When To Start Watching Movies/Series In Your Target Language?

I think it’s really important to do what you feel like doing, what you like, what you enjoy. Audio books are fantastic. Reading is fantastic, seeing the words is really useful. But even if you don’t see the words you can learn a lot! Movies and series bring a lot of cultural aspects too. Plus, when you speak with natives you don’t see the words. You need to train all the skills. Watching TV and movies really helped me with all the languages I know and it’s definitly helping be become fluent in Italian without studying any grammar at all and without taking any lesson. I never asked myself how many words I knew or how many hours I had spent studying a language to start watching movies in Spanish, because I loved Spanish so much I just wanted to hear, read and speak it all day long. For me learning languages is much more than an intelectual process. It’s not just about counting hours, words, lessons. It’s about senses, about feelings, about passion.

The important thing is that you understand the vocabulary and grammar. I am personally intending to focus all my energy on reading and improving my efficiency in that area. I do listen to some of the dialogues here but only once, I just assume that with enough passive listening your brain will pick up on the words that you already know through reading and so, I don’t personally consider them to be separate tasks which some people seem to do. It’s really just accomplishing the same thing which is to understand. You will be translating either way but listening is less effective because you need to constantly replay content while translating and that is why passive listening is my preference but only because I’m also reading lots and intending to increase the amount of reading that I do.

I think that listening is more a task of learning to understand accents and adapting to the speed of their speech. I don’t consider it important to actively study since you’re already doing that with reading.

I wouldn’t worry about listening practice yet but that is my own opinion. I’ve tried translating podcasts and it’s more time consuming and frustrating. It’s just such a huge task, I’d focus on reading and achieving the completion of your first novel first. Your vocabulary and grammar experience will make listening much easier in the future. You will be like a lost puppy to try now despite what some people claim to achieve by simply watching television.

Each to their own everyone is different but for me personally I would need to understand what they are saying to then learning the meaning when I have heard the words within Spanish.

I am also thinking of buying a grammar book when I have been studying Spanish for about 3 months and when I say study I mean just give it a 10-15 minuet read everyday not actually “Studying” I just recently watched Steve’s video on the subject and thought it was very helpful as I don’t think it will be useful untill I have gained enough of the language to notice those little changes in words and how the meaning is being changed

I don’t think listening is just a matter of accents. I know so many students that can totaly understand written language, they have a lot of vocabulary and they know grammar, they understand everything if they can both listen and read at the same time, but they can’t understand authentic conversation. Real speach is really different, you don’t hear the words seperatly, like when reading them. I agree that being able to read what you’re hearing is certainly the best way to start learning and to progress. But I see so many people that focus too much on the writing part, so they think that they’ll be able to speak and to understand everything as well.
What movies and series bring to you is real speach. Even if they are not authentic material, they reproduce authentic conversations. A conference, an interview, a documentary, someone reading a book or article, or speaking about a specific topic, it’s not like authentic informal conversation between natives. You can only get that if you’re surrounded by natives or if you watch movies and series that reproduce realistic speach. And believe me, it’s not so easy to understand. You need a lot of practice and listening to understand everything. No matter how many times you’ve spent on grammar and vocabulary and reading. What I often do with my advanced students, who still struggle sometimes in understanding authentic conversation, is to write down the transcription of the parts they don’t understand and I tell them to listen to them untill they can hear every single word and also to read out loud those parts untill they’re able to pronounce them as fast as natives do.

Yes, it takes a long time but it’s easier to sit there and passively listen for 10 hours a day until your brain starts to make sense of the information you already know. You also have the option of controlling the speed of audio which allows you to listen slowly at first and then at full speed. My point is that catching up to reading ability shouldn’t take as long because you already know the essential information.

I just don’t think that listening is as important at such an early stage.

Oh, I wouldn’t even wait that long! My fluency in Russian started improving tremendously when I started watching movies (my word count here isn’t entirely accurate – I’ve been studying Russian for years but I’ve not been on LingQ that long yet). You start picking up sounds, common words, flow, inflection… Find a series that looks really interesting and watch a little each day.

It is completely up to you. I do not think there is a certain fast and hard rule on this

If your Assimil or beginner content isn’t the type book/material you could go back over or use as reference for such things, the grammar book is a good idea. At 1,000 words, you’ll get mileage out of it, but you probably won’t “need” it until you finish that material or are doing well enough at lingq. I did it the cheap way and keep a book from school, but I would probably look at Dover’s Essentials or one of the other cheap, easier to read, and thin books. Hopefully they have lots of examples.

For me, listening at the “early stage” mostly for correct pronunciation. If you have the correct pronunciation, the voice in your head while reading will be able to know and understand the words better, which will help with understanding, remembering the word, and then later better listening and speaking skills.

Once you can do that, if you have time to really spend with the language, reading is where it’s at. If you don’t, that’s when you listen.

The other time to “specifically” listen is where you have a ton of grammar and vocab, but you need to have your listening skills “catch up.”

That’s what I’m doing now with the telenovelas. I can understanding everything when reading the subtitles, but the speech is fast so listening without them is tougher.

Hey thanks for your reply! I think once I have reached three months of Learning Spanish and should hopefully have about 5k known words I am gonna start watching some series on Netflix in Spanish with Spanish subtitles and see how I get on! prehaps still reading 2 hours a day like I do to build on my vocab and then watching an episode of a series a day!

That sounds good. Warning: foreign language entertainment isn’t the greatest. I think of lot of it is maturity. they are still “new” at it, so it’s pretty high on the lameness meter. However, it’s a learning experience and there are pretty senoritas all over.

I just started El Hotel de Los Secretos. More new words I’ve never seen, but not enough to inhibit understanding in anyway.

@LILingquist “foreign language entertainment isn’t the greatest”? Wow… where do I begin with this statement? I’m guessing you mean “entertainment that’s not in English.”(Even though English is a foreign language to most of the world’s population.) I think I’m also safe to assume that by “entertainment” you exclude the works of people like Kurosawa, Truffaut, Almadovar, Lee, and many others with more serious works.

I’m assuming you probably mean to say that popular entrainment, comedies, TV shows, action movies and the like, are “not the greatest” in foreign countries, and that only America, the birth place of Michael Bay, Honey BooBoo, and the Jersey Shore, is deemed worthy of providing such content at the quality that you approve of.

My guess is you’ve never heard of Pierre Richard, Luis de Funes, Roberto Benini, never seen Bureau des Legends, Man From Nowhere, Generation War, or anything by Jean Pierre Melville. The list of excellent comedies and superb movies from around the world is endless. However, you need not only language skills, but cultural awareness to truly appreciate the nuances of comedy, or the outlook on everyday day life as seen by a different culture to understand what makes well crafted entertainment great in its cultural context.

I hope your language adventures will provide you with this much needed context for you in the future.

I plan on watching Narcos on netflix I started watching it in English and stopped because I wanted to save it for Spanish

And if I do not got on with Spanish content the next piece of material would be Audio books

Where could I find all this content?

I would say around B1 level. At that point you’ll understand a good few words, and it’s a very good moment to start focusing more on listening and speaking skills, aim towards a more conversational level.

I now have over 10.000 words and just started watching a random tv series and I am almost completely lost, when will it end!

Based on my experience, the equivalent of an Advanced 2 level here on LingQ is about the minimum requirement for being able to watch TV and movies unassisted. That’s about 30K words and above, depending on the language, and that assumes a lot of listening practice.

I’ve just recently started turning off subtitles for my shows – I may have been able to get away with it sooner, but I have a lower tolerance for missing details of TV shows as opposed to books :slight_smile:

I guess I need to keep grinding away at Spanish.