Movies and films give more than just entertainment. Watching foreign language movies is a fun, motivating way to improve language skills. While enjoying a movie, you can be immersed into authentic and varied language, the visual context and new expressions that you may not find in a textbook. Below are some ways that watching English movies can help you to learn English, and guide you how to get the most out of this technique.
How watching movies helps to improve your English skills
1. Listening skills
Watching movies is a great way to boost your listening skills. You will hear English used in a natural way, informal English, slag words and phrases you do not often find in books or dictionaries.
2. Speaking skills
Repeating what you hear on the screen can go a long way towards improving your speaking skills, from your fluency, words linking, pronunciation, to correct intonation.
3. Vocabulary and grammar
You will have chance to learn many words, phrases and grammar and how they are used in real life.
Watching movies and films, obviously helps to improve your English. However, while some can use this technique effectively, many people find it difficult. For example, there are no subtitles; they have to keep on pausing and playing to understand; they find it difficult to take notes while enjoying the movie; they are not sure whether they can remember these words after.
So how can learning English through movies be made enjoyable and effective?
1. Enjoy them
You don’t need to understand everything. If you try too hard, it will be frustrating experience studying the language. Instead, try catching words and grammar points you already know and those you are not familiar with. You can pause and replay when you find something interesting or if you want to verify something. It is easier and time-saving if you have both English subtitles in your mother language. Since not all films have these, you can check the movie transcripts.
2. Re-watching, listening and shadowing
Re-watch your favorite films, and replay your favorite scenes. The more you re-watch, the more you can focus on the speech because you already know what is happening in every scene. Instead of focusing on what is happening, you can give more attention to what you hear. If you don’t have time to re-watch the movie, then listen to the film audio. You can rip audio from films, save them as Mp3 files, and play them while doing other things. Also, mimic the way the actors say the lines by repeating them. You can look at the transcripts while doing so.
3. Use movies to reinforce what you have learned from textbook lessons
You can remember lots of new words and grammar through watching movies. Just compile transcripts of your favorite films in a single document. For new words and grammar that you meet in the lessons from your ELICOS courses, you can find them in the script, then check when and how they are used in different scenes in the film. To better remember the words and grammar, you can re-watch, and listen to the audio, color-note the script lines of the scenes that have the words you are studying and repeat them. Repeat and act out the scenes until you can recite and understand them without looking at the transcript and your notes.
In a nut shell
Learning English through movies is an enjoyable and effective strategy to improve your language skills. Don’t stress yourself too much! Just enjoy watching movies, re-watch, listen and mimic your favorite movies and scenes. The subtitles and transcripts are also a great help. By so doing, you may be amazed at your language improvement as time goes by!