Watching lots of television is likely the best way to immerse yourself in a new language from home. Plus, it’s an excellent way to complement OUINO, our language-learning program. But can you just watch anything in your target language and get better? Not really.
In order to truly improve by watching movies, you must use them in a way that’s effective. It’s all about choosing material that’s appropriate for your current skill level. People often make the mistake of watching material that’s way too advanced for them, and everything seems like one giant blur. This makes it impossible to learn from context. Choosing material just a bit above your current level will ensure that you make constant progress without ever feeling overwhelmed. In this post, we will take a look at how to make your way up the 4 steps of difficulty in movies and television.
As a complete beginner, watching material that was written for very young kids is a goldmine for learning new words. Television shows like “Caillou” and “Peppa Pig” were written with very simple dialogue, short and simple plots, and basic vocabulary and grammar. The pronunciation is often exaggerated and slow, which makes it much easier to understand. Now, you’re probably thinking: “but these shows are so childish”. Sure, it can feel a bit ridiculous to be watching these shows on your own, but the benefits are incredible.
Children shows often describe the images you see and are usually overly clear about the current situation. It’s quite effortless to draw conclusions about the words you hear. They will say something like “Peppa is not well“, as you see the little pig in bed with chickenpox. This image association is wonderful. These shows were specifically made for the education of young children learning their first language. You can take advantage of that.
Once you get past the pre-school stage, you can move up to family material such as Disney or DreamWorks Animation movies. Yes, you are still watching cartoons, but these movies are a big step up from the young children shows. The language is a lot more complicated, the story line is over an hour long instead of 5-10 minutes, and the speech is considerably faster.
A major advantage of family material is that you can use movies you loved and watched about 57 times as a child. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn by watching those movies again in your new language. Watch them several times! When you understand what’s going on, it’s much easier to learn new words from context. It really works wonders.
Dubbed movies and television shows can be used as a transition to original material in your new language. Dubbed content tends to be easier to understand because there is often less mumbling and muttering from the studio actors. Another reason why they are often easier to understand is that the language used is often standardized. There’s often less regionalism and specific accents, because they often appeal to larger worldwide audiences.
Another great advantage of dubbed material is that you can watch movies you are already familiar with. You may have to get used to Brad Pitt’s new Spanish voice, but since you’ve seen the movie in English before, it will help you understand what’s going on and you’ll learn several new words. Now, there are obviously lots of different types of dubbed movies. Just make sure to avoid complicated movies at first.
Watching movies and television shows in their original language is by far the most challenging level. Translated material is often well-spoken with proper diction and articulation. However, this is not always the way people talk in real life. If you watch movies and television shows in their original form, you will see a big difference. The speech is lightning fast, contractions are used regularly and there’s a lot of mumbling and muttering.
When you learn a language, you are taught the correct and proper way to speak. As you become more advanced, you’ll soon realize that native speakers don’t always obey the rules. They will skip words and syllables, and say thing that are not grammatically correct. How often have you heard “where you at” instead of “where are you“? Everything is more native-like in original material. Reaching this level is absolutely amazing. You are finally at a point where you’ll enjoy material that you would not have been able to watch before. You’ll learn about the culture, slang, regional accents and… insults and swear words.
Again, it’s all about choosing material that matches your current skill level in the language. As you become more advanced, a whole array of new movies will become effective for language learning. In the meantime, you have a good excuse to watch all those childhood movies again. Just keep the complicated dramas for later. If you want to kick-start your learning, we have an amazing language-learning method that will give you all the tools you need to get a solid foundation. If you are interested to see how it works, you should check out our website. You can find us at OUINO.com. Thanks a lot! 🙂
We have combined everything we know from years of language acquisition and research to create an awesome language-learning method. Visit OUINO.com to learn more.
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