1 book, 1 film, 1 podcast: Spanish
There are many different reasons to start learning a new language. It may be for your career, to discover a new culture, meet new people or perhaps you are studying it in school. Whatever your reason, you need to be motivated inside and outside of the classroom to succeed. But don’t think of this as a negative! There are many books, films, TV shows, and more that you can incorporate into your daily life, to enjoy and learn the language at the same time.
Spanish, in particular, is one of the best languages you could learn. Why is that, you ask? Well, first of all, it is the native language of 20 countries, not only in Spain and most of Latin America. Spanish is also the official language of the Western Sahara, Equatorial Guinea, and is an important language in the USA. This makes it one of the world’s most spoken languages. It’s also great for travel. Ever thought about hiking Machu Picchu, skiing in the Pyrenees or visiting an exciting city like Havana? Why would you not? Knowing the language of that country makes your experience there much more enriching and meaningful. You can make friends and get to know people from all over the globe. The Spanish speaking world is rich in culture too from the art of Picasso to the writing of Gabriel Garcia Márquez (more on him later). Best of all, learning Spanish is a gateway to other romance languages. Once you learn it, start Portuguese, Italian, French etc. and be inspired.
So, yes, it might take some time to get to genuine fluency, and you must be committed to make it happen, but with the reasons above, why wouldn’t you? You can start adding Spanish into your daily lifestyle with our recommendations for a podcast, a film, and a book (below). As they say in Spain, échale ganas, which means “give it your best shot!”
Book: Cien Años de Soledad, 1967, by Gabriel García Márquez
For anyone learning Spanish or interested in South American culture, Cien Años de Soledad (one hundred years of solitude) is a must. Gabriel García Márquez has become the most prominent figure in Colombian literary culture, winning the 1982 Nobel Prize for literature. Cien Años de Soledad is Márquez's most prominent book, which follows a Colombian family, the Buendia's, over seven generations. This novel, best for its magic realism, thoroughly reflects Colombian history as well as the authors, and explores thought provoking characters and surreal narratives. A little tip though, would be to run through the Buendia's family tree, as many of the characters have similar to identical names, which can get a tad confusing at times!
Cien Años de Soledad is a popular book and has of course been translated into English, but it's worth reading in Spanish to help improve your skills. Some people prefer to read in English first and then read it again in Spanish, others prefer to delve straight into Spanish reading, do what works well for your learning. You should also look up if some of your favourite books have Spanish versions, and experience their magic all over again in Spanish!
Film: Roma, 2018
Watching Spanish movies and TV shows is a great way to aid your Spanish studies. You’ll be constantly improving your listening skills, which are particularly hard to improve, and using Spanish subtitles can help you pick up vocabulary more easily. Exercising your brain in this way can really make the difference between intermediate and proficient Spanish. Roma is the perfect film to start with to practise Spanish, as a lot of the film’s main focus is on its inspiring imagery, so you don’t need to be concentrating on the words as much as you would with other Spanish films. The black-and-white film observes the life of a wealthy family’s housekeeper, Cleo, in early 70s Mexico City, and focuses on how her life radically changes when she becomes pregnant. Lots of people like to explore the different messages of this film and can come to different conclusions. Some consider the film to be about language, others think it's more about our memories, and some believe it's more about the sociopolitical disruption in Mexico at the time. What message do you think the film makes?
Podcast: News In Slow Spanish
If you are thinking our film and book recommendations are too advanced for you, don’t worry, this podcast will be just right. It’s not unheard of that native Spanish speakers can speak at quite an incomprehensible speed for Spanish learners. This podcast understands this, and just like it says in the title, it features News from around the world being read in Spanish at a manageable speed with more simplified grammar. This podcast is a great way to learn vocabulary naturally and develop your listening skills, and the hosts even explain specific points about grammar or pronunciation as they come up. Another fantastic feature is that you can choose which variation of Spanish you would like to learn, Spanish from Spain or Latin America, perfect for if you have a travel location in mind. This podcast will help you reinforce the Spanish you have learnt and give you confidence to carry on with your studies! ¡Buena suerte!
Want to listen to News in Slow Spanish, read Cien Años de Soledad or watch Roma without any struggle?
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