One of the best ways to learn a language is to be constantly exposed to it. There are a number of ways to do so. In previous posts, we talked about how watching movies and television can be very helpful in language learning. We also mentioned that watching the same material several times can be very effective because you can learn something new every time and it reinforces what you’ve learned previously. Now, you may have been thinking; “That sounds simple enough, but who has time to watch a movie several times?“. True, sitting down to watch a movie can be very time consuming. Luckily, you can save a lot of time by listening to only the sounds of the movie when you are out and about. In this post, we will talk about how to use movie audio in language learning.
Sure, it’s always more entertaining to sit comfortably in your La-Z-Boy and watch a movie in 4K HD and 7.1 surround sound. In terms of language learning though, listening to only the audio of a movie while driving or doing chores, can be almost as effective. But there are a few requirements for this to work. Being familiar with the movie, meaning you have seen it at least once and preferably several times, is crucial in order to be able to follow along. When you’re familiar with the movie, you’ll be able to see the images in your mind as you listen to the dialogue. We all have movies we love and watched several times. For example, if you watched Disney’s Aladdin a gazillion times as a child, why not listen to the Spanish-dubbed version of the movie in your car? It doesn’t matter if you only watched it in English before; you only need to be familiar with the movie in order to know the story line and not be totally lost and confused with what’s going on. Every movie you have seen in your life can potentially become a source of movie audio learning material. Another thing to keep in mind is that the movie has to contain a decent amount of dialogue. Needless to say that movies like Castaway or The Revenant may not be all that effective to learn lots of new words.
Learning from movie audio is a combination of everything we love; it’s entertaining, highly effective, and it’s easy to stay in that all-important active listening mode because it’s engaging. In fact, you’ll likely find it quite effortless to stay focused. The key is choosing material that will keep your attention. That’s why listening to movies you love is very powerful. The average American spends about an hour and a half in their car every day. Listening to movie audio in your target language is time well-spent.
Now you might wonder; “Okay, but where the heck do I find movie audio?“. That’s where your mobile device becomes your friend once again! You can easily connect your phone in your car with Bluetooth or a good old-fashioned cable, and play the movie through your device. There are tons of apps and streaming services that will allow you to download movies before you leave. If you do this while driving though, just make sure to hide your phone so that you can’t see the images. Your eyes must remain on the road at all times. (Oops! Did I just lecture you on driving safely in a language-learning post?)
If you want to make this a complete exercise, you can also repeat after the actors out loud. This can work wonders on your pronunciation skills. You don’t have to do this all the time, but whenever you find yourself alone in your car and stuck in traffic, why not make the most out of your time? It’s the perfect opportunity to practice speaking without feeling embarrassed. It’ll just look like you’re talking on a hands-free phone. Speaking is one of the hardest areas to improve in language learning because we don’t have as many opportunities to practice, but repeating after the actors using movie audio on a daily basis will greatly improve your pronunciation skills. So go ahead and make a list of all your favorite childhood movies and use them as an entertaining language-learning tool!
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