I have a standing date.
Not a romantic one, it’s with a bloke.
Every second Sunday I get together with an amigo to watch Deadwood.
It’s a great show about the rough and tumble days on the gold fields in South Dakota in the 1870s.
I recommend the show if you like gritty drama. However, if you don’t care for profanity, give it a wide berth.
Some of the language in the show would make a trooper blush.
It has great writing and great acting but it’s definitely not a family show, which is why I watch it with a mate.
A while back we were watching a scene that seemed pivotal to the storyline.
Mi amigo me dijo, “qué dijo”. (My friend said, “what did he say?”)
No entendí nada. (I didn’t understand a thing.)
Those rugged pioneers sure mumble a lot.
Todavía no entendíamos ni jota. (We still didn’t understand one iota.)
So we decided to put on the subtitles.
We are both native English speakers but there we were reading the English.
This was not the first time I have used subtitles for shows in English
I did it regularly with The Sopranos. Those rough versions of New Jersey accents were hard to catch at times.
I did it with the English version of Life on Mars too. I didn’t want to miss any of the Gene Genie’s Manchester mutterings.
I’m a regular closed captioning user… in English
TV dramas can be hard to understand.
Yet when people find Spanish TV hard they often judge themselves harshly. They feel they are failing.
Un consejo, (a piece of advice.)
Go easy on yourself.
Don’t invalidate all the great things you can do with your Spanish just because some television shows are hard to understand.
Some shows are hard to understand in English.
I’ve struggled with Sopranos, Deadwood, The Gene Genie and The Sweeney.
If you have a Spanish TV available with closed caption or DVDs with subtitles put them on. It’s an opportunity to learn Spanish and be entertained at the same time.
My own experience is that TV is one of the last parts of Spanish you acquire.
There are many achievements along the way that you’ll enjoy before TV feels natural.
Before I could understand TV dramas I could:
- Enjoy face-to-face conversations
- Read novels
- Watch the news and current affairs
- Listen to music
- Read newspapers
- Participate in dinner conversations
- Speak in front of an audience
- Make a business proposal to the Tijuana Chamber of Commerce
- Tell jokes and get a laugh.
The last one might be due to the good manners of many Spanish speakers; I don’t usually get a laugh when I tell jokes in English.
-Policía! hay dos mujeres que se están peleando por mi! -¿Y que problema hay? -Pues que va ganando la fea!
(Police! There are two women that are fighting over me. And what problem is there? Well the ugly one is winning.)
See what I mean about the jokes?
Regresando al tema. (Back to the subject)
You will be able to accomplish a lot with your Spanish before you fully understand all the TV shows.
The beauty of the method is it’s sequential so your Spanish can become like the famous affirmation, “in every day in every way my Spanish is getting better and better.”
It’s step by step, so the last lesson feels just as easy as the first lesson. By the end of each lesson you’re speaking more Spanish.