Did you know that movies can teach you to speak real English naturally?  However, to learn with movies you must use the correct technique.  Many students try to learn by simply watching movies and TV shows.  Just watching movies is ineffective because you won’t understand most of what you hear and you will not learn deeply. This article is all about how you can actually learn English by watching films. Read on to find out!

Why learn English with films:   

Watching English films is seriously the most underrated way to learn English. Following are the reasons why:

  1. They give you a taste of real English

Textbooks are great for learning vocabulary or grammar, but nothing is better than listening to real native English. By watching British and American films, you can listen to native English actors speaking the language in a natural way. This will help you learn modern English and sound more like a native speaker in terms of vocabulary and style.

2. You can learn better pronunciation

 Sometimes it can be hard to know how an English word is pronounced. Hearing native speakers in movies will teach you the correct way to say things. Dialogues in films also provide good examples of how sounds in words change in connected speech.

3. Live Context

When you learn a word, it can be difficult to remember what it means or how to use it. In films, words are used as part of a story and this context helps you to learn and remember them more effectively.

4. You will understand native accents

Across Britain and America there are many different accents used to speak English. When watching films, you will hear many regional accents being used and this will help you to understand them better. Textbooks seldom provide information about English accents.

You hear how things are said. In English, people often say that only 7% of our communication is expressed through our words. The rest 93% is all about how you say it. Things like your body language, your expressions (like a smile, a frown) and your tone of voice (like when you sound angry, or when you sound sad) determine how something is spoken effectively.

5. You can explore culture

You can learn about the culture behind the language when you watch movies in English. Language and culture are closely connected. Why not study both at the same time by watching original films?

5 Tips to learn English through movies:

  1. Only choose interesting films!

This sounds obvious, but the most important thing when using films to study English is to watch movies you will enjoy. If you choose a boring film, then you may lose interest and pay less attention to the language it uses! To find interesting films by genre, title, actor/actress or date of release, you can visit IMDB.

2. Avoid movies that are too difficult

When you are watching a film in English, it is important that you understand enough to follow the storyline. Try to choose a movie that suits your current level of English. If you are a beginner, you may want to start with simple cartoons or children’s films, like Toy Story. On the other hand, if you understand 99% of the dialogue between characters in a movie, it may be too easy for you.

3. Aim to understand 70% or more

When learning English with films, you should aim to understand the general meaning and not every single word. Do not worry if you miss some words or phrases or do not understand the accent of a character in a movie. You can pause or rewind the film sometimes and write down new vocabulary, but avoid doing this too often. Remember that watching movies should be fun!

4. Repeat your favourite lines!

If you hear a line that you really like, write it down and repeat it! If you say it aloud, you are more likely to remember it. Sometimes, you will hear phrases that sound cool and are used in everyday English in the UK or America. Textbooks do not usually teach these informal expressions, but movies do!

5. Use subtitles in the right way

When you are watching a film in English, it is a good idea to turn the subtitles on. If you really like a movie, perhaps try watching it once with subtitles and then again without. Avoid subtitles in your own language.

In A Nutshell:

When you learn English with movies or TV, you can learn the real English used by native speakers.  In movies, you’ll get the chance to hear the natural pronunciation, everyday vocabulary, spoken grammar, common idioms, and slang.  Even better, you will learn these from interesting and emotional stories! Therefore, movies (and TV) are a powerful way to improve your English, in an enjoyable way.

About the Author

Indulekha Prabha

My name is Indulekha Prabha. I am an English teacher and a content writer by profession. When I'm not working you can find me writing fiction, reading poetry and painting.

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