Enjoy a Spanish language learning lesson with Netflix’s Narcos

Netflix has teamed up with Babbel to help you learn how to score deals in Spanish.

Pablo Escobar in Narcos.
More from Narcos A new series of Narcos has just landed. Image Netflix

As any Netflix subscriber worth their salt will tell you, Narcos is more than just your average crime drama series.

A sprawling anthology that chronicles the rise and fall of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar against a backdrop of crime, corruption and cocaine, it’s a fictionalised account of real-life history that offers countless statements on society and America’s attitude towards narcotics.

And now Narcos fans can learn even more from one of the most talked about shows of the year after Netflix teamed up with language-learning app Babbel to create a special Spanish language learning course, based on the series.

It’s pretty much like any normal Spanish learning series really except that, rather than learning how to ask directions or order food in Spanish, fans will instead learn what to say if they want to, say, score deals or maybe hide some contraband.

Pablo Escobar in Narcos
Piece of the action Narcos is one of Netflix's stand out shows. Image Picture Netflix

Thomas Holl, founder and president of the Babbel Inc. explained the idea behind the new Narcos-inspired course:

“Many people worldwide are introduced to new languages through TV series and movies. By using what you love to watch, to learn a language you’d like to know, we’ve created an emotional connection that bonds you to a new language that might otherwise have remained inaccessible. The partnership with Netflix lets users engage with Spanish in a uniquely Pablo Escobar way, showing them that learning a new language doesn’t have to feel like sitting in a Colombian prison.”

Featuring images and audio from the Netflix series, the lesson is actually available to access right now and is ideal for anyone keen to get the inside track on Narcos ahead of the next season.

In the meantime, here are a couple of choice phrases to help you speak Spanish like El Patron, Escobar himself:

BILLETE(ICO) – If you’ve ever spent some time in a Spanish speaking country, there’s a good chance you’ll know the word billete, or ticket. In Colombia, and more specifically in the world of the narcos, un billete is a large amount of money, and un billetico is a really large amount of money. 

GONORREA – Yes. Gonorrea. Gonorrea is one of the many graphic insults wielded by our favorite narcos in the eponymous series. It’s sonoro, creativo y simple, according to our Spanish editor, which you may have already translated as sonorous, creative and simple. Isn’t Spanish easy? You’ve probably even figured out the meaning of this insult… If not, have fun googling it!

An official still from Netflix show Narcos
Drugs and politics Make sure you are in the know. Image Netflix

GRINGO – You probably already know what a gringo is. It’s used in many Spanish-speaking countries to refer to foreigners, and chiefly to people from the US. 

PATRÓN – El patrón is the boss, aka el jefe. To achieve the same respect as Pablo, try solely referring to yourself in third person as “El patrón” in the office for a day?

PLATA O PLOMO – Imagine yourself standing in front of an armed menace, pistol brandished, yelling plata o plomo at you. Your mind races. Plomo: it sounds so rounded, so soft, so innocent… Plata, on the other hand, is full of plosive consonants and sharp vowels. You mouth, “plomo,” and it’s your very last utterance. Heavy stuff. But relax! Now that you know you should always choose plata (silver) over plomo (lead), you’re sure to live a long and prosperous life.

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.