Gain fluency in Spanish in context by Anne Pinder

by Susannah Grant posted on 9 January 2022

So will you be working on your Spanish in 2022?  Language learning is not just memorizing grammar, mix it up a bit for more fun and probably faster progress.  

Graded readers are simplified books, sometimes simplified classics, sometimes specifically written for language learning. They’re usually graded by classic language levels A1 to C2, and usually if not always have audio, CD or downloadable from Internet.  Various publishers. Available at least at Pasajes bookstore (Calle Genova 3) and Casa del Libro (Gran Via 29 and other addresses).

Watching movies really can help, some people theorize that Spain is behind on language fluency because most movies are dubbed.  Here are some tips for series that are entertaining if skewed to period pieces pieces which are my favorite genre (sorry).  Depending on where you are or how you watch, some of these shows may not be available or might be available different ways (I think MInisterio del Tiempo was on Netflix in the USA), though all are available at present if watching in Spain.  If you cannot decide, my suggestion is to start with shows with a *   Another other option is to find a movie or series you like dubbed into Spanish and with subtitles.

RTVE Spanish TV.  Since these were created for Spaniards, probably no subtitles.

*Ministerio del Tiempo.  Time travel IS possible, and that means people going back in time can mess up the future (our present), intentionally or unintentionally, so the super-secret Time Ministry has a team of people to make sure that doesn’t happen.  This can get complicated, but it’s fun, and you learn some history and meet interesting people, like painter Diego Velázquez.  https://www.rtve.es/play/videos/el-ministerio-del-tiempo/

Aguila Roja. Gonzalo is a mild-mannered teacher in part of his life, superhero in another part of his life. His sidekick is the only person in on the secret, his son admires Aguila but thinks his dad is a coward.  Some love interest, some really evil bad guys, lots of adventures.  Historically fairly accurate, including King Felipe IV being a skirt-chaser, though the real Cardenal Mendoza is from another period and apparently was not as ambitious as the Cardenal in this series. Fair amount of violence (Aguila beats up at least one bad guy in every episode), some nudity or half-seen sex scenes. NOTE. This might not be available now, I was watching daily, stopped at a scary place and now looks like it will be hard to re-start, though the series may be available for purchase.)  https://www.rtve.es/television/aguila-roja/capitulos-completos/

La Señora.  Spain in the 1920’s, a young man and woman fall in love but it has to end because of social differences.  They never forgot each other, meet up again years later.  Just started watching this one, looks interesting.  https://www.rtve.es/play/videos/la-senora/senora-capitulo-1/1583859/

Tiempo entre Costuras. Based on book by Maria Dueñas, translated as A Time in Between or  The Seamstress (different titles in USA and UK); if you haven’t read it you should.  Great story of a young woman from Madrid just before the Civil War who ends up in Spanish Morocco and eventually back in Madrid.  Lots of things happen, can’t say more without spoiling the story.  I loved the book, watched part of the first episode and as sometimes happens, one of the characters was so different from my imagination that it put me off, so can’t recommend personally (yet), though people who have watched most or all say it’s really good  (I need to try again). https://www.atresplayer.com/antena3/series/el-tiempo-entre-costuras/    I think this is also on Amazon Prime.

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