How i learned English from watching movies

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Movies are a great medium for learning a new language; here is how they helped me become fluent in English.

Follow your (film) interests
I learned English as a byproduct of my interest in American culture and cinema. More specifically, I enjoyed real-life stories and indie dramas that didn’t have a lot of plot but realistically portrayed how people live. One of my favorite such movies is Your Sister’s Sister with Emily Blunt.

Letting yourself get carried away by your interests is key to learning English from movies. Don’t ask “how can I learn English?” (yet), ask “what English-language movies would I be interested in?” Some people like horror, others documentaries; some people prefer British comedy to American, etc. It depends on each person. Answering this question is key to your English learning journey.

Turn on the (right) subtitles
It goes without saying that you need to turn on subtitles in your mother tongue to learn from movies at the beginning. What is key here is making sure you enjoy movie watching, and for this you need to understand said movies. 

Many people assume that to learn English you need to watch English movies with English subtitles. In my experience, this takes away the fun from watching the film as each new word you don’t understand will look like a giant obstacle in front of you.

Repeat your favorite expressions
I would always find myself mumbling DeNiro’s “You talkin’ to me?” or Jack Nicholson’s “Here’s Johnny!” to myself. The reason I did this was because these expressions were fun to say, but in the way I was improving my pronunciation and speaking skills.

Organize your time to watch more movies
I’ve always been a big proponent of watching at the very least one movie a week (Sunday is my personal movie night). It’s simple, the more movies you watch, the more you’ll learn.

Start with a weekly movie night. If you don’t have a big TV to watch movies, no problem. Watch on your phone, computer or laptop and just enjoy the film. If you develop a passion for film, you will find yourself watching more. The key is to watch consistently.

Watch the same movies more than once
Try watching a movie twice or more. I’ve always found that doing this helped me understand the movie better and improve my listening skills.

Most of the movies I watched were through a channel called “MBC2”, which played American movies 24/7. I couldn’t choose which movies to watch (and they didn’t have a lot of money to license new movies), so I ended up watching some movies many times over.

You probably have access to a much more practical way to watch movies. Pick your favorite actors, directors or writers and let yourself become obsessed with their work. Usually, movies you want to watch more than once are good movies. And good movies make learning English fun.

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