Do you love to sit on the couch and zone out staring at the television? Or sneak a glance at Twitter in your spare moments? If so, read on to discover how these guilty pleasures are actually the easiest way to learn Spanish. The time that you used to think was wasted can now double as Spanish language practice!
Break Out the Popcorn and Watch a Movie
If you binge on Netflix regularly and feel tons of guilt, try watching Spanish language films. Not only are they just as entertaining as other films, you will be greatly improving your Spanish by listening to the Spanish spoken in the film and simultaneously reading the subtitles in English. Some suggestions for films to try include Diarios de Motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries), Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate), La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon), and Maria, Llena Eres de Gracia (Maria Full of Grace). If you have Amazon Prime, you might not have realized that it also comes with a great library of films that you can watch for free; try browsing the foreign section to find some thrilling Spanish films.
How to Find Spanish Shows on Netflix
For Spanish shows and movies on Netflix in particular, here’s a great list. There are also a lot of sites that publish lists of new content added to Netflix each month, including The Next Web and CNET.
If social media is more your thing, try using it as an opportunity to practice your Spanish skills! Since immersion is the easiest way to learn Spanish, cure your boredom, chat with friends, and catch up on the hottest news of the day — all in Spanish.
On Twitter, you can follow all sorts of influential Spanish speakers to get news and other tidbits in Spanish. On Facebook, you can join groups about Spanish topics or countries, follow famous Spanish-speaking musicians like Shakira, The Gipsy Kings, Enrique Iglesias, Juanes, and Jennifer Lopez, and connect with Spanish speakers as friends. When your newsfeed is full of Spanish, you’ll start to think more naturally and comfortably in Spanish, in addition to expanding your vocabulary.
(For even more social media ideas, check out this post by Will over at My Spanish Adventure!)
Turn on the Radio
Do you also love to sing along to the greats – or the opposite – in pop? Bad pop music is actually great for your Spanish! The cheesy lyrics are often sung clearly, and the songs that lament lost love, summer romances, and other topics use a simple vocabulary. By listening and even singing along as you get to know the songs, you will refine your accent and imprint the rhythm and syntax of Spanish more deeply in your consciousness.
Try a Telenovela
The last (and my favorite) way to use your guilty pleasures to learn Spanish is by watching Spanish-language soap operas! The overdone acting and extreme drama will entertain you greatly, and also help your Spanish. You can use the clear facial expressions and tone of speech to gain comprehension; another option is to turn on the closed captioning, so you can view the written Spanish as you listen. With the occasional use of slang, you can also increase your knowledge of casual speech in Spanish. The best part is, once you watch one episode, you’ll be hooked, which means your Spanish language time is now guaranteed on a weekly basis!
So put your guilty pleasures to good use and try out the easiest way to learn Spanish! Opportunities abound to have fun and learn Spanish at the same time, so don’t wait to start your Netflix subscription, log into Facebook more often, or sing along to your new favorite Spanish music.
Want even more ideas? We love this post from Spanish Obsessed blog, with a whopping 37 ideas for activities to practice your Spanish!
Joan B. lives in Carmichael, CA and has been teaching high school Spanish for more than 18 years. A lover of language, she’s studied French, Arabic, and Italian and spent time living in Spain. Joan aims to help students improve on tests and increase their conversational ability when traveling to Spanish-speaking countries. Learn more about Joan here!