Watching Movies

What’s the best way, so that language acquisition is maximized?

  1. Dialogue in target language, with subtitles in known language.
  2. Dialogue in target language with subtitles in target language.
  3. Dialogue in known language with subtitles in target language.

And you guys who use this method frequently, do you pause frequently to look up words?

Do you have any Spanish language movies, or youtube links you could recommend? Thanks.


For me:

Option 1 is no good, because you rely on the translations which may or may not be very accurate, and you don’t have the actual words being spoken to look up if you don’t know them.

Option 2 is by far the best. This way you are totally in the target language, reading what you are listening to. You can easily pause and look up a word or phrase of interest, depending on your level. You may just want to enjoy the movie nonstop, or you may want to pause frequently and fish out some really good words or phrases. I’ve learned a lot this way!

Option 3 I’ve done before. It’s interesting to see how they would translate phrases from my native language into the target language. This sort of helps with learning to express certain ideas, as if I had this thought I wanted to convey in my target language. This shows me how in an instance. I haven’t done this much though, because the same problem as in Option 1 still applies. You are relying on translations, whereas in Option 2, and only in Option 2, do you have the full language, spoken and written, in context and all…

So by far, Option 2 for me.

Not studying Spanish though, sorry!

Also, I must say, I’ve never used Option 1 no matter what my level. Even as a real beginner, I’d still much rather have the written language there to work through myself, than a perhaps loose translation and unknown syllables flying by. There’s no way to work with that…

I have never seen a movie on YouTube that had Spanish subtitles as well as Spanish dialogue. However, I don’t watch a lot of movies on YouTube, so they may exist.

You can search YouTube with this phrase, peliculas completas en español.

I’ll give you one suggestion, though. I have seen on YouTube, in toto, “Crónica de una muerte anunciada,” a Columbian movie that is a decent adaptation of the novella of the same name by Gabriel García Márquez (but, again, no subtitles). On the ephemeral YouTube I see this movie is now offered in parts:

Generally speaking, as I am sure you already know, if you find one Spanish language movie on YouTube, plenty more suggestions will show up in the right-hand panel.

Hope this helps a little bit, anyway.


These films are good:

You may also find this book useful:

I’ve noticed not many other countries create subtitles that are exact with respect to the spoken dialogue.
Subtitles for Spanish movies for example, tend to be paraphrased. Whether for hearing-disabled people or not.
Whereas for English movies I know the subtitles almost always match exactly. This is true for my TV’s subtitles as well.

#1, no. If you like the story, eventually you’ll be all about the English subtitles and not pay attention to the spoken Spanish.
#2, yes. if you can find it. I have never found a single movie where the subtitles in Spanish had matched the spoken Spanish.
#3, I do this a few times, mainly because I watch a lot of TV shows online, and from Spanish sites. So they’ll have New episodes of American TV shows that I like with Spanish subtitles, it’s interesting especially since they are mostly fan made.

If I had the choice, it would be number 2, but I find it very very difficult to find Polish films that even have subtitles in Polish. Spanish I have found many, but the subtitles often vaguely match what is being said.

Number 3 I often do, because my girlfriend watches English films with Polish subtitles. I can say that this doesn’t really help me, because when I’m watching a movie in English and enjoying it, I stop caring what is written at the bottom


 I am unable to view the films you list. They may not be available to USA viewers, though I was able to watch the trailers for the second two.
 I like the approach of the book. I do plan to find one of the Spanish-language DVDs and give it a try.
 Thanks for your tips.

I think I want to try option 2, but Norwegian films are difficult to find in my country. Help me, anyone?


Maybe this will help. Go to and try searching on

norske filmer
beste norske filmer
norske kino


oh, thanks much. I hope the movies have subtitles.