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How to effectively watch movies and TV series in English

How to effectively watch movies and TV series in English

Watching movies can be extremely helpful in learning English. How can you make this process as productive and useful as possible?

Watching movies and TV series is an enjoyable and relaxing pastime. However, it can also be a useful educational experience by running an English audio track.

Watching movies and TV series in English is one of the most highly recommended methods of learning a foreign language, because this process works to improve several major language aspects simultaneously.

  • Vocabulary. When watching movies and TV series, we encounter many new words and expressions. At the same time, they are given to us in their immediate context. We immediately see the situation in which they are used, hear the correct pronunciation and can be sure that the phrase is relevant and used in real life.
  • Listening. This skill is one of the most difficult to achieve for many English learners. In movies and TV series we hear live dialogues, phrases are not pronounced artificially, and this gives us the opportunity to accustom ourselves to the language. In addition, when watching different movies and TV series, we are exposed to both standard and regional accents.
  • Immersion in English-speaking culture. Films and TV series allow us to become more familiar with the daily life and values of the English-speaking population. We can observe people's behavior and ethics, which in the future will make it easier for us to adapt when visiting or moving to a desired country.

It is important to remember that there are a number of tips that you should heed to ensure that watching movies and TV series in English really brings maximum results, and does not turn out to a waste of effort and time.

Which movie/series to choose?

First of all, the one that will be interesting to you! After all, if what is happening on the screen is not interesting, you will not want to watch it even in your native language. Some people even prefer to re-watch those movies and TV series that they loved earlier in their native language. This approach, by the way, relieves the stress caused by the fear of not understanding the main plot.

Secondly, it is necessary to choose something that suits your level of English. Remember that the chosen movie should not be too complicated, otherwise, there is a risk of simply not understanding anything. But the material should also not be too simple, because then we will not learn anything new. The ideal ratio is understanding about 70% of what is going on.

For a beginner's level, cartoons can be an excellent choice. As a rule, in animation movies, all characters clearly pronounce words, do not use overly complex vocabulary, and the plot in cartoons is not overloaded with ornate twists and turns. Do not immediately grab for movies with specific vocabulary, purely scientific, medical or criminal. Most likely, at first it is simply not useful to you.

We should also be careful about which era, region, and cultural features are portrayed on the screen. For example, very outdated and complex turns of speech of the British aristocracy, the common dialect of cockney or the slang of disadvantaged youth from the suburbs are unlikely to be educationally useful. This is for advanced users.

Some students also wonder what is better to choose — a full-length movie or a TV series. In general, there is no critical difference. We can only note for ourselves that since TV series mostly involve many seasons, we have the opportunity to get used to a certain slang, accent, and manner of speech. This has its pluses, as we can, more smoothly and without abrupt transitions, build up a certain vocabulary and get used to a certain speech. But there can also be disadvantages, as it is still worth listening to a variety of speech variations of the language.

With or without subtitles?

A common piece of advice for English language learners is to watch without subtitles. However, it is not suitable for everyone. Subtitles can help with pronunciation and vocabulary — but we are only talking about subtitles in English. No native language, otherwise, there will be no benefit at all.

When watching movies with subtitles, try to follow the events taking place on the screen rather than reading the written text without interruption. It is better to use subtitles for cases when specific passages become incomprehensible: some specific pronunciation from an actor, new words, a phrase that is not clearly pronounced.

Vocabulary work

Another common recommendation is not to look up every word in a dictionary. It makes sense, because understanding of what is said does not always have to be full. One of the training method of listening skills — understanding the general meaning. But for educational purposes, you can thoroughly work through a particular piece, watch all the unfamiliar words, write them out, pronounce them — and then watch it again in full without subtitles — the effect will be quite different! If we don't understand a certain moment in a movie or TV series, there is nothing wrong with watching it again, maybe even more than once, until everything falls into place.

Repeat after the actor

This technique is very effective and adds pronunciation and speaking to our learning process. After a phrase has been said by a character, we pause the video and try to reproduce what we have heard as closely as possible. It is also recommended to closely follow the articulation of the speaker, repeat facial expressions and even gestures.

By mimicking the actor's speech, we can try on different accents and work on the natural sound of the phrase. In addition, words spoken several times will be better stored in our memory — another plus to the work on vocabulary expansion.

Analyze in writing

Yes, you can conclude that watching movies and TV series with writing practice. For example, write a summary, key points or impressions of what you have watched. Of course, it is desirable at this final stage to use the very vocabulary that you have learned while watching the movie. In this way, we practice writing, analyze the results, and additionally consolidate new words and expressions.

Is it possible to master English just by watching movies and TV series?

Don't believe the big headlines on the Internet that convince you that you can learn English quickly and easily just by watching movies and TV series. Although such activities do help us to pump up our language skills, unfortunately, more effort is required in real life.

As we have already found out, movies and TV series only contribute to the development of a few aspects of English. In order to maximize the development of all the necessary skills, it is best to learn English sequentially. Language courses are the ideal solution in this situation.

We would recommend studying English with the ILAC English Academy. The school's experienced teachers will work with you based on your individual needs, and the school's methods will help you improve your language in all areas and aspects.

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  • #English listening