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Wouldn't it be great if you could learn English while doing something you do anyway? Anyone who likes watching movies and television can do just that!
You can use the time you spend watching T.V. to not only relax and enjoy your favorite show but to also improve your English.
Here are three of my favorite tips that I give to my students about how to learn more English through watching television and movies:
1. Chose a Show You LOVE
Why choose a boring show or a movie in some genre* you never watch anyway?
If you like dramas or soap operas*, watch one in English. If you like science fiction movies, watch an English language one!
You will stay motivated to continue watching and learning as much as you can. You will be more involved and enjoy the process so much more if you choose a similar show to what you watch in your native language.
With so many English options out there, you can surely find a show or movie you will not just like but LOVE!
2. Use Subtitles to Your Advantage...
...and then STOP using them!
Subtitles are highly useful when learning a new language. The first time you watch a show or movie, put the subtitles on and use them as a reference dictionary in your native language.
BUT make sure to challenge yourself and turn off the subtitles after one or two viewings maximum.
You can do it!
You will already know the general plot* so you can focus on listening for words, slang or phrases you don't know. In the context of the story you will understand a lot more than you think you can.
The visual nature of T.V. and the body language of the actors and actresses will help you understand more than studying a random* list of vocabulary words ever will.
3. Read Spoilers
Reading spoilers* might be not be for everyone, since some of the best plot twists and surprises will be revealed to you before seeing the show or movie.
For the right English language student, reading spoilers can be a way to maximize T.V. and movie viewing time. If you read the spoilers in English you will be studying through reading as well.
IMDb (Internet Movie Database) is one of my favorite reference website for movie and T.V. program reviews (many with spoilers).
Here is how I use spoilers to help me study language:
I've recently gotten into* the series "Switched at Birth", not only because it is entertaining but because it gives me a glimpse* of deaf culture. I am also learning new words in sign language as I watch. I read a few spoilers about the second season so I will be able to focus on learning some new words in ASL sign language as I watch.
You can do the same thing with English language shows and movies.
Here is a video I made about these three tips:
Remember, get the most you can out of watching T.V. and movies by doing the following:
Pick Movies and Shows You LOVE
Use Subtitles Wisely
genre = type, category (typically used for books, music or media)
soap opera = dramatic, long-showing, mostly day-time television shows
plot = the development of a story (in a play, book, movie, etc.)
random = not connected, unrelated
spoiler = television or movie review which gives away key surprises or endings
to get into = to start to really like/enjoy
glimpse = a small, quick look
Which of these T.V. and movie tips would you like to try out? Do you have any more tips to share? Write in the comments below!
Learn to speak real, conversational American English with Sabrina, an American English teacher.
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