Learn English with Movies: Does it really work?

April 18, 2017

Have you ever shied away from learning a new language? Shuddered at the thought of reading another language text book? I know I have. But are there any easier, less-stressful ways to learn English? From the comfort of your sofa with snacks in hand perhaps? Well, you’re in luck! This blog explores the pros (and cons) of learning English through movies.

How to Get the Most out of Watching a British Movie

The best, most productive way to learn English (or any language for that matter) through movies, is to do the following:

  • Choose your movie cleverly

It’s important to pick a movie to match your English language proficiency level. For example, if you are just beginning to learn English, opt for movie which won’t be too taxing (you don’t want to bamboozle yourself too much!), such as a children’s film. These kind of films will be easier to follow and great fun to watch!

  • Turn on the subtitles

Don’t worry, it’s not considered cheating if you watch the movie with subtitles! In fact, we actively encourage it. So, turn on the subtitles and see your English reading skills soar.

Tips for watching a movie with subtitles:

  • Watch the movie with subtitles in your native tongue.
  • Watch the movie again, but this time using subtitles in the foreign language. This will test both your English listening and reading skills.
  • Watch the movie again with subtitles in the foreign language to reaffirm all you have learned.


The Notebook (2004)

Learn English with Movies: The Pros

  1. Helps you develop a variety of English language skills

When you learn English through movies, you don’t just develop one skill, you develop three: English listening, reading and speaking.

  1. Provides you with an extra helping hand

Watching a movie, particularly one with subtitles, provides you with a crutch that doesn’t exist in real-life situations. When you watch a movie in this way, your understanding of the language is aided by visual prompts, such as body language, and written speech. This allows you to learn English in a calm, stress-free manner.

  1. Teaches you about British culture

In addition to widening your vocabulary and improving your overall English language skills, learning English through movies also teaches you about British culture: how Brits behave and live day-to-day.


Learn English with Movies: The Cons

  1. You only get a snapshot of the English language

It is near impossible for a film to cover the intricacies of the English language. Instead, when you learn English through movies, you will learn about a specific part of the language. This is largely dependent upon the genre of film you choose. For example, if you choose to watch a ‘romcom’ (romantic comedy) such as Bridget Jones, you will learn a lot of English vocabulary to do with journalism and romance, while a fantasy film such as The Jungle Book, will teach you the British words for animals and the jungle.

  1. Films are fabricated/man-made

Although British films help to give you an insight into how people behave, speak and live in England, they are, on the whole, fabricated scenarios. As such, you cannot take everything you see and hear in movies as gospel.


Can you Learn English through Movies?

The more you expose yourself to the English language, the more you will pick up and the better your proficiency will be. When you choose to watch a movie in English rather than your native tongue, you are exposing yourself to the language and enhancing your understanding of it.

If you are passionate about learning English and would like a helping hand, check out our fantastic range of tailor-made English courses or contact us today.