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Tuesday, April 17, 2012 (read 593 times)
Modern Ways to Learn Spanishby Hannah Ryan
In-country language learning is generally the best way to become proficient and understand more of the culture (and enjoy a holiday too!). Much as an extended language-holiday is appealing, there are always small ways you can master/maintain your language levels until it’s time to pack the suitcases again. Especially in this modern day and age, there are numerous opportunities outside of the grammar books to improve your Spanish!
Firstly, and simply, watching foreign films are a brilliant and entertaining way of getting a quick language lesson. While beginners may find Spanish films difficult to understand, you’d be surprised how much context and storyline can be picked up. Or why not put Spanish subtitles onto your favourite film; you'll know the story well enough to concentrate on the new vocabulary you can learn.
It’s also good practice for your next conversation with a Spanish speaker; the Spanish you learn in a classroom is not necessarily the same Spanish you’d encounter in the Plaza Mayor. Native speakers talk rapidly, use slang, and Spanish has a huge range of different accents. However, watching films not only introduces you to these more colourful aspects of language, but you’ll get a chance to attune your ear to the native sounds in order to mimic them better. And with a DVD, you can watch it repeatedly until it all makes sense!
Another important factor when watching Spanish movies is the cultural insights they give you, into another country and way of life. Granted, Pan’s Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno) may not have the most realistic of storylines, but there are cultural underlying themes that let you know about Spanish history, and if anything else discussing films is a great conversation starter for your next trip to a tapas bar!
Spanish-language cinema has a huge range of films for you to enjoy, including but by no means limited to;
- Y Tu Mamá También (And Your Mother Too) which received nominations for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards and Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes.
- El Mar Adentro (The Sea Inside) shows Javier Bardem at his best.
- Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother) a very influential film from acclaimed director Almodóvar, this won Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.
- Abre los Ojos (Open your eyes) a young Penelope Cruz stars in this thriller.
- Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate), Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Film, this movie is about the Castro regime’s treatment of homosexuals in Cuba.
- Amores Perros was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and is the first of Mexican director Alejandro Iñárritu’s ‘trilogy of death’, succeeded by the equally excellent ’21 Grams’ and ‘Babel’.
Another fantastic modern technology to help your Spanish is the podcasts. One of the biggest impediments of learning a language is the time commitment it requires to maintain your proficiency. However, for all those unproductive minutes in the day, sitting on the bus on the way to work or chopping carrots for dinner, a podcast is a brilliant way to insert un poquito de español into your day.
Podcasts are widely available for download on the internet, and there is a huge range to suit any level of Spanish; there are podcasts for listen-and-repeat simple sentences, or more advanced dialogues, such as news updates, for you to listen along to. Many have an accompanying transcript to ensure you pick up all of the vocabulary, and given the vast choice available, it’s a great way to learn about a part of Latin American culture or a city in Spain that you’d never heard of before.
So with so many ways to practice, there’s no excuse not to!
Keywords: learn spanish, learn spanish the modern way, modern technologies, spanish film, spanish podcast,