Dubbed films result in halting English in Spain

7th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

Lack of exposure to movies and TV programmes shown in their original English versions makes it a handicap for Spaniards learning English.

7 April 2008

MADRID - Another handicap for Spaniards learning English has been the fact that television and movies are not shown in their original versions.

In Finland and The Netherlands, for example, where the level of English is high, movies and TV programmes are all shown without dubbing.

France uses a mixed system, where foreign films are released with subtitles, with some being dubbed into French.

Spain offers fewer options. At the beginning of the 1940s, General Francisco Franco passed a law banning films in their original languages. The aim was to protect the Spanish language from foreign influences.

By the mid-1960s, a new law allowed some movies to be subtitled - but dubbing had become so entrenched in Spanish society that it continues to this date, leaving Spaniards with few options to hear other languages.

"It's really hard to turn back the clock, because the public has a very negative attitude [towards measures to subtitle]," says Fernando Mendez-Leite, director of the Madrid School of Cinematography, who considers it a "crime" to go and watch a dubbed film.

[El Pais / Ana Pantaleoni Giralt / Expatica]

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