Sitting down to watch a film is one of the more enjoyable and effortless ways to improve your language skills. You do not have to understand everything that you hear to follow what is happening and to enjoy the film. You can watch something you are interested in that you can engage with. Thanks to the power of the internet, it is a great way to learn the real language without being in the country where it is spoken. Here are 7 reasons films help you learn the language:
1. You get to hear how native people really speak – you hear the sound and rhythm of the language which will help you improve your own speaking when you start copying them.
2. You learn everyday expressions and cool slang expressions that you won’t find in a dictionary or textbook.
3. You pick up on words that keep cropping up all the time. Often these are the “filler” words that don’t mean that much but they do make you sound more like a native speaker. For example in Spanish they use, “venga”, “sabes”, “vamos”, “claro”, “vale”, “bueno” and “pues” a lot when chatting.
4. If you love watching films anyway, this will help keep you motivated to continue learning the language and therefore you will increase your exposure to the language.
5. If you have come across words in a book whilst studying the language but find it difficult to remember, if you hear it used in a particular context while watching a film it may make it easier for you to retain in your long-term memory.
6. While watching films you also learn about the country, the people and their culture as well as the language.
7. If you want your whole family to learn the language, watching films is a great way to involve everyone. You could even start with watching a few kids’ films.
1. Choose films that you have already seen that have been dubbed in the foreign language. You already know what happens so will be able to focus more on the language than the action.
2. Pick films that you enjoy – drama, horror, historical, science-fiction etc. Go for films that you can engage with the storyline and that interests you.
3. Watch it more than once. Watch it first with the subtitles on and then watch it again and again without them on. This way you will notice more about the language that you miss when reading subtitles.
4. Although it is annoying for others who are watching the film with you, but try to provide a running commentary on what is happening in the film. Summarise what has just happened or what is happening.
5. Watching films should be enjoyable, not like a school lesson so don’t worry about understanding every single word and looking up words during the film. This will spoil the whole experience. Instead, keep a notebook by your side and jot down any unfamiliar words or phrases. Look them up later to learn.
6. Find a script of the film if you can. This will be a real help to you when studying the language in depth after watching it a couple of times.