To sign up for our daily email newsletter, CLICK HERE
Hello! My name is Olga and I’m a qualified memelogist at Memo, the first meme-based Spanish learning app. Memes have already become a part of our daily communication. A funny picture can not only relieve stress in a chat but also help you learn Spanish. But how can you do it? And most importantly, why should you do this? I’ll tell you about it right now! Let’s have a look at examples from pop culture and the Memo app.
Learning any language always involves immersion in a natural language environment. Many people watch films and TV shows with subtitles, go to conversation clubs, read books or articles in their original language… But to be honest, sometimes we just don’t have enough time, motivation or desire to do it. We just want to get stuck in the phone and postpone the “immersion in the natural language environment” until tomorrow. But what’s in the phone? In addition to useful information and news, we often see pictures, GIFs, stickers and clips – in other words, memes.
What if some of the memes we scroll through during the day will be in a foreign language? We will get stuck in the phone as before, but at the same time spend time usefully and learn new words.
Nobody cancels an integrated approach to language learning, but you can vary the learning process by yourself using memes as an additional tool. If you study with tutors, then ask them to implement memes into studying sometimes. You may need some decent arguments to convince them, so you can take some points from this article 😉
Memes make fun of the political, economic, psychological and other up-to-date problems of society. Frankly speaking, memes are a reflection of our reality. All the loudest events in the world turn into memes and become public property. The exit of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from the royal family, the stuck ship in the Suez Canal and the trial of Johnny Depp with Amber Heard – all these events went viral on the network, and memes had a hand in this.
Meme is a unit of cultural heritage transmission
Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (1976)
Take a look at Reddit for a few minutes and you will find out what event in the world excites society today. I advise you not to go there on Wednesdays because on these days users create a lot of memes with frogs (“It’s Wednesday, my dudes”). You will have to spend more time looking for memes on other topics.
You can hardly find slang expressions, unusual abbreviations and neologisms in textbooks, but memes are always ready to share this valuable knowledge. More precisely, these are ordinary users who daily create new pictures with relevant buzzwords. In Memo, we have collected the most popular of them into special compilations, so, [email protected], you will easily show off your Spanish in any situation.
Native speakers sometimes create memes with errors, and this does not interfere at all with understanding the meaning and laughing at the joke. Do not be afraid to communicate and make mistakes! Be sure that you will still be understood and no one will point out the wrong tense or verb conjugation. You can always look up the rules later, but you can’t put off a spontaneous conversation in Spanish.
Memes are created by ordinary people, with the most common problems, which makes them understandable to the majority. We learned how to joke about unemployment and exorbitant housing prices, about lack of sleep, time and money, about midlife crises and loneliness. Our lives are not perfect, and memes bring thousands of people around the world together, helping to understand that we all experience, fear and face the same things.
We can no longer imagine our life without the feeling of cringe or love for a crush. And just a couple of years ago, these words did not exist at all! It was a wide community on the Internet that helped spread these and other new expressions. It is very important to be in the context of the modern language environment, and memes are great for this.
It’s not about templates that you can use to create your own meme. I would like to highlight the trite phrases that you can see in every second Spanish meme, for example: “Un día eres joven y al otro …”, “Cuando tu novia …”, “No puede ser …”, “Me identifico …”, “Yo después de 1 hora de..”, “Estás a punto de…”. And this is not a complete list! Add to this popular set of phrases and idioms, borrowed words from other languages, bright neologisms and slang expressions.
Memes contain a lot of useful information, and whether you like it or not, repeating words will definitely fade into your memory. In Memo, you can add any word to the study section by yourself and train it to complete memorization, and then use it in practice.
If some meme is hilarious, then you immediately want to share it with your friends to laugh together. It is known that vivid impressions and positive emotions are well remembered. The next time you stumble upon that funny meme on the web, recognition will kick in, and the keywords will come up immediately.
Memes are not only funny pictures but also GIFs, short videos, and even extracts from songs. These materials are interesting to look through and they build strong associations, which means they help in memorizing words and expressions. In addition, video content improves listening and even pronunciation skills. Try to listen to and repeat after video characters several times – this is a great practice for language self-study. After ten times, the phrase will definitely remain in your head. Try to use it in your next tutoring session or a conversation club, because extra practice never hurt anyone!
In Memo, we daily update a compilation with different videos taken from popular films, TV shows and programs. We decipher and translate everything that video characters say, and if you want to listen to a single word, feel free to click on it – voice acting will turn on automatically.
You don’t need extra motivation to watch memes. You laugh, engage and remember.
Only the laziest tutor did not say that it is impossible to learn words separately from the context. Each meme focuses on a specific life situation, and the general context will be clearer even if you do not know all the words from the text. In some cases, the meaning is easy to understand with the help of a picture: if you see Dominic Toretto, then you already know that somewhere there is a phrase about a family. By the way, in Memo we highlight the most complex word and give its translation. If you want to translate the entire meme, just expand the card.
Memes can help you learn Spanish. They are able to dilute boring theory, enrich vocabulary with new expressions, and immerse you in a natural language environment. Of course, you won’t learn Spanish if you scroll through 50 memes every day, but they will be an interesting addition to the language integrated study.
We hope that this article will help you look at foreign language learning from a different perspective, and in the future, you will be able to vary this process with entertaining content. Try adding memes to your language learning on iOS and Android, you might like this experiment.