Language Learning: Read the Subtitles…or Not

Language Learning: Read the Subtitles…or Not

Before Dek was born I took a few Spanish classes at a local language school. One learning technique the teacher taught us was to watch Spanish soap operas (aka Telenovelas). There was a lot of dialog, but like most English-speaking soap operas, not a whole lot happened.

Even if I could only pick up every 10th word, I was still hearing the language being spoken and getting used to how rapidly native speakers could fire off a phrase. I could put the subtitles on to check my translation, or I could keep it off.

Soap operas are historically dramatic. Anything you didn’t catch from the dialog you could probably figure out through body language. A good slap to the face is always a tell-tale sign that someone has been a bit naughty.

Foreign films are another way to immerse yourself in a new language when you can’t surround yourself with native speakers. Again, you are being exposed to how native speakers express themselves along with the speed and flow of the language in every day conversation; very important if you don’t want the only phrase you use to be “I’m sorry, I don’t understand” when speaking with locals when traveling.

You don’t even have to watch foreign films, although you would definitely be missing out on some amazing movies. You can just switch the language preference on the DVDs and Blue-ray discs you already own.

Keep the subtitles on or don’t depending on the challenge you are looking for. Have fun with it. The better you know the movie in English the more you may find you understand.

What are your favorite foreign films? 

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written by Keryn Means

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