At the Agape School of Education, we prioritize updating our teaching techniques and are always on the lookout to find resources that can improve our language skills.
For example, during the pandemic, many of us were stuck at home with only the internet for company. But did you know that you can pick up a new language by watching films or television shows? Your Netflix or Prime subscription not just entertains, but it can inform and help you in learning a new language or enhance your skills in your second language.
In this article, we will look at why films are a great way to learn a new language, be it English, Mandarin or any other language.
There are heaps of benefits of watching films. Firstly, it’s fun! Most of us enjoy watching television. This not only makes your experience of language learning more enjoyable, but also helps you remain motivated and engaged throughout the learning process. Since it doesn’t feel like typical ‘studying’, you’re also more likely to want to do it regularly and consistently.
Another advantage of watching films is that they provide a visual input to language learning. The visual context helps you interpret the language you hear and offers a better understanding. You will also be able to catch-up quickly even if you miss out on a few words or phrases.
Finally, films are a great source of authentic contexts in which language is used naturally. You gain exposure to real-life situations and conversations which gives you an immersive experience. You no longer need to pack a bag and move to a new country to learn a language; you can get the same experience in your living room.
How can you use films or TV series to learn a language?
While there are many resources online to supplement your language learning through films and television shows, it is best to start small and be consistent in your approach.
- Start with the shorts. When you start out learning a new language, it is best to go for a short film or an episode of a TV series as they are short enough to sustain your interest and you can finish watching them in one sitting. We’ve included an interesting range of short films in the main languages at the end of this article.
- Do a quick google. It’s okay if you don’t understand every word, try to guess the meaning of the words from the context. Either make a note of the words that you don’t know and look them up after finishing the film or have a quick google so you better understand what you’re watching. If here are heaps of words that you’re unsure of, a great place to start is to google the words that come up most often.
- Speak up. Repeating the words help in improving your pronunciation, consolidating your learning, and remembering them.
- Watch with subtitles. If you are a beginner, watching with English subtitles should help you pick up the spellings, sounds and rhythm of the new language. It also gives you a chance to get used to the accents that you hear. If you are an advanced learner, swap the subtitles from English to the language you want to learn. This will offer you a chance to pick up new vocabulary, colloquialisms, and the differences between formal and informal modes of address.
- Watch without subtitles. Beginners may find this a very challenging experience, however, if you have seen the film already, watching it again without subtitles will help you improve your listening skills and vocabulary recall.
- Describe a scene or summarise a short film to a friend. Summarising forces you to use new words and stick to the essentials of a scene or a story while also giving you an opportunity to use the new words or phrases you learned from the film on your own.
Interesting short films in any language
- Welcome to my life – Animated
- The Fancy Gentleman – Animated
- Text me – Film Comedy
- Merci! by Christine Rabette – Film
- Pixels (2010) – Animated
- The Stairway (2010) – Film
- Love Me, Fear Me – Animated
- Summer Hit – Film
- Kelptomami – Film
- Mogu and Perol – Animated
- Dan Miller – Film
- Atama Yama – Animated
- Decorado – Animation
- Bendito Machine – Animation
- Uno – Film
- Five Boys And A Wheel – Film
- Sous Les Soutanes (Under the Robes) – Film
- Submarine – Film
- True Skin – Film
- Each Moment is the Universe
- TMB: Panyee FC