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Practicing Spanish from the US – Top TV Series, Music, and Social Media Accounts

Those of us who are newer to the Spanish language have the massive advantage that Spanish and Latin-produced entertainment is spreading in popularity across the world. From Netflix to Spotify to Twitter, finding entertaining feeds and content in the Spanish language is easy, and it’s incredibly helpful when trying to squeeze a few more vocab words and a deeper understanding of humor and culture into our journey of learning Spanish. 

To help you incorporate this fun method of upping your Spanish language game, I can recommend the best Spanish and Latin TV shows, music artists, and social media feeds to follow. 

 

Television

 

If you’ve already got a Netflix account, you’re one step ahead! Netflix is full of Spanish-language television shows and movies that are tearing up the screen. And I’m not just talking about early-2000’s Mexican telenovelas. Spanish and Latin television production has been monumental for Netflix watchers. Some of the top series I recommend are: 

  • La Casa de Papel, or Money Heist in English. This show is about a group of cons who execute a heist in the national mint of Madrid. The third season just came out in 2019, and the hype is still big worldwide. For some lighter drama – take this lightly, it’s hard to avoid drama in Spanish television – but lots of thrill and suspense, this a great series.
  • Las Chicas del Cable, or Cable Girls. This show is set in early 20th century Spain and follows the lives of several young women who work at a telecommunications company. It follows the struggle of being a woman in the workforce in this era, and how they conquer love and friendship in a man’s industry. Drama level: medium to high. 
  • Elite. Elite is a new show that features several big Spanish actors, a few of which also star on La Casa del Papel. In a way, it’s a Spanish version of Euphoria. High drama, classic entertainment, though insightful and easy to follow. 

And, for some movie recommendations: 

Roma. Roma won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2019. This Mexican film is beautifully filmed and follows the life of a maid in a middle-class family in Mexico City in the 1970s. Forget everything you might think you know about Mexican TV dramas. Roma is a must-watch.

Contratiempo, or The Invisible Guest in English. This movie is a suspenseful murder mystery that follows the story of a man who has been convicted of killing his lover in a hotel room. Medium drama level; a good watch if you’re trying to practice your Spanish listening skills and feel like watching a good thriller at home on a Friday night. 

Palmas en la Nieve, or Palm Trees in the Snow. This movie is a high drama classic about a woman who journeys to her family’s old plantation in search of the answer to a family secret. If you like Mario Casas (he’s also the star of Contratiempo and many other Spanish movies) then this is a great Netflix choice for you. 

 

Music

 

Those of us who are newer to the Spanish language have the massive advantage that Spanish and Latin music is reaching an international level of popularity. Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Rosalía are tearing up the charts around the world – even in countries where Spanish is not the official national language, like the UK, Italy, and the USA. Have a listen! Google the lyrics, find a good Spotify playlist – I recommend Radar Latino– and see what you can pick up. 

It’s true that listening to rap can be hard to understand even in your native language. Fair enough! Some of the best artists who I find particularly articulate in their songs are: 

  • Juanes
  • Carlos Vives
  • Enrique Iglesias
  • Becky G 
  • Shakira (yeah, we all know her. Make sure you listen to her Spanish songs, many of which have versions in English.)
  • Nicky Jam

 

Social Media

 

As it gets harder and harder to avoid the use of social media these days, we might as well take advantage of what we can learn from it. And yes, languages are on that list of learning possibilities. Follow Spanish and Latin celebrities, news accounts, and meme/comedy accounts on Instagram and Twitter to get a better feel for humor, slang, and reporting of current events. If you need somewhere to start, some of my favorite accounts for entertaining, easy-to-follow Instagram and Twitter accounts include: 

  • @ElPais. This is one of Spain’s most-read news providers. Reading the news in another language can be extremely helpful for everyday practice. 
  • @PenelopeCruzOficial. Penelope Cruz has a great account because she fluctuates between English and Spanish comments. Try @SalmaHayek and @RickyMartin for other celebrity profiles that post in both languages, often translating in the same post!
  • @CulturaColectiva. A page dedicated to art, cheeky cartoons, and memes, all in Spanish.
  • @72kilos. Don’t be thrown off by the account name. This is a cartoonist account with short, easy to decipher captions that often include useful Spanish phrases. 
  • @VogueSpain. It’s Vogue, but in Spanish and with more Spanish culture and celebrity-oriented features. 

 

Remember that at this day in age, the internet and media are available to us in most languages. Changing our Netflix language to English is all too easy, but remember your language goal. The Spanish language is all around us, all over the world, and if we can make some quick digital changes in order to absorb more vocabulary, cultural knowledge, or even slang, then we might as well!

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