We often talk about watching television to help you learn languages. But does it matter what you watch? 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.
There is really no point in watching something you can’t understand whatsoever. The main rule is that the material you watch has to be comprehensible to some extent. If you can’t understand a single word, it won’t help you much. If you try to learn German by watching the Netflix show Dark, chances are you won’t understand much.
You could watch the same clip dozens of times and you wouldn’t understand much more. This type of material can be very helpful when you have been learning the language for a while, but it is practically useless for a beginner. That’s why it’s important to choose material that is somewhat comprehensible to you. The problem is that when you are first starting out, a lot of content will be totally incomprehensible.
But what if you already know the story by heart? Many of us have a few of our favorite movies that we watched about 57 times as a kid. We know every line in the movie by heart, so it would be comprehensible without any sound at all! Watching that beloved movie again in the language you want to learn is one of the best things you can do. Take a look at the screenshot from Disney’s Tarzan below. You’ll see that it makes a big difference when you have the English as a reference. (Please watch the video above for a better example)
The best thing is that if you watch the movie again, you will understand a bit more each time. You first had that English exposure and the scene has a number of visual cues to help you understand. As you can see, the type of material you watch does matter a lot. If you watch your favorite movies a few times in your target language, you will learn lots of new words every time you watch them. If you know the movie really well, you can even listen to only the audio while driving to work or while walking the dog. Just keep the complicated dramas for later. When you are more advanced in the language, a whole array of new movies will become effective for language learning. In the meantime, you have an excuse to watch all those childhood movies again. Have fun learning languages with your favorite movies!Fair Use: All rights to their respective owners. Some clips used under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for educational purposes. We are not affiliated in any way with Netflix.
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.
Subscribe on YouTube
Follow us on Facebook