Libros Románticos—un sitio bilingüe para aficionadas de novelas románticas / A bilingual site for fans of romance novels
Quiero introducir las telenovelas para una persona cuyo idioma materno sea el Inglés. La mayor parte de esta página es en Inglés.
Here are some popular telenovela DVDs available on Amazon.com. All these DVDs have English subtitles. Telenovela DVDs are actually marketed for English-speakers in the USA and Canada (though of course native Spanish speakers enjoy them too). Most telenovela DVDs include English subtitles, but check to make sure before buying.
THE APPEAL OF TELENOVELAS, AND HOW THEY'LL HELP YOU LEARN SPANISH:
They don't go on forever: Telenovelas are like English-language soap operas, but with some wonderful differences. First, they have a conclusion. Most telenovelas are 100-170 or so episodes long. They may last half a year or longer, but they are created with a conclusion in mind. With English-language (like American) soaps, storylines "blend" into each other, and you never know when something is quite done. If you have an obsessive personality (like me!) and can't let go of a "story," then you can find yourself hooked on an English-language soap for YEARS. Not so with telenovelas. They will mercifully come to an end.
Variety of storylines: Telenovelas can get more creative and downright odd in their storylines. (Yes, even odder than American soap operas!) Many telenovelas are period dramas (historical settings). Others are set in the west (everyone wearing cowboy hats and riding horses). The storylines can be ridiculously over the top, but that is part of the appeal!
Guapo (handsome) actors, and beautiful actresses: Okay, so maybe it's the actors who really have sold me on the telenovelas, but the actresses are fabulous too.
They're cheap: Well, let's say, "affordable." Seriously, where will you find 10-15 hours of great entertainment on a DVD for under $20? In some causes, under $15? Such a deal!
Telenovelas help you learn Spanish: Let's be honest, you won't learn much Spanish if you only read the English subtitles. But there are many techniques you can try—like watching an episode without subtitles and see how much you understood (then re-watch again with subtitles to confirm that you got what was going on).
Telenovelas currently on TV: Most satellite and cable television services carry a few Spanish-language channels, like Univision. These networks often air many telenovelas. Start watching one of them (you can turn on the closed-captioning, which will be in Spanish) to help you understand spoken Spanish. Record each episode, so you can pause a scene to look up a word. It's fun and it really can help. But remember, the goal should be to eventually learn how to recognize Spanish by ear, not just become good at reading subtitles!
From the DVD Amor Real with telenovela superstar, Fernando Colunga:
The subtitles are included in this clip so English speakers can follow along. Amor Real is a period drama and a very popular telenovela. The DVD has over 7 hours of the show. (Almost all telenovelas on DVD are edited heavily because it would be too expensive to sell a DVD set with over 100 hours of video!)
Alborada is another blockbuster period drama telenovela. This one also stars megastar Fernando Calugo, as well as one of my personal favorites, Valentino Lanús. (Lanús is the guy with the five o'clock shadow-goatee-thing in the first clip.) Here are a few random clips from the show. The storyline of this soap is worthy of the most melodramatic romantic novel!
TELENOVELAS ON TV
What's also great is to follow a Spanish-language soap as it airs on TV. These shows can last for months, which means you have an hour (or more) exposure to Spanish five days a week for all that time. And when one telenovela ends, another starts . . .
Watch a selection of clips from a soap airing on one of these Latino TV channels. (Link opens to new window. Quicktime required to view this streaming video.) This telenovela stars my aforementioned favorite, Valentino Lanús. (See, that's the thing about these telenovelas! Many of us discover we have favorite actors and actresses, and we follow their work and because of this, we keep practicing our Spanish! So you see, it's actually a good thing to have a mad crush on Valentino Lanús! Well, I'll keep telling myself that, anyway. . .)