Go watch a movie!

When you’re learning a new language, it’s a good idea to try and immerse yourself in it as much as possible.

If you can’t move to the country of your target language, perhaps try supplementing the Italian classes you’re taking in New York with some movies.

There’s a huge range of movies out there in every genre, so there’s something to interest everyone – from big budget Hollywood blockbusters to Japanese manga flicks. Sometimes the accents are a problem though, or perhaps the words are too unfamiliar to completely follow the plot.

That’s where subtitles become useful. A study has shown that second-language listening ability can be improved by watching movies with subtitles in the second language. The research, published in the online science journal PLoS One, shows that foreign subtitles can help with speech perception, whilst native language subtitles may hinder this. The written word appears to help the learner perceive the speech more accurately as they can draw on previous knowledge of similar words.

So, next time you’re watching a foreign language movie, why not try switching the subtitles?