Learn English through Movies and Film: A Complete Guide
What’s the most fun way to learn English?
If you’re tired of going to class or reading a book, there’s nothing better than learning English through movies and film.
Learning a foreign language is already hard. And the culture is different from your own. So sometimes, you might have trouble understanding what actors are saying, or what they’re doing on the screen.
So today, I want to share a few tips with you on learning English with movies. They’ll help you learn helpful new words and phrases, but also enjoy watching movies at the same time.
Okay, let’s start!
Perhaps you’re still wondering if you can still learn any English by watching movies.
After all, watching movies is supposed to be fun, right? So, how can you learn while having so much fun with the film? And more importantly, why you learn English with movies instead of with textbooks?
Here are three reasons I believe it works, and why I recommend learning the language this way.
The English you learn through textbooks or in ESL class is not what you’ll hear people say. For example, in beginner English classes, you might have learnt how to say “it’s a quarter to seven” or “it’s raining cats and dogs”. While these are correct, we almost say these in real life.
In contrast, the English spoken in movies is very natural. It’s also very close to what you’ll hear if you speak with native English speakers too. This will help improve your spoken English.
This is one of my favourite aspects of watching movies. Let’s say that you like watching crime films (these are great!). After watching ten or twenty movies, you’ll start to learn vocabulary related to the context, or subject, of crime.
Usually, when we learn words traditionally (e.g. in school), we study things like vocabulary lists. The problem with learning new words with vocabulary lists is that you can learn what words mean, but not and they are used.
For example, let’s say you learn the new word “detective”. From the dictionary, you’ll know what that it means “a person who investigates crimes”. But unless you use it, it can be easy to forget. It also doesn’t give you an idea the word is used most frequently, and it is used.
On the other hand, if you learn the word “detective” through watching crime films, you’ll know “detective” can mean many things. For example, it can be a title in front of a person (e.g. “Detective Beckett”). Or maybe it’s the noun referring to the job (e.g. he’s a detective). And maybe you’ll even hear things that will let you form opinions about the word (e.g. “you lousy detectives”).
This way, you won’t learn each word means, you will also know it’s used.
Killing two birds with one stone.
You will never be able to do that through textbooks.
In English, people often say that 30% of what we say is expressed through our words.
So what about the other 70%?
Well, the other 70% is all about you say it. You know, things like your expressions (like a smile, a frown) and your tone of voice (like when you sound angry, or when you sound sad).
As you can guess, the is usually more important than the to English people.
Let me give you an example.
I’m sure that one of the first phrases you wanted to learn in English was “I love you”. But did you imagine that depending how you say it out loud, it can be very different?
“I you” – you might hear this after two people (especially lovers) fight! One person may be trying to say to the other person “I love you…why don’t you believe me!?”
“I love a person might really want to say “I love (and not anyone else…don’t worry!)
“I…LOVE…YOU” – this might be a person saying “I love you” in a very loud voice…while trying to really confess their love!
“I LOVE YOU!!” – the person might be saying “I love you”…while they’re really angry!
As you can see – if you try to learn this by reading – you might have been confused. Even though the four phrases are written differently, they use the same words.
But if you these phrases out loud, they will make perfect sense to you!
Knowing someone is saying is important. But knowing they are saying it is even more important. We call understanding the “how” the of the English language.
Through observing actors in films, not only will you be able to learn new words, you will be able to understand they are said. The characters might be sad, happy, surprised, angry. And you’ll understand this immediately.