How Movies Help You Learn a New Language
The film is a great way to spread ideas since it educates its audience. When language is employed visually and aurally simultaneously, it transcends the realm of grammar and syntax to become a living, breathing thing. Watching movies with subtitles is a great way to learn a language or improve existing proficiency because hearing plays a central role in the learning process.
Subtitles are not often used in Italy; since Benito Mussolini instituted a protectionist policy to shield the Italian language from outside influences, dubbing has been the preferred method of film consumption. This needs to be updated and possibly contributes to diversity skepticism. Cinemas should show more films in their native languages with English subtitles to expose audiences to various cultures and perspectives.
The process of picking up a new tongue involves more than just memorizing words and phrases. Language classes, extensive real-world use, and supplementary material like books, podcasts, and movies are all staples of the Babbel method.
Films have several purposes besides simply amusing. In addition to improving your language skills, they provide invaluable cultural context. By watching movies, you can learn to correlate words with corresponding body language and hear the language in a more natural setting.
For all you couch potatoes out there, the good news is that you can get a lot done while watching TV. However, if you properly use movies, they may be an excellent teaching tool. If you’re going to put in the effort to learn, you can’t just press play and tune everything else out. You can heed our advice and noticeably improve your abilities if you’d like. If all you care about are movie suggestions, go to the end.
Table of Contents
Five Ways to Use Films as a Language Teaching Tool
1. A Choice of Stories (And Get To Know It)
Choosing a film to watch is almost as significant as the viewing experience itself. A film’s cinematic attractiveness is not guaranteed to be the most helpful film for language learning. It’s essential to pick a movie that will hold your interest. Still, if this is your first time seeing a movie in this genre, choose a film with a narrative and characters that you’re already familiar with, or read a plot summary before you start watching.
Think about how challenging the conversation is. Instead of a dark and sophisticated psychological thriller that would be difficult to “understand” even for native speakers of the language, a light comedy or rom-com would be a better alternative because they feature simpler terminology.
2. You Should Always Use Subtitles
Are subtitled films a potential language-learning tool?
Just to cut to the chase, sure. Subtitles are an excellent tool for reinforcing the acquisition of a foreign language, much like closed captions are for ESL students.
Subtitle in multiple languages provide a fresh perspective on language comprehension, among other advantages. Research conducted by Holger Mitterer (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics) and James McQueen reveals that using subtitles as a supplementary learning tool can help students learn a language more quickly.
One of the study’s major takeaways is that a person’s phonetic knowledge of a foreign language improves when they are simultaneously exposed to the written and spoken forms of that language.
Whether subtitles or dubbed dialogue is preferable for those who wish to view movies has been debated for quite some time. The subs vs. dubs issue is a common topic of discussion, and we’re on the side of the sub. The subpar quality of the dubbing often undermines the effectiveness of your efforts. Subtitles are like training wheels in that they help you get your bearings in a new language, but they’re not designed to be relied on forever.
This is also the point when we discuss the value of seeing a film multiple times before attempting to analyze it for lessons. When you’re ready, try watching it again without subtitles.
Alternatively, you may challenge yourself by watching it without subtitles first and then seeing how well you understood it with them. And at some point in the future, watch it a third time without the subtitles. Consider watching a film you know you’ll appreciate if you want to get the most out of this activity.
3. Divide It Into Manageable Pieces
Since you are not at a movie theater, you are under no need to sit through the entire film in one sitting. Since you’ll need to pay much closer attention than you would if you watched for amusement, your brain will benefit from viewing the video in segments. To better absorb what you’re watching (and replay any bits you missed the first time), consider splitting the viewing into 20- or 30-minute segments.
4. Always Jot It Down
Listening intently is what we mean when we use the term. Not only will the process of writing things down help you remember them, but it will also help you improve your listening abilities. It can be poorly written or misspelled and still be acceptable.
First, jot down the sounds as you recognize them; afterward, you can compare your notes with those made while viewing the same segment with subtitles to evaluate how well you did. You can improve your listening comprehension and get a feel for how the language sounds by recording yourself and then comparing your recording to the transcript.
As a bonus, keep a record of the new words you learn while watching the film. Media with a cultural focus are excellent resources for learning slang and other idiomatic expressions.
5. Relax Your Mind
If what was just described seems like a lot of work, that’s because it isn’t supposed to be a stress reliever. That said, there’s no need to drive oneself to mental collapse. Let yourself relax and take in the film for a while when you feel your mind starting to drag.
In this approach, you can get to know the material enjoyably, priming you to learn it more effectively the following time. In addition, uncritical listening can help you absorb more of the target language.