Shows in Spanish (Mexico) for improving listening comprehension?

Ask specific questions about your target languages. Beginner questions welcome!
User avatar
drp9341
Orange Belt
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:21 pm
Location: NY, USA
Languages: Native: English (US)
C1: Spanish & Italian
B2+: Brazilian Portuguese
B2: French & Polish
Beginner: German, Russian
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=5978
x 558

Re: Shows in Spanish (Mexico) for improving listening comprehension?

Postby drp9341 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:18 pm

The accents within Mexico differ in interesting ways, and some of them (i.e. heavy norteño) can be pretty challenging at first.
There's two types of Mexican TV shows - shows for Mexicans and shows made for Spanish speakers in general.
(Most shows produced by Telemundo fall into the 'all Spanish speakers' category.)


If you can't understand Mexican Spanish because of the accent itself, (not the grammar and slang confusing you,) then check out the Phonetics section on Wikipedia's Mexican Spanish page. Watching Telemundo shows might be good for you, simply because it's "tidied up" Mexican Spanish, and will get you used to the rhythm and the phonological differences.

One very Mexican feature is the way stress consonants. Lots of South American and Caribbean accents sounds like "all vowels" to me. This is because Mexican Spanish weakens a lot of vowels, (vowels in a position like the 'o' in "muchachos" sometimes gets pronounced like the "u" in the English word "up") and they emphasize the consonants a lot more. There's also the rhythm, which is quite sing-song like, but that shouldn't take that long to get used to.

Netflix is great for Mexican Spanish.
I had watched lots of Mexican telenovelas. However it wasn't until I started watching 'Club de Cuervos' when it first came out that I realized I didn't understand Mexican Spanish that well. I used the website https://www.asihablamos.com/ for lots of words. I thought I understood those words, but I didn't actually. Wisely using the English subtitles helped a lot. I would turn them on whenever I wasn't sure if I understood. The words used are pretty useful - words that have to do with drinking, technology or sports instead of drug trafficking. The slang is also more or less commonly used slang that you'll hear when Mexicans in their 20's talk with each other.

I would recommend starting with Club de Cuervos and studying the different expressions. Rewind and try to shadow the characters if you still have trouble with the accent itself.

NOTE: Not all the characters are Mexican, almost all are Mexican though.
NOTE 2: The language varies between characters, but it's mostly upper class slang without an overly "fresa" (Mexican word for posh,) intonation. A lot of the 'poorer / not-über-rich' characters speak very similarly to the way lots of Mexicans you'll speak to in real life speak.
Comedy (whether standup, or something like Club de Cuervos) is a great way to check if you understand the "slang" well. If you don't understand the meanings that well, you wont find it funny.

After that, check out 'Diablero'

This is probably harder to understand, but after 4 seasons of Club de Cuervos you should be ready.


At this point, you should check out...
'Yankee'

This show has a very high production quality and will introduce you to lots of Mexican Slang you will not have heard much from the other shows. They all speak with a 'Norteño' accent in this show. Some features are the 'ch' sound sometimes becoming a 'sh' sound and words combing like French or English - "tengo que" sometimes becomes something like "teng'que" for example. This show will introduce you to words your more likely to hear from Mexican immigrants in the US - at least in my experience.


Another show to watch to see how the high class Mexicans in Mexico city speak is "Made in Mexico"

This will overlap A LOT with the kind of Mexican Spanish you hear in Club de Cuervos in terms of vocabulary and the 'spanglish' used. Also, since it's "not scripted" the way they speak will be more realistic. Most people don't have the ability to fluently and eloquently speak fluently, while cleverly choosing there words in everyday life like the characters on a TV show. In other words... we don't memorize, rehearse and then actually say entire monologues that were written by professional writers.


There's one documentary about Lucha Libre on Netflix that I liked a lot for it's Spanish. It's a funny little documentary, and the characters speak a very unpolished Mexican Spanish.


A great podcast is "El Podcast de Alex Fernandez."


Mexican Spanish is really rich in slang. I think it's important to be able to separate Mexican and 'Standard' Spanish so that you don't confuse Spaniards or Latin Americans. No one in Argentina had any idea what 'una chela' or 'una chamba' meant.

Mexican Spanish is really funny to me, I like how it's so creative, and how to use certain words in ways I wouldn't ever predict. Even though it's not my favorite accent in terms of how it sounds, vocabulary and creativity wise it's awesome.
4 x


Return to “Practical Questions and Advice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 2 guests