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9 TV Shows To Learn A New Language

Whether you’re looking to buy a property abroad, considering working abroad, or even planning on retiring somewhere sunnier than the UK, being able to speak the native language makes it so much easier – however, learning languages can sometimes be a chore. While learning a language can involve joining a language lesson class, paying for apps or even digging out the language textbooks from school, a more enjoyable way is just to switch the TV on… 

For those eager to learn a language, without using traditional methods, the overseas home experts at YourOverseasHome.com have revealed the best shows to watch to help improve language skills. 

Listening to people speaking is hugely advantageous, but it can be tricky to follow the sense when you can only follow one word in three. The answer? Put the subtitles on. Voilà, you can read and listen at the same time, making following the story – and seeing those tricky verb endings – so much easier.

Add some drama, romance or comedy to the mix and you’ll soon be speaking like a local. 

Scarlett Murray, writer at YourOverseasHome.com, says, “It might not be the most conventional way to learn a language, but language learning shouldn’t have to be all about mastering your grammar and syntax – it should be about familiarising yourself with the tones and expressions native speakers use. 

“As well as creating a little list of words that make you smile and snigger too. Watching a foreign language TV show with the subtitles on is a great way to do that.” 

Your Overseas Home have unveiled their favourite television shows for combining entertainment with language learning: 

  1. Call my Agent! – French 

The celebrated comedy drama follows talent agents in a fictional Paris agency as they juggle crisis after crisis created by stars with insufferable egos. Not only will watching improve your French but it’s a great jumping off point for getting into French screen culture, as it features famous faces such as Monica Bellucci, Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno. 

  • Elite – Spanish 

If you’re moving your family to live in Spain, any children in your family will love Elite, the Spanish language watch for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. It hits the sweet spot between thriller and teen drama. Set in a fictional prestigious high school, it’s a fast-paced whodunit packed with hedonistic parties, pouty teens (all somehow so much better looking than anyone ever was in high school), and drama. And more drama. 

  • The Rain – Danish 

This post-apocalyptic drama will suit The Walking Dead fans. The rain has turned deadly: it carries a virus that has wiped out almost all of the population of Scandinavia. But siblings Simone and Ramsus are safe in a bunker. Six years later, they leave and search for their scientist father, in the hope that he has the cure.

  • Bonus Family – Swedish 

Opening with a frosty four-way therapy session, Bonus Family is a character-driven drama. It follows recently divorced Lisa and Patrik as they attempt to blend their families into one. An unexpected pregnancy adds tension to an already awkward atmosphere.  

  • Summertime – Italian 

Summer, an introverted young woman, hates the season that bears her name. But life takes an unexpected turn when she falls for Ale, a motorcyclist from Rome, who is recovering from an accident. Summertime’s straightforward plot makes it easier to tune into the language and its gorgeous Adriatic Coast setting will have you pining for your own summer of love in Italy. 

  • Famagusta – Greek

A brand new Greek production tells the story of the partitioning of Cyprus in 1974. It’s a heartbreaking tale, and will not just improve your Greek but also give an insight into an event that still has repercussions today.

  • Narcos – Spanish 

As Narcos is not completely in Spanish, you might think that you’d get some rest from reading subtitles in the English-speaking scenes, but the show is just too intense. It tells the tale of two DEA agents attempting to track down Colombia’s notorious cocaine trafficker Pablo Escobar. Wads of cash, affairs, corruption and murders dominate but are not to be outdone by terrible 80s fashion. Pause to make a note of your new favourite Spanish curse words.  

  • Dark – German 

From its grating grammatical gender rules to its love of compound words, German can be a difficult language to grapple with…so, why not make things even more challenging by popping on a television show that features time travel?  Set in a fictional small town named Winden, Dark starts off seemingly like any missing child crime series until you realise that children are missing not just from Winden, but in time.