Learning to Love by Learning to Love the Language
How TV shows that can help you to love a language and a culture
About a year ago, I felt the the sudden urge to learn Spanish. Random I know, especially because I had no plans to travel to a Spanish-speaking country, but the desire to immerse myself in a new language consumed me. So, I dove into wrapping my brain around the next new thing (to me) Spanish. Learning a language for its own sake, without any practical goal of using it, became an experiment I wholeheartedly enjoyed. I had no idea that this journey would be an adventure of love and expanding horizons, propelling me beyond my old assumptions into uncharted territories of understanding. Learning solely for the sake of love has transformed the experience into something spiritual—a pilgrimage that bridges disconnection into profound understanding and turns strangers into kindred souls simply because I decided to learn not only the language but the culture by watching Spanish TV. With each show I watched, I stepped into a whole new world, eager to explore what lay beyond the words and to dive deeper into the vastness of language and culture, and in the end I learned to love a whole new people group on a whole new level. So, just for fun, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Spanish shows for learning to love in a new language and enjoying yourself while you do:
1. Velvet: Set in a glamorous 1950s fashion store in Madrid, this romantic drama offers a perfect blend of love, ambition, and captivating storylines. I find that because the show is set in the 50s the language is easier to understand than more modern day shows. Catch "Velvet" on Netflix.
2. High Seas (Alta Mar): Another period piece takes place aboard a luxurious transatlantic ship in the 1940s. It’s a murder mystery with an elegant setting and intriguing plot. Because of the period drama style, it’s is a fantastic way to enhance your Spanish language skills. Find "High Seas" on Netflix.
3. Grand Hotel (Gran Hotel): Transport yourself to the early 20th century Spain and explore the mysteries lurking within the prestigious Grand Hotel. This addictive period drama keeps you on your toes with its intricate plot lines, engaging characters, and melodramatic twists ala Downton Abbey. Stream "Grand Hotel" on Hulu.
Now, you might be wondering—are TV shows really good for language learning? For sure, and here's why:
1. Immersion: Watching TV shows in your target language provides an immersive experience that exposes you to native accents, colloquial expressions, and cultural nuances. It helps you develop a better ear for the language and improves your overall comprehension skills.
2. Contextual Learning: TV shows offer a rich tapestry of storytelling, allowing you to learn language in context. You witness characters engaging in everyday conversations, which helps you grasp the language's practical usage and cultural references.
3. Vocabulary Expansion: Through TV shows, you encounter a wide range of vocabulary, idioms, and slang. It helps you build a diverse linguistic arsenal while understanding the subtle nuances that textbooks often miss.
4. Cultural Understanding: Language and culture go hand in hand. By immersing yourself in TV shows, you not only learn to love the language but also may fall in love with the customs, traditions, and social dynamics of the culture.
Learning to love by learning to love the language.
On top of all the brain work you will have going on, immersing yourself into another culture, even if only from a distance like this, is a step in the direction of love. Think of it as learning to love by learning to love the language. It can sometimes be hard to love people who are different from us. We may feel like their way of life is weird or just wrong because it isn’t our way of life, but as you fall in love with the language and the characters of these shows, you will gain more empathy, compassion and openness towards those who may seem different from yourself.
You may never imagine needing another language, but sometimes learning just for the learning offers a lot more than you would think. If you are up for the adventure, I hope you will find your way to one of these shows, and if you do, I’d love to hear about it. I loved all of them and love talking about them with fellow lovers! So enjoy, and vaya con dios my darling!