Foreign Language Practice with Garfield

Are your kids learning a foreign language? One way to become more familiar with the sounds of another language is to hear it spoken in an everyday setting at normal speed. Enrique Iglesias was a bit much, and Spanish language podcasts were too fast. But Garfield, Garfield was juuuust right.

Remember Garfield comics in the Sunday newspaper? Binging on Garfield comics in those comic strip compendiums was one of my favorite alone-time activities as a kid. Fortunately, The Garfield Show on Netflix retains its innocent, child/pet-centered simplicity, and is fun for family viewing and foreign language practice.

Garfield and Odie are always getting into silly situations, usually related to food.
still shot from THE GARFIELD SHOW – EP100 – Pampered Pussycat

My teens are learning French and Spanish on their own using Duolingo and The Great Courses. For added listening practice, they watch The Garfield Show in Spanish with English subtitles. We prefer the Spanish voice-overs to the original English.

My Spanish student first tried watching telenovelas. “Too much drama,” she said, and wasn’t interested in other Spanish language movies primarily featuring drug cartel, sex, and violence storylines. Whew! Her older sister suggested two Spanish language musicals in High School Musical style. Surprisingly, it was silly, simple Garfield, Odie, and Jon that did it for the two teenagers. And sometimes I’m even sucked in!

It is rare for a cartoon nowadays to be free of snark, sexual innuendo, and adult humor. The Garfield Show is old-fashioned, comic strip-inspired, harmless entertainment. It reminds me of Scooby-Doo cartoon silliness from the 1970s.

Recommended for family viewing and foreign language practice.

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