Can You Watch Movies to Learn Spanish? Teaching Tips for Spanish Class

Ways to Learn Spanish!
Ways to Learn Spanish! | Source

Can You Learn Spanish By Watching Movies?

When I taught high school Spanish, occasionally I would play a movie, a movie that the students were familiar with, but the dialogue would all be in Spanish. I found, however, that the language was too advanced and rapidly spoken to catch onto for this level of students, and even for their teacher, who struggled to catch bits and pieces! Although I had thought showing movies using the Spanish language was a good idea for my students, it didn't turn out to be such a learning experience for them.

Determined, I instead looked for movies spoken in English that had Spanish subtitles. That way, they could read what went across the bottom of the screen and perhaps understand the language better that way instead of hearing it spoken at such a fast pace in a movie.

This idea worked well. We watched some movies for fun, or to take a break from the daily grind of the classroom. Sometimes I would leave a movie with a substitute teacher. Two movies that went over really well were actually short recordings of Dr. Seuss books. These were great, as the writing was simple, read slowly, and students could understand most of what was being said. We watched, "Are You My Mother?" and "Go, Dog, Go!" or "Eres tu mi madre?" and "Vaya, Perro, Vaya!"

Movies with Spanish Subtitles

At one point, we watched Forrest Gump with Spanish subtitles. Now, that was a hoot. On this one, I held the students accountable by making them learn some of the sentences--many famous ones--from the movie. They were tested on it. Most of the students had fun with that exercise, and they learned how to put sentences together, some of which could potentially transfer into the learning of other Spanish sentences.

I've been looking for Forrest Gump with Spanish subtitles to purchase since then, but I haven't yet found a copy. When I taught the movie, I was able to find a rental at a local video store.

Source

Forrest Gump Movie Quotes in Spanish

1. La vida es como una caja de chocolates. Nunca sabes lo que te va a tocar.

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.

2. Estùpido es como estùpido hace.

Stupid is as stupid does.

3. No soy un hombre listo, pero yo sè que es el amor.

I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is.

4. Y eso es todo lo que tengo que decir sobre eso.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

5. Fue el momento màs feliz de mi vida.

It was the happiest moment of my life.

6. Yo tengo que hacer pipi. (My students learned this one and loved to use it to get out of class for a bit!)

I have to go pee.

7. Eramos como pan y mantequilla (or literally guisantes y zanahorias).

We were like peas and carrots.

8. Querìa ser tu novio.

I wanted to be your boyfriend.

9. La muerte es una parte de la vida.

Death is a part of life.

10. Todos tenemos un destino. Me robaste mi destino.

We all have a destiny. You robbed me of mine.

11. Creo que hizo su paz con Dios.

I believe that he made his peace with God.

12. Soy un hombre de mi palabra.

I am a man of my word.

13. Y eso fue lo que hice.

And that was what I did.

14. Tenemos vidas muy diferentes.

We have very different lives.

15. Siempre serè tu chica.

I’ll always be your girl.

16. A veces pasa.

It happens.

17. Yo tenìa ganas de correr.

I felt like running.

18. Ese es mi barco.

That’s my boat.

19. Reza conmigo. Querido Dios, convièrteme en un pàjaro, para irme lejos, lejos de aquì.

Pray with me. Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly, far, far away from here.

20. Mi mama siempre decìa que los zapatos dicen mucho sobre las personas. Adonde van. Donde han estado.

My mamà always said that you could tell a lot about people’s shoes. Where they go. Where they’ve been.

And my favorite!

21. Corre, Forrest, corre!

Run, Forrest, run!

Spanish Class Project with Translation

Try Movies with Subtitles to Learn Spanish

Are you ready to give learning Spanish with subtitles a try? Reading a foreign language is generally easier for students than is understanding the language through listening. So why not give movies with Spanish subtitles a try? You can search online, in local video stores, or even on youtube.com for various titles. And when you feel more confident, maybe then you'll move on to movies solely in Spanish.

Hablas espanol?

Buena suerte!

Adios!


#7/30

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Comments 57 comments

dylmyster12 profile image

dylmyster12 4 years ago

idk


cebutouristspot profile image

cebutouristspot 4 years ago from Cebu

I believe so. My son and I learn basic spanish watching Dora the explorer :)


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

No sabes, dylmyster12?


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

You are all that and a piece of cornbread too:) lol Thank you! That is amazing I am so going to try to rent those. I love listening to movies in French - and like Amelie? I saw it way before it was popular here and loved it.

This is so over the top awesome...I was laughing and hey - who knows I learned a bunch from Dora! lol


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Awesome, cebutouristspot! That's great!


Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

Deepak Chaturvedi 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

Useful hub for students and new learners.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

RealH! Your comments thrill me! The Dr. Seuss ones are so fun. Just check them out on youtube if nothing else. Yeah, I bet you can rent. I'm thinking about getting some myself. Do you understand the French you hear in movies? Over the top awesome--thanks so much! Love your support!


Lord De Cross via IPhoneone 4 years ago

This is wonderful Victoria!!Lol! You covered it all. Muy bien amiga! Great effort!

LORD


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Deepak--glad you think the hub is helpful in learning Spanish!


Jennifer Essary profile image

Jennifer Essary 4 years ago from Idaho

Voted up, useful, and shared.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Gracias, mi amigo LORD! Glad you liked it. It was kind of a fun hub to put together!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Thanks, Jennifer. Much appreciated!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I know people who have found watching TV shows and movies in English with the subtitles on a useful technique for learning the language and believe that this would work well with other languages, too. Thanks for the advice!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

I love watching foreign movies, which means English movies are also foreign to me. English movies have helped me to learn spoken language.

Apart from English, I also watch Spanish, French, and Italian movies. But all the time I have to read the sub titles. I have never tried to learn Spanish while watching movies. Maybe I could give a try.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Cool, random! Neat to hear that. Thanks for reading!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Vinaya--Sounds like you engulf yourself in lots of language! That's great! Thanks for your comments!


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 4 years ago from Texas

My Spanish is pathetic at best. My family only spoke it to us when we were in trouble, which probably contributed to me refusing to speak it. Funny thing is that I understand it completely. But I respond like a dog; they ask me something in Spanish then I go and fetch it. I'll use your method so I can get right with my gente. Thank you for sharing!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Get right with your gente, AA! You have such a sense of humor! It's great! I think language is fun, as long as someone is not yelling at me while using it. hahaha


NJ Blake profile image

NJ Blake 4 years ago from United States

Movies (and telenovelas!) are a great way to enjoy learning a language (which is really hard to do!) I grew up speaking both so I learned the easy way, but my kids learned a lot from dubbed Disney movies - since they knew the stories and dialogue so well it wasn't hard to follow along.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Vicki..this is a wonderful hub and I do support it to a certain extent. My kid is learning spanish in school and I am trying to keep up with him by audio's got from the library. Will try to do the above. Infact, watch the movies with him...double fun :)

voted up and sharing! Gracious!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

NJ Blake. Sounds like fun learning with Disney. Thank for sharing that! Appreciate you're reading this, too.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Ruchira, I'm glad you can apply the information in your own family. That's great about your son. Have fun! De nada! And thanks for voting up and sharing.


anonymous 4 years ago

Music videos can be fun too, if you can find some that aren't too "steamy" - we like Alejandro Fernandez and quite a few of his are fine. The lyrics can be found online and it's interesting (and pretty funny) to translate them into English since what sounds very romantic in Spanish just doesn't work in English!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Yes I do hear and understand some of the French in the movies - but liason - makes it very difficult:) lol. I read the subtitles and watch them more than once - sometimes I even rewind so I cah hear it and repeat:) lol.

I took some Spanish in 4th grade and actually I remember some of it! I remeber some colors and nouns and the whole upside question mark stuff was confusing : La Casa es grande! Lol

The romance languages are so close - I can guess what some words mean and I can read French pretty good! I use online magazines that are free! Lol


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

anonymous--Great idea about the Spanish videos. And you're right about translating; sometimes something truly is lost in the translation!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

RealH! You're so funny. La casa es grande--indeed! Online magazines, huh? For free? I might have to check that out. Thanks for the great comments!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Victoria......Un hub bueno! Yo lo deseo mucho. Buenos noches y Vaya con Dios, amiga mia.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Muy diferente, Victoria, y 'enjoyable.' Soy un mujer de mi palabra. 'Promise.'


NJ Blake profile image

NJ Blake 4 years ago from United States

I'm not sure what I did to come up as "anonymous" but I'm new to this so there's no telling... We watched some telenovelas as well, my kids certainly didn't understand every word but they got gist of it (who wouldn't?!)and they looked forward to the episodes because it was all so new to them. We didn't watch much television so it was a treat as well Their favorites were Maria Isabel and Privilegio de Amar - I think they're available on Netflix!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

effer--Muy buen espanol! Que excelente. Gracias para visitarme!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

haha, drbj! Tu eres muy comica!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

De nada, Senorita Victoria! Estudio Espanol en escuela para cuatro anos, pero mi espanol es muy pobre....

I get by in a pinch!! LOL


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

NJ Blake--Telenovelas are a good idea because a person can usually tell what's going on just by watching. We have a local channel that's all in Spanish. I should watch it more often to brush up!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Looks like you're doing just fine, effer! Que bien! :-)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Hey Victoria....I wonder how we would laugh in Spanish online?? LOL-ITA LOL-ITA.......Now I'm getting silly!.............


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

jajaja! That's funny. I'll see if I can translate that. :-)


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey

fabuloso:-)( is that a real spanish word or did I just make it up?) No matter, voting up up up


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

robie--Fabuloso is a word! You did NOT make it up. Great job! I'll vote you up for that one!


MarieAlice profile image

MarieAlice 4 years ago from Peru

Dear Victoria Lyn, I speak spanish and english and to tell the truth I prefer watching movies on the original language. For some reason sometimes they do not pay attention to the translation, what I mean is that they traslate it literarally but not necessary making sense (not always of course) But I find this a great way to show students a new language!!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

MarieAlice--true about something often being lost in the translation. :-) But, yes, it is a way to show people some Spanish. Thanks for the input!


tarajeyaram profile image

tarajeyaram 4 years ago from Wonderland

This is a great suggestion. I would love to learn Spanish. Thanks. Voting up.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

tarajeyaram--Glad you like the suggestion! Thanks for the vote!


hectordang profile image

hectordang 4 years ago from New York

Si, yo puedo aprender espanol! I did it mostly by watching videos and trying to speak with my students, who are mostly Hispanic! I then spent 3 months in Mexico helping a few churches there. Living in Tiajuana and Rosarito really helped me practice the Spanish that I was learning by watching TV!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

hectordang--Going to Mexico helped immensely, I'm sure. That's great experience. Thanks so much for commenting on this hub!


eatforcheaper profile image

eatforcheaper 4 years ago from London

Hey this is excellent and you know what I do it too! But I do it with Portuguese subtitles! Because my partner is Portuguese. I stopped for a while but recently got back into it. I used to watch Sex and the City or other shows as well for "quick" lessons. It's quite fun!

I also find it more effective watching a movie or show you know pretty well so you can concentrate on the reading. I tried it with a movie I'd seen just once but it's hard to focus on the words and the subtitles! Great hub, thanks!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

eatforcheaper--Sex and the City would be so much fun to watch in another language! Great hint on watching more familiar shows. Thanks!


spanishbynative profile image

spanishbynative 4 years ago from Philadelpha, PA

HI Victoria - I really happen to enjoy watching movies as well as TV shows in Spanish. Even if I don't catch everything all at once, I can usually get the remainder of the conversation through the body language or the visual scene. Because I consider myself to be on the track to becoming proficient, I enjoy hearing the language and sometimes just practicing the words I hear. Nice article.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

spanishbynative--Great comments. I love it when people love language!! Thanks!


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 4 years ago from Sunny Spain

Hi Victoria, I live in Spain TV has recently gone digital which means that a lot of the stuff on TV can now be watched in the original language it was made in. This is both good and bad, we always go for the easy option and so many things are made in English that we now have a wide variety of programming in English to choose from and generally choose English because we are lazy.

But occasionally there are home grown programs that are only in Spanish but are so interesting that we want to watch them. One of the problems then is that they speak so fast and although I do not have too much of a problem reading Spanish when it is spoken at normal speeds I have difficulty recognising the words as they tend to run them into one another.

What I find very useful when watching Spanish TV programs is putting the Spanish subtitles on.

Having the subtitles on while listening to Spanish helps me with pronunciation. Spanish words can be pronounced very differently from the way an English speaker would pronounce them.

When we first came to Spain I heard one word over and over again I searched dictionaries and translating sites online and could not find it anywhere.

I tried every way I could think of to spell it but no matter how I spelled it I still could not find it. It was used so much and by so many people that I knew that it must be in a dictionary somewhere.

The word sounded like whoppa or whoppo depending of the sex of the person they were talking to or about.

Lots of Spanish words are easy to find because they are spelled just as they sound but no wonder I could not find this word 'guapa' it looks nothing like what it sounds.

An excellent hub I am voting it up and hitting the useful and interesting buttons on my way out.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

maggs--Thanks for sharing all of that. I find language so interesting. The subtitles are a great idea. I find that following the spoken language is hard because of talking so fast, too. Heck, I have trouble when people speak English too fast! That's funny about guapa! Thanks for the comments, really! And thanks for hitting all those buttons on your way out. :-)


donmanual profile image

donmanual 4 years ago from Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Corre, Forrest, corre!

...amazing movie and great article!

Gracias!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

donmanual--Glad you approve! De nada!


oisidore profile image

oisidore 3 years ago

Un hub muy excelente! Gracias por compartirlo!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

oisidore--De nada! Gracias por leerlo!


Maestradeespañol 3 years ago

Sorry to be so negative, but the writer's written accents are wrong.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 3 years ago from Arkansas, USA Author

Maestradeespanol--I know that the accents are not exactly as they should be. When I wrote this, I didn't have a program with accents even going the right direction, so I improvised. I need to find a program that makes typing Spanish words easier. Thanks for reading.


cjalanis 3 years ago

I think that the most difficult part for an english spaking person to learn spanish is the gender of things, in spanish we trend to assign gender to all things (masculine, femenine, neutral, etc) and in english is not that common at all, additionally that some words apply to both genders and singular and plural also makes them a little tough.

It's not impossible, it only takes a little of practice.

Good luck in leaning the Language of Cervantes.

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