Learning Spanish

Two interesting shows for practicing Spanish comprehension

In recent weeks, I’ve been watching a lot of Spanish language TV, and I’ve found the process to be very helpful in my efforts to improve my Spanish comprehension. On History Channel International, they run a show called “El Canal de Historia” at 7 AM Eastern Monday-Friday. The shows are documentaries dubbed into Spanish. For example, this week I watched a biography of Cristobal Colón (Cristopher Columbus), and an episode of America’s Castles.

The shows feature a mix of Spanish only commentary with closed captions, and English language segments that feature Spanish subtitles. Both types of content are helpful to reading and listening comprehension. I’m also pausing the shows when I sense that an unknown word is common or particularly useful. At that point, I look up the word in my Spanish-English dictionary, and if I think the word is a useful addition to my vocabulary I make a quick flashcard for it and resume watching the show.

For flashcards, I’m using a tip I learned from the Learning Spanish podcasts I mentioned here recently. I went to Kinko’s and had them cut business card stock into blank business cards. They’re the perfect size and paper weight for homemade flashcards. I keep a stack of the resulting flashcards handy to use whenever I have a few minutes to spare.

The second show I want to mention comes from the Spanish language network Galavision. Check your schedule for “Fuera de Serie”, a half-hour show focusing on various travel destinations. Unfortunately, the show does not offer closed captioning, so it’s quite a challenge for me to understand much of what is being said. Still, the shows feature interesting destinations and it’s enjoyable to try to keep up. The title of the show, Fuera de Serie, translates roughly to “Out of the Ordinary”, though I’ve seen it translated elsewhere “Out of this World” or “Something Outrageous”.

13 replies on “Two interesting shows for practicing Spanish comprehension”

I used to watch a Spanish language program that my nephew actually watched in high school spanish class where a woman was looking for someone in various Spanish-speaking countries. It had either English or Spanish subtitles. Do you know the name of the program? It was quite helpful and entertaining at the same time.
I was thinking it might be called Destinos. I see on my cable program that Destinos is a special program that I’d have to sign up for the entire Spanish language network so hopefully it’s not the same! Thanks for your help!

Yes, that’s the show: “Destinos: An Introduction to Spanish”. It has 52 half-hour episodes. I first caught them on weekly broadcasts by my local PBS station a couple of years ago. At the moment they are airing on cable and satellite network HITN early AM Sundays. I suspect you will have to sign up for an entire slate of Spanish language programming with your cable company to get that channel.

Also, HITN’s airings of the show are nearing the end of the series. I think there are only about 3 weeks left before they reach the end. I assume they’ll probably start them over, but I won’t know for sure until then.

It’s a great resource for improving your Spanish though, so keep an eye out for it on other networks.

If I see that the show is going to begin anew on HITN, I’ll be posting that information here as well.

Hi! I’m a Spanish teacher, and used Destinos when I was a student. You can access episodes free online, if you’re interested. Also, if you like Destinos you can check out “Sol y viento”, which is Bill Van Patten’s new text and program. He is the author of Destinos.

Check out the link below to see Destinos online:

Thanks Katrina. Your post is quite timely for me, since it appears that HITN pulled the plug on their Destinos broadcasts just a few shows from the finale. Through three different broadcasts of this series on various networks, I’ve still never seen how the story ends up!

I’ll head over to the link you provided to finally see the last few shows. Thanks again, -Ken-

Sweet tea in Spanish? I’m actually not certain. I would try
Té helado con azúcar. Literally Iced Tea with Sugar.

Anyone else who can answer with more certainty?

You know, your post about learning Spanish from tv is a great idea. I learned a lot of my Spanish from tv too. It’s interesting because a lot of the comments I get from my native Spanish speaking friends is, “You don’t speak Spanish like a gringo.”

I really think it’s because I learned from dialogues from movies and TV shows rather than textbook Spanish.

I still watch Spanish TV shows to this day.

My first visit here, found the blog accidentally really, and I just wanted to say I’ve enjoyed my visit and had some good reads while here 🙂

We were performing in Puerto Rico one time. I’d had surgery and couldn’t perform the dance routines. The crowd was calling out, ‘La colora!’ He couldn’t figure out what that meant, though he spoke fluent Spanish. Finally, someone said, ‘The redhead!’ They wanted me to dance. He tried to explain why I couldn’t, saying I’d had surgery. ‘Want to know where she had it?’ he asked the crowd. ‘In Las Vegas!’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *