A few months ago we shared an article with you in which we explained that listening to music in English is one of the best ways to learn a language while having a great time. Well, let me tell you that the same thing happens with cinema! Everybody likes watching movies and it can be a perfect activity to improve your level of English.
However, it is true that one of the biggest disadvantages of students coming from Spanish or Portuguese speaking countries is that almost all films are dubbed in their mother tongue. It is a situation we have been born into and to which we have been accustomed all our life so it becomes a very difficult habit to change. But it is something that it is worth investing your time in, because in the long term you will appreciate it. Believe me!
In addition, watching films in the original language is great because you will hear the English language as it is spoken naturally and you will improve not only your pronunciation but also learn a lot of new vocabulary, expressions and even the slang and accent of different countries. Cool, isn’t it?
So you need to know how to start, so that it does not become a tiresome task or one you dread because in the end the goal is to learn and enjoy at the same time!
1 –Choose a film that you have already watched with an easy plot. Leave the complex stories for later; at the beginning you need something simple. My suggestion is to watch the classic Disney movies, like The Lion King or The Beauty and the Beast. You know already what the story is about so you can focus on the language, the vocabulary and the expressions.
2 –Use subtitles in ENGLISH. Forget about selecting subtitles in Portuguese, Spanish or whichever is your mother language. You are learning English, aren’t you? So you need everything in that language without exceptions! I know, at the beginning it can be difficult, but you will see that the second film is not that hard, and the third is even easier, and so on.
3 –Take note of the words you don’t understand and check them in the dictionary at the end of the film. You don’t need to stop the film every time you don’t understand a word, because otherwise you will never finish and the activity will turn into something boring! I think is better to make a list of the words that you do not know their meaning, and when you finish you take your dictionary and you translate them.
After following these steps a few times you will realise that every time the task gets easier. Then, you can try with more difficult plots or even watch a movie without subtitles. Don’t panic if you don’t understand everything, it is normal! You have to have a very advanced level to understand every single word and sentence. Always remember that it takes time.
A few suggestions
Can’t think of any movie to start with? I’ll recommend a few!
Any Disney movie
Harry Potter saga
Try short clips
If you don’t feel confident to watch an entire film from the beginning to the end, I suggest you search out short clips of movies and practice with them. The YouTube channel Exciting English offers videos with small segments of popular movies to practice your English Listening by listening to the clip first without subtitles, after with subtitles, reviewing the most important vocabulary in it, and watching the original clip again. It is a great and entertaining activity. Try it!