6 Most Popular Telenovelas to Help You Learn Spanish On Your Own

6 Most Popular Telenovelas to Help You Learn Spanish On Your Own

Learning languages with entertaining TV shows or movies on Netflix is one of the modern possibilities everyone should use. When it comes to learning Spanish, there is one particular benefit that only Spanish students have. 

It’s called Telenovelas.

For some of you, it can be quite strange to learn Spanish with telenovelas, but it’s actually quite effective.

Telenovelas are Latin American shows. They are Spanish soap operas with a definitive melodramatic story involving high drama, betrayal, unexpected pregnancies, siblings separated at birth, people seeking revenge, etc.

Whether you love to be involved in such drama or you would rather avoid them, they are still one of the most efficient learning tools to help you with your Spanish. So, keep on reading because we will show you the benefits of learning Spanish with telenovelas and suggest the six most famous telenovelas.

The Biggest Benefits of Learning Spanish With Telenovelas

No matter if you plan to live in one of the Spanish-speaking countries, go on holidays, move because of work, or practice the language with Spanish tutors, you will inevitably face telenovela fans, so you should be prepared for chatting with native speakers about their most popular soap opera.

Besides preparing for the chat, you should know that learning Spanish with telenovelas has many benefits. Some of them are:

  • Appropriate for any level of proficiency. Besides for beginners, who can master some basic and common Spanish words, telenovelas are ideal for any Spanish student. No matter your proficiency level, you can watch telenovelas. Turn on English subtitles until you master the language. Then, you can change and turn on Spanish subtitles to practice writing and spelling. Eventually, you can turn off the subtitles and rely on your listening skills.
  • Beginners can easily learn common phrases. Beginners don’t necessarily have to understand everything that’s going on in telenovelas completely. After all, that’s what subtitles are for. But, telenovelas can help them learn and master some common Spanish phrases because they are repeated at least a thousand times. Thanks to telenovelas, many of us learned terms, such as ‘Yo soy tu madre,’ ‘Discúlpa me,’ ‘Perdóna me’ or ‘¡Hasta luego!’ 
  • Learn new words and expressions. The telenovelas plot is always so twisted with so many crazy situations that you’ll learn many new words and phrases used on different occasions.
  • Practice your conversational skills. Among native speakers, you’ll always find someone who adores telenovelas and wants to discuss them. It is an ideal opportunity to practice your conversational skills and use new knowledge from telenovelas.
  • Choose which telenovela to watch. With so many telenovelas available, such as historical drama, romance, teenage stories, or fiction and sci-fi, you can choose the one you think would be interesting to you. 

The 6 Binge-Worthy Telenovelas to Learn Spanish

Maria la del Barrio (Maria of the Neighborhood)

This is a story about a street sweeper girl who is welcomed into a wealthy family and falls in love with the young man, the son of the house owner. You can expect many dramatic situations, fake death, and evil characters who don’t want these two young people to fall in love and live happily ever after.

But, as almost every TV shows ending, this one is happy too, so they stay together and live in a fairytale, while bad people are punished, and other good characters rewarded. Thanks to the magnificent acting of the famous actress and singer Thalia, as the protagonist, Maria, and Fernando Colunga as Luis Fernando, Maria’s love interest, it became one of the best telenovelas broadcasted around 180 countries worldwide.

Besides learning the language and Mexican phrases, you’ll know how Latin Americans show their emotions with full passion and commitment. The telenovela is also one of the Spanish telenovelas on Netflix available.

Corazón salvaje (Wild Heart)

This telenovela is one of the most memorable ones winning the prize for The Best Telenovela in 1994.

Like in every telenovela, there are noble but poor people and the bad ones. A young man Juan De Diavlo grew up almost alone, poor, and without anyone taking care of him. His mother, who passed away when he was three years old, had a love affair with a wealthy landlord Francisco and as the result of that love, Juan was born.

When Juan grew up, Fernando took him to be a playmate to his other son Andres. Fernando’s wife discovers the secret about Juan being Francisco’s son and gives her best to take him away from the mansion. But, Fernando didn’t have time to discover the secret about Juan because of his death. His wife, Sofia, couldn’t wait to send Juan away.

We will now stop talking about the show plot here because we want you to discover yourself what happens next. The story takes place in the 1900s, so, besides practicing the language, you can learn more about clothes and costumes at that era.

Yo Soy Betty, La Fea.  (Ugly Betty)

You’ve probably familiar with the American version of ‘Ugly Betty. Well, it was made according to the Colombian telenovela ‘Yo soy Betty, la fea.’

Betty’s journey from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan is popular worldwide. The Colombian Betty, however, is surrounded by many more scandals as well as unpredictable events that take place in the company where Betty works. But, don’t think that it is something serious, no. With a lot of humor and goofy situations, you’ll love watching Betty and follow her corporate climbing and relationships.

Colombian Spanish is very similar to other Spanish versions, so you will be prepared for other Spanish dialects by watching this telenovela. And one more benefit is that you’ll learn a typical Colombian Spanish accent, so it’s a win-win situation.

Kassandra (Kassandra)

With Corraima Torres and Osvaldo Rios as the protagonists, this Venezuelan telenovela became one of the most famous ones from 1992 to 1994.

Kassandra is a gypsy girl whose faith you can follow in 150 episodes of this telenovela. Well, actually, she isn’t a real gypsy girl but the granddaughter of a wealthy man in Caracas who is replaced by another gypsy baby at birth when her circus was in town.

However, she doesn’t know that yet, and after 20 years, the circus shows up in the town again. Then the drama begins. Kassandra falls in love with a young man, gets married, and he gets killed on her wedding night. He also has a twin brother, who shows up after all that drama to find out who killed his brother. Of course, Kassandra is accused of murdering her husband and ends up in jail. But just for a while because she manages to prove that she isn’t guilty. 

And this is only one part of what is happening in the telenovela. If you watch it, you’ll see many more dramatic events, twisting plots, but also bad people being punished at the end.

Watching this telenovela will help you get to know the Venezuelan accent better and learn some typical Venezuelan phrases.

Rebelde Way (Rebel’s Way)

How do Latin American teenagers have fun? How do they behave at school?  If you want to enter the world of Argentinian teenagers, don’t miss out on this telenovela.

It is one of the most popular Spanish TV shows about teenagers from rich families living in a wealthy neighborhood and going to a private boarding school.

The four protagonists love music, so they decide to form a band called Erreway. The band actually exists in real life, and its members are the actors from the show. They released several albums and gained popularity in whole Latin America and Europe.

You’ll surely enjoy this telenovela, learn some slang words, practice that sweet Argentinian accent, and repeat some common Spanish idioms.

La Reina Del Sur

Even though there are only two seasons, many consider this telenovela quite a refreshment from others. 

It is based on a true story, and it is about a girl whose boyfriend gets killed. She has to run away, so she escapes from Mexico to southern Spain. There, she starts working in a bar and meets Santiago, who gets involved in drug trafficking. Eventually, she becomes popular as one of the drug lords whose life is never dull.

If you don’t know which dialect to practice, Mexican or Spanish, this telenovela will solve all your problems. From Mexican Spanish to Castellano, you’ll practice not only accents but also Mexican and Spanish phrases too.

If you're interested in trying other ways to improve your Spanish skills, you should try some of these cool options:

Check out Babbel for fun, interactive lessons that fit into your day easily.

If you want something more in-depth, there's a great Spanish course on Coursera that covers everything from the basics to more advanced topics.

And if you prefer learning with a personal touch, Lingoda offers classes with native speakers that can really help you practice speaking.

Final Thoughts

Once you watch a telenovela until the end, you’ll be hooked. You’ll spend hours binge-watching all of them. Yes, some of them can be funny, others have too many complicated relationships, but learning language this way is not only effective but entertaining, too.

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