https://www.duolingo.com/MikeDeBoston

Does TV with subtitles help?

I've started watching a Spanish-language show with Spanish subtitles. The dialog is slow enough that I'm able to keep up by reading the subtitles.

But will this help me learn to improve my Spanish listening skills? Or am I only really improving my reading skills?

Thanks!

2 years ago

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Brujito2016

Sure it would! To feel the progress try one thing. Watch a fragment of the TV show without subs, and try to grasp as much as you can. Then play again with subs to check yourself.

To make life even more difficult, you can try to put down words you don't know in the notebook or directly into online dictionary. This way your ears would have nothing pero trabajar!

Good luck, Mike

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VeeDrawStuff
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Great Question

If you're beginning, then you should use the subtitles. However eventually they will become a crutch and hinder your listening abilities. More reading will not help you improve your ability to listen.

Check out my post ¡Turn OFF the Subtitles!

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MikeDeBoston

That's a very helpful post. I've finished the tree and I'm refreshing it now. I think I'll try watching each episode with subtitles, then watching again without.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VeeDrawStuff
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Thanks! When you're just watching and not reading the subtitles, the experience feels different and from my experience you hear it differently.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/swingbeatnik7
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Thanks, it was helpful. I followed the discussion to have it easy-access.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth261736

For me, using the Spanish subtitles with 100 + hours of television has been enormously helpful! It's improved my vocabulary a great deal and reinforces and improves upon what I'm learning here on Duolingo and in my reading.

For example, the Spanish tree had left me confused about what probar means (hint: it doesn't always mean taste). After having been exposed to the word in many different contexts such as someone trying on clothes, I now have a much better understanding of what probar actually means. I also now know that the word quedar can be used in lots of different ways. "Quedar embarazada" doesn't mean to stay or remain pregnant, but to get pregnant. I also learned the difference between quedar and quedarse. And much more.

I've also gotten used to various accents and rhythms such as Castillian from the programs set in Spain, and various accents in Mexico. The TV shows are also entertaining, but I don't think that I'd enjoy them as much without the Spanish subtitles. This is called extensive listening or listening for pleasure:

http://www.er-central.com/contributors/learn-about-extensive-reading-and-listening/what-is-extensive-listening/

http://www.robwaring.org/er/ER_info/starting_extensive_listening.htm

On the other hand, this is not the only way that I am practicing my listening skills:

  • I'm having conversations in Spanish about 5-10 hours per month. There are numerous ways to do this: conversation exchange, tutor, or talking to a friend. Some methods are cheaper or easier than others, but if you have an internet connection, it's possible to find someone to talk to in your area. In the past, I've gone to meet-ups in French and may start doing that with Spanish too.

  • I listen to a Spanish-language radio station in my car. As the same ads and music often repeat, it's good to see how much more I'm able to understand as time goes by. In French, I used to listen to audiobook CDs of a book that I was reading in French.

  • Kersten Hamm has written a great little book called Fluency Made Achievable. In the section Listening: Understanding What People Say, she says, "there are three different approaches: listening for pleasure, listening to get the gist of the conversation, and listening to study. She gives techniques on how to do all three and I highly recommend this book.

For active listening (intensive listening or what Kersten Hamm calls study), I need to do more. However, I don't think that turning off the Spanish subtitles on a show that I enjoy would not be the way to go, at least not yet.

My current plan is to do what the French call dictées (dictation). Find short bits of audio (at normal speed in my case) with transcripts, listen and write down as much as I understand, then double-check what I've written against the transcript. As this is very intensive, I'm only going to be able to do it for little bits of time. Podcasts can be a source.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lento_Rodriguez
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What's the show?

I try not to use subtitles because I just end up reading but I think it would help some anyway.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MikeDeBoston

I'm enjoying Extra en Español. It's kind of middle-school humor, but that makes it predictable and easier to follow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dfb9-ZTCA-E

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lento_Rodriguez
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I love Extra, I found the transcripts for it a while back...

extr@ 1-4

extr@ 5-8

extr@ 9-13

I study them before watching instead of using the subtitles.

2 years ago
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