Improving Your Spanish by Watching Movies

Many Spanish students experience a progression of learning that starts out with pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. Aural skills usually come later. If you have got to the point in your studies where you are looking for ways to improve your aural skills, one good method is to watch movies in Spanish.

I find that movies that are originally in Spanish are more challenging. Movies that are in English originally are better to start with because they are easier. Streaming VF

The first thing to do is watch the movie in English and familiarize yourself with the plot. If you pick a movie that you already are familiar with, select the Spanish audio and the English subtitles. Don’t even bother with the Spanish subtitles. They NEVER match the audio for some reason. It’s as if the producers hired two completely different translators, one for the audio and one for the subtitles.

Once you have seen the movie a few times with the English subtitles, try watching it without them. I have found that after each time I watch a movie, I hear more of the Spanish.

Be sure to pick movies that you won’t mind seeing repeatedly. I like the Harry Potter movies, as well as Idiocracy, The Princess Bride, Along Came Polly and Blazing Saddles.

This is definitely a good way to develop aural skills. But recently I discovered an even better way. This involves working with shorter videos of about 30 seconds to a minute in length. After I worked with some videos that I had found for a while. I then I went back to watch the movies and was excited that I could understand the Spanish better than ever!

I don’t know why this method is so much more effective than watching movies, but I have a theory. It has to do with the short nature of the videos. I listen to each video 3 times in a row. And I do that on 5 different days. So I end up hearing each video 15 times. I think there is something about focusing on a short excerpt many times that trains the ear better than watching a full-length movie, where you only hear everything once.

As my ear training continues to improve, I will gradually start watching more movies that are originally in Spanish as those are the most challenging. But it takes some time to build your skill up to the point where it is worth the effort. I believe that if you jump ahead too quickly, you don’t get as much out of the effort.