Do you know what happen when you just try to learn Spanish watching films like telenovelas (soup operas)? I tell you a real case that I live every day here, in Sarajevo, with my students.


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This is a real case. I have been living in Sarajevo (Bosnia) for more than 5 years and I’m still surprised how many people know Spanish.

You can find a lot of people who are able to undersand a lot of Spanish… but speak anything. ¿Por qué? Mainly because of Telenovela effect. They watched a lot of telenovelas, from Mexico and Argentina, when they were young. They have been exposure to Spanish from Kids, has escuchado muuucho español pero… they have been not forced to speak maybe because they didn’t find any communicative context in that period of time.

The result is easy to understand: they can understand practically everything when they talk with me but they cannot say more than «Hola» «Yo soy tu madre» or «Estoy embarazada» that are typical expresions that we can find in telenovelas.

The same happen with students who come from Duolingo. Maybe they have completed all their levels; they have learnt a lot of nuevas palabras; they have translated thousands of words to Spanish but, when they contact with me they tell me that they understand a lot but they get stuck when they try to speak in Spanish.

So, my dear beginner, esta es la conclusión: as I said in the previous podcast… use the language in real communicative situations. Keep putting input in your language, keep being exposure to Spanish… but don’t forget (no te olvides) of using the language to communicate.

And, por supuesto, do it from the beginning. And don’t worry: in the next podcast I’m going to tell you two easy ways to do it wherever you are.