English textbooks have a lot of excellent information, but many textbooks don’t let you learn English naturally. Books are controlled. They are often focused on grammar and vocabulary, which means the language is a bit unnatural.
Grammar is important, but it is also important to learn English naturally, so you can communicate with native speakers in the real world.
After all, you are learning English so that you can use it! At some point, you will need to get your nose out of your books and use English with real people!
Learn English Naturally from Movies
Movies are a fantastic way to learn English naturally. Most of us already watch movies in our free time, but we can combine one of our favorite hobbies with our English studies.
Movies come in a variety of lengths, so everyone can benefit from watching them. Whether you are a beginner, an intermediate level, or an advanced, almost native level of English; movies can help you learn English naturally while you relax at home.
There are a few things you can do to learn English from movies more effectively. Here are some ideas for what you can do before, during, and after you watch a film.
Bring your popcorn and your favorite candy because we’re off to the cinema!
Before you Watch
Watch movies with a story you know
If you are new to watching movies in English, then you should think about beginning with stories you already know. Think about movies you have watched in your native language or even popular fairy tales you already know.
If you watch a movie with a familiar story, then you know the scenes, characters, and conversations. That means you get to relax and focus on the language you’re hearing instead of everything else!
Read the movie summary before you watch
Before you watch a movie for English learning, read the summary of the movie. This will help you understand the story a bit better so that you can increase your understanding of the film.
Watch movies suitable for your English level
Every film uses a different level of English. Some movies use simple language while others use complex language. Some movies have very fast dialogue and others have slower dialogue. You can find lists of movies for different levels of English, or you can ask a friend to give you a suggestion.
Beginners might need to start with classic fairy tales such as Cinderella or The Lion King. Intermediate students can consider mainstream Hollywood films such as The Avengers or the Hairy Potter series. Some films that focus on language such as V for Vendetta might challenge advanced students.
No matter which film you choose; if you start watching it and it’s too difficult, then stop and select another movie. You won’t learn any English if you sit through a movie feeling angry or overwhelmed!
Be careful with accents
I am a native English speaker but even I have problems understanding some English accents! Consider the accents of the movie characters before you start watching.
You might want to watch films specifically with British or American accents so that you can learn the correct pronunciation. On the other hand, you may want to avoid Boston accents from the United States because it may be too difficult for you to understand.
As you become more advanced in English, try to force yourself to watch films with different accents. It’s very important to hear how native speakers speak English, regardless of where they are from. Plus, it will improve your English listening skills!
Pick a movie you will enjoy
Yes, you are watching this film so that you can improve your English, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Choose movies you think you will enjoy watching. Consider romantic comedies, dramas, biographies, documentaries, action films, or horror movies. The genre is not important. Your learning is important!
While you Watch
Bring your dictionary
There may be times when you don’t understand what is being said. Feel free to pause the film and look up the word in your dictionary. However, if you find that you are pausing the film every few minutes or so, you should consider changing the movie to something a bit easier. You might become tired and annoyed if you have to pause the movie so often.
Subtitles are a wonderful way to help you understand the movie plot as well as to understand the words you hear. I suggest that you change your use of subtitles frequently.
Beginners might want to watch movies with English audio and subtitles in their native language. Intermediate students can watch movies in English with English subtitles. Lastly, advanced students might consider no subtitles at all. However, there are no rules! Feel free to change your routine as you progress!
Speak your favorite scenes
We all have favorite movie scenes. Those parts of a movie that make us feel powerful, happy or excited can help us speak English in a natural way.
To do this, select your favorite scene from a movie. Then, speak the dialogue out loud as the actors are talking. This will help you speak English naturally and with the same speed as a native English speaker.
Once you’ve practiced along with the film, try to speak it the same way without the movie playing. See how natural your voice sounds when you copy the dialogue from the scene.
Take notes while you watch
One of the best ways you can learn English naturally from watching movies is to take note of the idioms, slang, and verb phrases used in films. English movies are written by natives and spoken like native English speakers. That means you will hear vocabulary and phrases in context.
You will also be able to discover new phrases you might not find in your textbooks. Write these phrases down when you hear them. If you don’t understand them, ask your teacher or a friend who speaks English.
After you Watch
Talk about the film afterwards
It’s great to watch films with other people because you can talk about them. Usually we talk about the costumes or our favorite action scene. However, when you are using films to learn English, you can talk about the story of the film.
Was there a confusing scene you want to discuss? Perhaps you want to talk more about the personality of the characters. Talking about a film can help you check your own personal understanding of what happened in the movie.
Review your notes
Go back to your notes and review the vocabulary, phrases, and questions you wrote down during the movie. Define every word and answer every question. Then, study the information you put on the paper. Your film notes are just as helpful to your language learning as your textbooks!
Movies can help you improve your English, and they can help you learn natural English used by native speakers every day. They are sometimes fun, often fantastical, but always full of new language you can learn. Have fun exploring films in English, and don’t forget to practice all the new language you learn!