Learning English isn’t all about turning the pages of the dictionary and memorizing the grammar rules. To get your brain used to the language and get a proper idea of how words are used in a sentence, you must listen to others speaking English too. You must perceive the way it is spoken in daily life. One of the best ways to do that is by watching English movies. However, simply watching and not understanding anything won’t do; you have to apply some certainty techniques. Let me guide you on how.
- Start with children’s movies: Children’s movies typically use simpler vocabulary in order to make them accessible to the younger audience. They are also generally not that complex, so even if you don’t understand what’s being said, you might get an idea about what’s going on from the scene that is playing. If you are fairly old, you might think that children’s movies would be boring to watch. But that’s not the case at all! These movies often have fun storylines and meaningful messages. It’s also a good opportunity to revisit the nostalgic days of childhood!
- Note down new words: As a learner of English, or any language in general, you must always maintain a vocabulary diary. When watching a movie, you might come across a word you have never heard before or don’t know the exact meaning of. Quickly write them down in the diary, and check the dictionary for the meaning, then write that down as well. It is better if you note them alphabetically so that it’s easy to find them when you need them. For example, here, you can check out positive words beginning with P.
- Watch with subtitles: Subtitles are a blessing, and you better make the most out of them. Most movie streaming sites come with subtitles options, so you won’t have any difficulty finding them. Watching an English movie with English subtitles is like hitting two birds with one stone: you can improve both your listening and reading skills. You might not understand some words when it’s spoken because of accents, but you will understand them when you read them. And it will also be easier for you to detect new words that way.
You can choose to pause the movie to read the subtitles in the beginning. But don’t make it a habit, as it will not only ruin the experience but also make you lose your chance of improving your reading speed. If you find it difficult to keep up with both listening and reading English at the same time, you can also choose to watch a non-English movie with English subtitles. That way, you will only focus on the reading. Again, you can watch the movie once with subtitles and then rewatch it without them soon after, which will help you listen and understand even better.
- Choose movies of your generation: Suppose you are in your 40s, but you have chosen a movie about teens living in the 2010s. There is definitely a generational gap over here. The reason this can make your English learning harder is that every generation has their own set of slang that they use on a regular basis. The current younger generation has a lot more slang than previous generations did. So the way they speak to each other might be difficult for you to fully understand. You can, however, choose to watch such movies to learn those slang after you have developed a certain level of proficiency.
- Watch with a native speaker: Having a native speaker or someone who is good in English by your side while watching the movie will help you a lot. Not only because it will make watching the movies more enjoyable, but also because you can converse in English with them and practice your speaking skills. Make comments about the characters and the events, or ask them directly about unusual phrases.
- Don’t be stressed if you don’t see the results immediately: Learning a language is a long process that requires a lot of patience. You will fail many times, and it will make you stressed. Well, stress is never good, so you should reduce it as much as possible. Instead, have more patience and maintain consistency in your practice and learning.