We are always on the lookout to find resources and books to improve our language skills. But did you know that you could easily pick up a new language by watching films or television shows? Have you ever wondered if your Netflix or Prime subscription can go beyond entertaining and informing you and benefit you in learning a new language or enhancing your skills in a second language?
In this article, we will look at why films are a great way to learn English or any other language and how you can exploit them to improve your skills.
Let’s look at some of the merits of using films to pick up a new language. The benefits of watching films are plenty. Most importantly, it is entertaining. You enjoy watching films, especially if they are of your choice. This not only makes your experience of language learning more enjoyable, but also helps you remain motivated and engaged throughout the learning process. You’d be eager to do it regularly and consistently.
Another advantage of watching films is that they provide a visual input to language learning. The visual context helps you interpret the language you hear and offers a better understanding. You will also be able to catch-up quickly even if you miss out on a few words or phrases.
Finally, films are a great source of authentic contexts in which language is used naturally. You gain exposure to real-life situations and conversations which gives you an immersive experience. You no longer need to pack a bag and move to a new country to learn a language; you can get the same experience in your living room.
How can you use films or TV series to learn English?
While there are many resources online to supplement your language learning through films and television shows, it is best to start small and be consistent in your approach.
1. Choose a short film or an episode of a TV series. When you start out learning English or any other language, it is best to go for a short film or an episode of a TV series as they are short enough to sustain your interest and you can finish watching them in one sitting. You can find an interesting range of short films in English here:
2. Note down words and phrases that you liked or found useful. It’s okay if you don’t understand every word, try to guess the meaning of the words from the context. Make a note of them and look them up in a dictionary after finishing the film.
3. You could also try saying out loud the new words or short phrases that you hear. Repeating the words help in improving your pronunciation, consolidating your learning, and remembering them.
4. Watch with subtitles. If you are a beginner, watching with English subtitles should help you pick up the spellings, sounds and rhythm of the new language. It also gives you a chance to get used to the accents that you hear. If you are an advanced learner, the subtitles will offer new vocabulary, colloquialisms, and the differences between formal and informal modes of address.
5. Watch without subtitles. Beginners may find this a very challenging experience, however, if you have seen the film already, watching it again without subtitles will help you improve your listening skills and vocabulary recall.
This chrome extension allows you to enable subtitles in two different languages at the same time on Netflix. There’s also a pop-up dictionary, and the extension suggests the most important words for you to learn.
6. Describe a scene or summarise a short film to a friend. Summarising forces you to use new words and stick to the essentials of a scene or a story while also giving you an opportunity to use the new words or phrases you learned from the film on your own.
We hope that you found these tips and resources useful. What are you waiting for? Choose a short film and embark on your language learning journey!
For more collections, visit https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/
-Reshmi V M, English Teacher