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

Updated on July 2, 2018
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. That way, students could hear English but see the translation into Spanish. With 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

© 2012 Victoria Lynn

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    • profile image

      cjalanis 

      8 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.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      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.

    • profile image

      Maestradeespañol 

      8 years ago

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

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      oisidore--De nada! Gracias por leerlo!

    • oisidore profile image

      Omowali Isidore 

      8 years ago

      Un hub muy excelente! Gracias por compartirlo!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      donmanual--Glad you approve! De nada!

    • donmanual profile image

      donmanual 

      9 years ago from Playa del Carmen, Mexico

      Corre, Forrest, corre!

      ...amazing movie and great article!

      Gracias!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      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. :-)

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 

      9 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 imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • spanishbynative profile image

      spanishbynative 

      9 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 imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • eatforcheaper profile image

      eatforcheaper 

      9 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 imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • hectordang profile image

      hectordang 

      9 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 imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • tarajeyaram profile image

      tarajeyaram 

      9 years ago from Wonderland

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

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      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!

    • MarieAlice profile image

      Maria Alicia Cardenas 

      9 years ago from Spain

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      9 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 imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Suzie 

      9 years ago from Carson City

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

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      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!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Suzie 

      9 years ago from Carson City

      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 imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      haha, drbj! Tu eres muy comica!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • NJ Blake profile image

      NJ Blake 

      9 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!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

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

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Suzie 

      9 years ago from Carson City

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

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      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!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      9 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

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 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!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      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.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 

      9 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!

    • NJ Blake profile image

      NJ Blake 

      9 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.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      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

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      9 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 imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      9 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.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      9 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!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, Jennifer. Much appreciated!

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 

      9 years ago from Idaho

      Voted up, useful, and shared.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

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

    • profile image

      Lord De Cross via IPhoneone 

      9 years ago

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

      LORD

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      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!

    • Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

      Deepak Chaturvedi 

      9 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Useful hub for students and new learners.

    • Victoria Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Awesome, cebutouristspot! That's great!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      9 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 imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Lynn 

      9 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      No sabes, dylmyster12?

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 

      9 years ago from Cebu

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

    • dylmyster12 profile image

      dylmyster12 

      9 years ago

      idk

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