish with a little more ease (though with more of an English sentence order).

As I am in the mode of learning a second language, I think it is a great idea that Telemundo has placed English translations of its evening shows during the week on CC3. Some of the programs I enjoy most are “Caso Cerrado”, “Decisiones Extremas”, and a fair number of the telenovelas (previously “La Reina del Sur” and now “La Casa de al Lado”).

After watching the network for several months, I can pick up on the high points of the dialogue without having to look at the screen sometimes. Sometimes I understand the spoken words better with my own literal translation than the English translation. Other times I learn something (for example, there’s a saying in Spanish “poner sus pantalones”, which literally means “to put on your pants”, but it really means something like “take responsibility” or “man up” (this CC3 translation made me chuckle as I read it.)).

But overall, as a learner of Spanish as a second language, I am still very much a novice because if asked something in Spanish my immediate reaction would be something in English. If I had time to think about it, I would be able to respond. I want to learn the Spanish verb conjugations and more vocabulary, but I am realizing that there may be no substitute for just speaking Spanish more often. I have found that people who speak Spanish have been very patient (and pleased) with my beginning, heavily American-accented Spanish (which encourages me to keep learning)).

I would hope that at some time in the future I would be able to travel to a Spanish-speaking country (just for the experience); the thought is intriguing.


4 thoughts on “On the Journey of Learning Spanish as a Second Language; Telenovelas on Telemundo

  1. I found your blog entry especially interesting because I too started watching Telemundo a few months ago in order to improve my understanding of spoken Spanish. I can read Spanish fairly well, but have great difficulty understanding when listening. I am so grateful that Telemundo broadcasts its telenovelas with English translations, which has been a big help.

    I watch Mi Corazon Insiste and Flor Salvaje on occasion, but I am hooked on La Casa de al Lado and never miss an episode. LIke you, I can now pick up on some of the Spanish words or phrases without the English translation.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share with you that another native English speaker is on the same journey with you to learn Spanish. It’s always good to know you’re not the only one.


  2. Along with you, I’m glad that Telemundo provide English translations for some of its shows. I like La Casa De Al Lado as well (Decisiones is also very good).

    I took Spanish in high school, and I’m surprised at how much I retained so many years after.

    Thanks for writing; it’s good to know of other Spanish learners out there! 🙂


  3. I am also trying to learn Spanish. I am at the intermediate level. I watch “La casa al Lado” as well and really enjoy it. I have taken several classes and have also listened to Spanish CDs such as Pimsleur. I have learned a lot and really enjoyed Pimsleur. I wish I had a spanish speaking person to practice with in order to enhance my spanish. I am in search for someone with whom I can practice spanish because I feel that that is the key for me to enhance my Spanish. We all seem to be on a similar journey. Good luck with your learning!


  4. When I was learning Spanish in college I would watch Spanish movies with the subtitles. But I would definitely try to just listen to the Spanish and understand it. I was getting pretty good at Spanish and then I just stopped practicing it once I graduated from college. I really would love to start again.


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