Most people want to learn a language other than their native tongue, and some would love to be a polyglot - rattling off Spanish, French, and German. In most cases, people across the world would just love to learn English to communicate with the rest of the globe.
While imperialism is a thing of the past, the efforts of the British to colonize the known world did leave behind something positive - the English language. As a language, English does form a universal bridge among people across the world, letting people communicate their ideas regardless of location.
Hollywood movies and series provide entertainment to billions across the globe who watch movies and series regardless of how well they understand English. If you, like other people, would like to learn English, you might want to look into movies as the best teacher.
How does watching movies help one pick up conversational English?
It is known that at least half of human communication is non-verbal, including body language, facial expression, and hand gestures. A smaller component of communication is the speech, intonation and the words actually used. This makes movies the fastest way to learn conversational English because there is the context of the words that are used, in real-time, with the right pronunciation, intonation, and native accent.
However, you need to remember that movies can't be the only form of learning. You can benefit greatly from the structure that comes from an online or in-person coach. Movies and series can be used as a highly efficient tool that is fun and effective.
a. Watch English movies and series with subtitles.
These days, most movies come with sub-titles that tell you what the actor is saying in the language of your choice. Most Hollywood movies come with English subtitles and they will help you pick up correct grammar and sentence structure.
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In case you are an absolute beginner, you can start by watching movies with subtitles in your native tongue. If you already know how to speak and want to get fluent, you should watch Hollywood movies with the English subtitles turned on. Just make sure you pick out something that you really like, so that you don't stop watching midway.
Since I am comfortable with English I thought I could try and pick up a few phrases of Spanish by watching Money Heist. It surprised me how much I could pick up just by watching a few episodes with the original audio.
b. Choose your English movie/series according to the US/UK or Australian accent.
English is a versatile language and has different pronunciations, spelling, and expressions according to the region of the world in which it is spoken.
In case you are moving to the UK, you should be able to grasp the British accent therefore it is better to watch movies or series that are set in the UK.
Examples: Series: The Crown, Downtown Abbey, Luther.
Movies: The Dig, Yesterday, Harry Potter
If you need to interact with colleagues from the USA, you will need to watch Hollywood movies set in the US.
The same goes for Canada, Australia, and so on.
c. Watch the movie in the theaters with friends who are native speakers.
Adding a social element to learning English will definitely accelerate learning and make things a lot more fun. You can tag along with your friends to the latest movie that's released and have a great time while learning a few words, phrases, and references that you wouldn't have learned on your own.
d. Take an online course to structure your learning.
While it might be tempting to watch movies and series back to back and say you have mastered the English language, it is better to take up a free or paid course to structure learning.
Taking on a good online course that helps you learn conversational English will help you learn the right way. There will be learning objectives in the course that will help you set learning goals and achieve them. It will also prevent you from getting side-tracked from your language learning goals.
In case you have thought of improving your conversational English this article might help you get there faster. In case you are already in the process of learning how to speak better let me know where you are in the process!
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