Favorite Type of Content?

What is your favorite type of content that you feel gives you the most bang for your buck: books, podcasts, YouTube videos, Netflix shows? Lately I’ve been going through a lot of Spanish learning videos on YouTube that are conversational. There are subtitles in English and Spanish, or I use Language Reactor which I know is a sketchy translation. I try to watch both subtitles the first time (depending on my level of understanding and pausing when I need to) and then just the Spanish. I’m not sure this is the best use of my time and I haven’t been importing most of them into LingQ, so it looks like I’m not progressing. I also listen to Pimsleur lessons about 40 minutes a day when I walk my dogs (since I already had it), but sometimes this isn’t active listening depending on what’s happening around me.

I know I’m supposed to focus on content that is interesting to me, but I feel like that is all a bit above my head and too fast at the moment, at least for videos and Netflix shows. I have to slow it down too much and then the people sound weird and I lose interest quickly.

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I should add that I have tried importing the YouTube videos I’ve been using, but the text is just one long string of words (some correct, some incorrect so I have to keep going back to the video to see what the word should be and how they translated it) and no punctuation. Maybe I’m doing something wrong? The other day I spent quite a long time editing the text of a 9ish minute video which was a very cumbersome and time-consuming process. When I was finally finished, I somehow must not have saved it like I thought I did and when I went back to the lesson it was all lost. Oopsie! I did actually learn some of the Spanish while doing this though, so that was good!

Autogenerated subtitles are not very useful if you want to use them in LINGQ. Sometimes you find subtitles made by the author of the video.
Or the author is so kind as to deliver the text of the video. For Spanish I regularly listen to the videos of Español automatico. They call them podcasts, but there is mostly a video and you can get the written text just by asking them for it. You can download the videos to LINGQ: then you will mostly have autogenerated subtitles. But if you ask for the text of the video, you can replace the autogenerated subtitles by the text, and use it for your study with LINGQ.
This is a list of their “podcasts” up to now:

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Best bang for your buck is going to be books, news, podcasts, articles. Things where the word density is greatest. Movies, tv shows, etc. don’t have this same word density. Having said that, if they peak your interest and keep you motivated then certainly include them…I think your pace will just be slower.

Unfortunately I don’t have any great Spanish recommendations. Ideally, if you can find books/stories that are geared to your level. Graded readers, or books designed for your level that aren’t children’s stories. I’d also look for “easy spanish news”.

Here for example:

It looks like it also has audio you could download and then import into the lesson too (possibly import extension might grab it as well).

Another potential good source for “real authentic unrehearsed” Spanish is the Easy Spanish Youtube channel. Now, the street interviews probably will be pretty hard and maybe not quite useful at your level, but later on they will be good. There are the ones labeled “Super Easy Spanish” which usually explain a grammatical concept.

Unfortunately, the import is going to pull in the auto generated subtitles I think. If it’s like Easy German, the “real” subtitles are burned in. You can sign up to be a patreon and get the real transcripts though if you like.

Olly Richards has some “graded readers” of various levels you might check out:

Maybe some other ideas (no idea how good):

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Thanks Ben! They sure have a lot of videos. I’m learning Latin American Spanish since I live in Mexico, but having this additional content is nice.

Everything is new when you are starting at ground zero. First, build your foundation and learn the most common words in context then move on to other sources of input meant for native speakers. Using bilingual books can be a good source for it.


Thanks for all the info and suggested resources Eric! I appreciate it. I actually love the Easy Spanish YouTube channel. Yes, it can tend to go a bit too fast for me, but in that case I try to watch it by reading the English subtitles first and then slow the video down and watch it with the Spanish subtitles. I actually just watched my first “Super Easy Spanish” one the other day and had to check my video speed because I thought I had it on a slower mode! That’s the one I imported and edited and lost all my editing (I now see what I did wrong). It might be worth becoming a patron because I do appreciate what they do and enjoy their content.

I will definitely focus more on books, news, podcasts and articles. I don’t want to slow my learning by watching shows that won’t help me as much at this stage in the game. I will also check out some of the graded readers. I have purchased one of Olly’s, but see another one I will get that focuses on Mexican Spanish.

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Credit Tim Ferriss, simplicity is as important as efficacy, so I like the Wikipedia method–upload a boatload of articles on stuff you find interesting, or are likely to better about in the target language, depending on your level (i.e. read stuff in content areas you like and know well but individual subjects can be increasingly foreign, depending on your level, and try to get through a lesson a day (long articles get broken up into multiple lessons). As an example, the history of Barcelona is like 25x longer in Catalan than even English


Asad thank you! What a great resource.

Don’t necessarily avoid those things. They can be the reward. They can also be helpful, particularly with “converational” type things. It’s just that in terms of amount of vocabulary, books, articles, etc are going to have more vocabulary so are better for acquiring vocabulary.

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