I’ve always found watching movies to be one of the most effective and fun ways to improve my foreign language skills. In order to really get the most out of watching movies in your target language though, you have to go about it the right way. Here are a few tips you may find useful.
Watch Movies You’re Already Familiar With
Especially when you’re first starting out, the best movies to use for language learning purposes are movies you’ve already seen before and know well in your native language. Animated movies like Disney movies are the best, since they have been dubbed into several different languages and the quality tends to be quite good in every language. Animated movies also tend to be easier to understand than live action movies, both because they’re meant for children and also because the actors are speaking their lines directly into microphones, which makes them very clear.
Since I’m a big fan of Disney movies and watched them over and over as a child, I know them almost by heart. This means I’m able to follow them even in a language I barely understand. And since I really enjoy the stories, I don’t get bored of them no matter how many times I watch them. This makes them ideal for language learning purposes.
Watch the Same Movie Over and Over
For this, obviously you will need to have chosen a movie you like enough that you don’t mind watching it over and over. This is a good idea because it can be a fun, motivating way to see your progress in the language. The first time you watch the movie, you may not understand many of the words. But when you watch it again a few days later after having done some studying, you’ll probably find you can catch a little more. This can be very exciting and motivate you to try to understand even more of the movie.
Watching the same movie over and over is also helpful because some of the lines will start to “stick” in your head. These are lines spoken in a natural way by native speakers, and you’ll find yourself remembering them without even trying because they’re within a context that’s interesting to you. Once you’ve watched a movie a few times, try saying your favorite lines out loud before the characters do. This is fun, and it’s a great exercise too.
When You Get Stuck, Get Help
Most likely, there will be a few lines you just can’t figure out no matter how many times you watch the movie. When this happens, ask a native for help! If you have a language exchange partner, get that person to watch the movie and write out those lines you’re having trouble with. Or if you can, post clips of the lines on YouTube and ask people there for help. You may be surprised how willing people are to help someone learning their language.
Over to You
Have you used movies as language learning tools? If so, how have you gone about it? Please do share!