Learning another language is difficult, especially when you get to an intermediate/upper-intermediate level. Netflix can be a great tool to assist you in your Spanish journey.
There are a lot of options for Spanish language shows and movies on Netflix. When you are at an intermediate level you can start to watch programs that are originally in Spanish. If you want country specific shows, simply type whichever country you’re looking for in the search bar and you will find sections such as, “Chilean TV Shows”.
Compared to other options for online viewing, Netflix by far has the best subtitles. Good and accurate subtitles are crucial for learning.
There should be both Spanish and English subtitles to help you. It is important that the show is originally in Spanish, because if it’s dubbed from another language the subtitles will not be the same translation as the audio. This is especially important if, like many people, your reading and writing skills are more developed than listening and speaking. Having accurate subtitles will help train your ear to words and phrases that you already know.
- Watch the same scenes and movies more than once, with different combinations of subtitles.
- Take notes on phrases you see.
- Make flashcards from those phrases.
Chilean Spanish on Netflix
If you are planning on moving to Chile and can find Chilean shows to watch – even better. I have encountered difficulty finding Chilean TV shows that have matching subtitles though – the subtitles tend to be “translated” into a neutral Spanish which to me, is not very helpful in trying to crack the Chilean accent.
“El Reemplazante” has the best subtitles I’ve seen on Netflix for Chilean Spanish, but it is a story about “flaites” which means that they speak in a lot of slang and don’t exactly pronounce words…correctly. BUT that is a positive in a way, as it may prepare you a bit for some of the magic you’re going to hear coming out of some Chileans’ mouth. My point – it’s very difficult to understand without subtitles.
I would also suggest watching a Mexican telenovela in its entirety. There can be over 150 episodes that are each almost an hour long, so if you watch the entire series it would be difficult for your listening skills NOT to improve (you’ll get really good at knowing how to tell people to get out or let go of you in Spanish!). I watched both Teresa and Lo que la vida me robó (plus a couple others) and I saw a significant increase in my listening skills. If you can stand watching them, they are really helpful. Teresa I watched with a lot of English subtitles, and towards the end I started watching it more and more with just Spanish subtitles. The story lines are simple enough that you may understand and learn just through context. When I watched Lo que la vida me robó I watched the whole second half of the series with only Spanish subtitles (with only the occasional rewinding of a scene to see what they meant in English).
The Spanish is also fairly neutral in these shows and they generally speak properly and slowly. They also are pretty much the only Spanish-language TV shows that aren’t just about drug cartels.
So if you’re trying to learn Spanish, try different shows until you find one that you like. Using Netflix to help with your Spanish is a great way to turn your Netflix time into something productive! And you won’t feel quite as guilty when you watch too much Netflix! Win win.