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Learning Through Telenovelas

Spanish soap operas, known as telenovelas, are occasionally mocked as entertainment with crazy plots and even more absurd acting. They are also a fun way to learn and practice your Spanish. While most telenovelas are meant for native speakers, “¿Qué hora es?” is funny and made for “people who only have three weeks of Spanish, in the fourth grade.”

Though the previous skit and others are intended to be funny, telenovelas can often be a great tool for learning.

Destinos is a Spanish telenovela that is designed for Spanish learners. It has 52 episodes and teaches grammar, vocabulary and culture. Through the course of the episodes, the material gets more advanced. The program was developed in 1992 by a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and ran for two seasons. It is available to watch online for free and is still broadcasted regularly by PBS and many local channels.

While English soap operas can continue indefinitely, telenovelas run for a fixed period of time. The majority of telenovelas run for about six months and can be worth your time as you continue to practice your language skills. Give them a try.