Musique, Film, and Programas: Enhancing Foreign Language Studies Through Entertainment



Fedez and Emma Marrone are trending Italian artists whose music is available on Spotify.

Mckenzie Schuvart, Freelancer

As the academic year progresses, the FLACS and AP and IB foreign language exams are quickly approaching. In order to score highly on any of these assessments, it is integral that foreign language students consistently practice reading in, speaking, and listening to their target language. But many students prefer not to flip flashcards or complete practice tests.

Finding media — from movies and shows to music and podcasts — in the target language is an alternative method through which one can develop and refine language skills. 

Netflix subscribers can watch movies and shows in other languages or with the subtitles of other languages. The shows The Good Place, Gilmore Girls, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are all available in French, Italian, and Spanish, as are the movies “To All The Boys I Loved Before“, “Mall Cop“, and “Rose Island“. To change the language of the show or movie on Netflix, begin to play the show or movie. Then, select the “Audio” and “Subtitles” button. Under the “Audio” category, select the desired language. English subtitles, which help to provide the content of the show or movie, can be also be added.

Music offers another way to subconsciously study a language. According to The New York Times, popular Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny was the first to hit Number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with an album entirely in Spanish. Trending Italian artists include Fedez, Emma Marrone, and Salmo. “I prefer Salmo, Frah Quintale and Alessandra Amoroso,” says Nalin Fuschi, an Italian teen living in Sicily. While these particular artists produce pop and rap, virtually all genres of Italian music are available on streaming services such as Spotify. For those interested in listening to French artists, Spotify recommends Aya Nakamura and Eva. Listening to songs from foreign artists often helps with recognition and pronunciation of certain words and phrases. It also reinforce common expressions. Music can introduce listeners to different tenses, and serves as an opportunity to hear discussions of ideas rather than of tangible objects. 

Many people have their phone or computer set in the language they are studying. While this helps to ensure that the language is present in daily life, it is not recommended for those who do not possess a strong understanding of the language. 

Watching shows and listening to music in a foreign language is an additional way to immerse oneself in the language and should not replace study materials. When paired with academic resource, however, internatonal entertainment can enhance language comprehension in anticipation of an exam.