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How to Improve Your English While Watching Movies

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Outside the classroom, there are so many ways to continue learning English. Most of them are fun activities that you already do! Recently, we explored reading English books, plays and stories to improve your language. Now, let’s take it a little further and look at the benefits of watching movies in English. Not just this, but specifically English movies with English subtitles.

How Movies Benefit Your English

To begin with, we all enjoy watching movies and by doing something you enjoy, you are more likely to remember it. So yes, you may think that watching them in English with subtitles of your native language is as beneficial, but it’s not. At least not to the same extent. This is because watching in English with English subtitles will help you to learn the sound, familiarise the word and thereby making it easier to recognise in future. So, in the space of one movie, you learn new vocabulary, pronunciation, context and conversation.

What Are the Best Ones to Watch?

Going back to my previous point, it should be something you enjoy. If fiction is your thing, go for it. Romance, action, war, kid’s movies, they’re all worthwhile because what they have in common is, they’re teaching you how to speak and how to listen, naturally. Movies are littered with slang and idioms and these are a wonderful way to naturalise your own speech. With this kind of learning, you’ll be speaking English like a native before you know it!

For Beginners, Keep It Simple

Kids movies are a really great way to start watching movies in English. Favourites like “Aladdin” and “Toy Story” will be all the easier because they are familiar stories. They also have a smooth-running dialogue throughout and are easy to understand. If you have seen a movie already in your own language, then it makes the English version easier to understand. Due to the familiarity of the story, you’ll be figuring out what words mean to suit what you already know.

For Creative Dialogue, Watch These Movies

If you’re feeling confident with your English, or maybe in the mood for a challenge, try these. “The Big Lebowski” is a one-of-kind movie, with a funny, unique dialogue style. The main character, The Dude, delivers excellent, quotable phrases such as, ‘Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.’ “Pulp Fiction” offers plenty of fantastic dialogue too, with short, smart exchanges between the lead characters.

Vincent: “…and you know what they call a, uh, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?”
Jules: “They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?”
Vincent: “Nah, man, they got the metric system, they wouldn’t know what… a Quarter Pounder is.”
Jules: “What do they call it?”
Vincent: “They call it a Royale with Cheese.”
Jules: A “Royale with Cheese.”
Vincent: “That’s right.”

For Colloquial English, Choose These Titles

You may or not be aware that different countries or regions have different ways of speaking English. This is in terms of the slang they use, little turns of phrase and idioms and colloquialisms (language used in familiar conversation). Depending on where you’re studying English abroad, these can all vary from Ireland to the UK to the US to Australia and New Zealand. A nice introduction to these, or to practice hearing them, these are a few useful titles. For Irish based learners, “Sing Street” is ideal. “Love Actually” is perfect for UK English and accents. English students in the US should try “(500) Days of Summer”. All these titles are fun to watch, and the language is entertaining while challenging enough to teach you plenty.

Now you have the perfect excuse to watch movies. Put on plenty of popcorn, or whatever your favourite movie snack is, and get comfortable. If anyone accuses you of wasting time, just remember this article and how every movie you watch is essentially, a couple of hours worth of study! You could even invite some friends from your course over and turn the night into a group activity for learning English together.

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