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Localization manager/translator and coach/intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about diversity management and intercultural communication, self-awareness and coaching, SFBT and NVC, languages, cultures, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free keto food and good movies. How about you?
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Monday, December 9, 2013

How to learn a foreign language while watching movies

A good way for learning a foreign language is watching movies in that language, no matter if in original version with or without subtitles. The subtitles offer a lot of different solutions and combinations, for that matter.

Let's use a German movie as an example. What about Good Bye Lenin! or Run Lola Run?

[Good Bye Lenin! (2003) by Wolfgang Becker 
with Daniel Brühl and Katrin Saß]

While watching the movie in German, we would have at least these options to choose from:
#1. German version without subtitles;
#2. German version with subtitles in German;
#3. German version with subtitles for hearing impaired in German (if available);
#4. German version with subtitles in English;
#5. German version with subtitles for hearing impaired in English (if available);
#6. German version with subtitles in your native tongue, if different from English (Italian, in my case);
#7. German version with subtitles for hearing impaired in your native tongue (if available);
#8. German version with subtitles in another foreign language you would love to improve as well (French or Spanish, in my case);
#9. German version with subtitles for hearing impaired in another foreign language you would love to improve (if available).

You got the point, right?

While watching the movie, paying attention to the story and reading the subtitles at the same time, it will be easier for you to remember certain words or idiomatic expressions, to focus on the pronunciation, to understand in which occasions you should say something like that. Or in which occasions you shouldn't say something like that at any cost. 

It all depends on you and on which aspect of this method could be the most interesting and useful for you.
I like for example to discover new idiomatic expressions and figures of speech while seeing immediately in the movie when and how I should use them.

 [One funny German expression I learned from a movie?
 Holla die Waldfee!,
old-fashioned way for meaning What a surprise!]

You can mix the combinations, you can opt for subtitles in your native tongue or in English if you are a little tired or the movie is a difficult one, you can switch to the subtitles in the movie language or in your second (or third...) foreign language if you are familiar with the subject or if you know the book or the comic or that special book-to-film adaptation.

What about you?
Do you watch movies in another language for improving your language skills? In which combination?

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Tags: Holla die Waldfee, Learning a foreign language, Idiomatic expression, German, How to express surprise, Movies with subtitles