I know that many students and teachers frequently say “We should watch English movies. We should watch English movies all the time.” However, nobody talks about tips or advice on how to effectively watch movies in English.
In this post, I am going to tell you how to watch films in English and get maximum results. OK? Stay with me!
First of all, please keep in mind that it is normal…
…if you don’t understand.
Always keep in mind that the audience for a Hollywood movie is not the language learner, but the native speaker. In other words, they do not ask their actors and actresses to speak English clearly without using any regional slang, professional and cultural phrases, expressions or idioms. Most American movies are full of expressions, phrases and sayings that are only known in specific states and cities. So, do not worry if you do not understand. Take your time. Keep watching and keep learning.
Bottom line: Do not give up. Keep watching. Keep learning.
…if it seems that they speak fast.
Well, of course they seem to speak fast. It’s normal to speak at a high speed in your native language. I’m sure you do not always notice just how fast you yourself can speak in your language. So, it is normal. Do not get trapped. Being that you probably did not start listening to English speech in your childhood, your brain is not structured for receiving information in a completely foreign language. So keep going and never, ever stop watching films in English. When I was a student, I watched English movies over the course of one year without understanding many things that were said.
Bottom line: Expect that they will speak fast. However, you can always train yourself to understand.
…if you feel like your English is rubbish.
I know that when you listen to native speakers speaking English, whether it is in real life or in the movies, you may sometimes think your English level is desperately low. But guess what? It is normal. You may have wanted to learn today and to start speaking perfect English tomorrow. However, everything will come step by step. Do not forget that most of those actors and actresses in Hollywood movies are Americans or people who have been living in the United States for many years. Of course they speak perfect English. But, you do not have to get discouraged by it. It is just a matter of time. I have never lived in the US or the UK, but I speak English no worse than any native speaker would.
Bottom line: See learning English as a step-by-step process. And smile.
OK? Now you understand that the feelings listed above are normal and will happen. So, let’s get down to business.
Let’s find out how to watch movies in English as effectively as possible.
Tip #1: Watch educationally tailored films in the beginning
These are the kinds of movies that are specially created by a group of English teachers or specialists at Cambridge and/or Oxford Universities. For example, if you happen to use the Headway course books, then you most probably know they have fifteen to twenty minute videos that are short and sweet. Watch them… all of them… one by one because they are designed for English language learners like you and they come in different levels (Elementary and Pre-Intermediate for example). They are excellent sources of videos because you will understand most of the words they say, and this will help you become even more interested in learning English.
Bottom line: Start with easier videos.
Tip #2: Watch movies you’ve already watched in your own language
Being that you already know what will happen in the story and what the main characters will talk about, it will be much easier for you to watch and understand as many words as possible. Alternatively, watch the video in your own language first, and then watch it in English. You will see the results very quickly. What I love about this method is that you will learn to think and speak in real English because most of the time, students translate their ideas from their mother language into English. This is wrong. Use this method, and you will see that when you expect the actors say “one” in your language, they say the word “one” in a completely different way in English.
Bottom line: First watch English movies in your own mother language.
Tip #3: Avoid watching highly technological and scientific movies
For this tip, just think: how will you be able understand the highly technological phrases and slang used in such movies? How? I would not recommend watching technical films because even when you watch such movies in your own language, it’s possible to not understand them because they contain too much terminology and so on. So, play it safe at the beginning and avoid such films.
Bottom line: Watching such films may kill your enthusiasm and spirit for learning.
Tip #4: Watch films with an easy plot and a predictable ending
You should watch films which have a fairly clear plot and a predictable ending. Such movies include Mrs. Doubtfire, Speed, Home Alone, Richie Rich and so on. You may say they are old. Yes, they are old. So what? Remember… what is your goal? Watching the latest Hollywood films or learning English by watching movies? Besides, even today you can find such films. Just take your time and search. It is just matter of time and searching.
Bottom line: Watch simple films. They will not create a big headache.
Akmal recently created an e-book to help English learners succeed faster. It can be downloaded at http://www.englishclubpro.com/