Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi, everybody and welcome back to English Topics. My name is Alisha. Today I'm joined in the studio by…
Davey: I'm Davey.
Alisha: Welcome, Davey. Thanks for joining us. Today, our topic is going to be about how to use movies and music and TV shows to improve your English. So, we're both going to share from our own personal experiences but maybe we're going to share a few things we haven't done, I suppose, but perhaps could help you, or not... Anyway, do you want to start?
Davey: Sure.
Alisha: Alright. What's a way to improve English with music, TV, movies?
Davey: Alright.
Alisha: Any ideas?
Davey: Yes, I do have some ideas. My first recommendation is, use "subtitles in English" as early as possible. This isn't always very easy if you're just starting out learning English. If you're starting out learning English and you're watching movies in English you're probably watching in subtitles of your own language. But, as soon as you're comfortable reading in English and when you're comfortable getting most of what you're listening to in English, I think switching to subtitles in English is really important. Because, I think when people are watching movies and television shows in English, they think that it's really going to improve their listening more than anything else but I think you can improve other skills, too, not only your listening. And so, if you switch to subtitles in English, you're also going to improve your reading. You'll learn to read faster, you'll match the spellings of English words with how they sound and that will really help improve both skills a lot more quickly. And, will help you understand what's going on on-screen.
Alisha: Yeah, actually, I really do agree with that but interestingly enough I put maybe the first step to what you just described, that was one of mine. So, I said, "listen to movies in your target language with your native language subtitles on." So, initially, I was thinking of this as an initial tip. So, to get used to listening to your target language but then being able to familiarize yourself in your native language through using subtitles. But then, after you get comfortable with that, maybe you watch the same movie a few times, for example, you get familiar with the story, with the things that the characters say, then, you can switch to using subtitles and familiarize yourself with the story in a whole new way. So, that can be a really fun way, I think, to practice both your listening and your reading skills.
Davey: I totally agree.
Alisha: I suppose you could even read the subtitles out loud along with the characters, too.
Davey: That's we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Alisha: Oh, my.
Davey: That brings me to--you should have gone first. But, that brings me partly to my second tip which is shadowing. So, you can do this not only with movies and television but with music as well. Basically, just trying to repeat what you hear or what you're reading as you're listening to it on the screen very immediately after you hear it. And so, for example, if you hear a song lyric or a phrase in the movie or TV show, immediately after you hear it, try and repeat it back. That will help kind of improve your speaking, especially, regarding pronunciation and how you connect different words together. Yes.
Alisha: Yep, yep. I had to same one. I had the same point about music. Mine was—mine, in particular, was "memorized song lyrics and sing along." So, I think that gives you an extra sort of way to study if you actually have to read the song lyrics and try to remember them and repeat them back. Sometimes even without the accompaniment of the artist that you're listening to. That can be a good way to practice trying to create or trying to just repeat something without having necessarily like the audio prompt. But, one point, and I was thinking about this as I was writing this card too, it is a little bit tricky. If there is something a little bit different about music and I think this differs from TV shows and movies, sometimes, one, music doesn't always use perfect grammar.
Davey: That's true.
Alisha: And, two, sometimes artists will kind of stretch sounds or artists will kind of change sounds or change emphasis to make the words that they're using match the beat or the rhythm of their song. So, sometimes it's not always the best way to practice your target language. And, one more point, if I can add to that, is that, frankly, a lot of popular music, there are lots of rude words you have to be really careful about. And, there's also just kind of nonsense, too, so you can't expect everything that you hear in music to be exactly the way that people speak but in general, yeah, I think…
Davey: That's exactly right.
Alisha: …in terms of just getting familiar with them, a better--more natural rhythm, it can be a really good tool to use.
Davey: I completely agree.
Alisha: Yeah, okay. So, we're super—
Davey: You set me up, again. My third one.
Alisha: Oh.
Davey: I'm just blending right together.
Alisha: Okay.
Davey: My last point here is "don't believe everything you hear." Specifically, to mean that, yes, not only song lyrics but TV shows and movies often times use imperfect or incorrect grammar as well. And so, you can't always think that that's exactly how something should be said just because you heard it in a song or saw it on TV. So, for example, right now, I'm actually re-watching "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer," I'm a very, very open Buffy fan. And, as I was watching Buffy just today, I realize how they speak on that show isn't really like most people speak English. Especially, that the writers of that show and the characters on that show sort of have their own way of speaking that isn't typical. If you're a learner watching that show or watching other shows, too, you might think that that's how people speak English and hearing vocabulary that you've never heard before but it's just made up for the show. It's only used on the show.
Alisha: So, that's a key point then. So, maybe, if you're going to watch TV, you're going to watch movies to try and study English, maybe like science fiction or fantasy or like historical movies aren't necessarily the best—well, maybe historical movies to some extent, maybe it's good to pick like a modern or a more contemporary thing to study from. Like, I know "Friends" is a really popular TV show. That's comedy, a lot of people like to use that. So, that is a good point, too, I think.
Okay, we actually differed finally on that. I had something totally different. This is something that I actually did when I was studying which is "translate songs you enjoy" or at least try to translate songs that you enjoy. A song is usually, maybe three minutes, four minutes long, and there probably aren't going to be words that entire time and there's going to be some repetition of those words. So, if you can identify, if you can find a song that you like, an artist that you like and maybe there's something that you just love this particular track or whatever it is, if you try to translate that, even if it's not a correct translation, you can still be learning those words and you can still be studying how those words fit together and how maybe you can understand those words in other situations. So, maybe, a word that you've translated in song A, you might hear again in song B, maybe by the same artist or a different artist. So, because you took the time to try to translate it or at least have an idea of what it might mean, you can identify it in a different context, in a different situation. So, this is something that I actually did.
Davey: That's a very good idea.
Alisha: Yeah.
Davey: Yeah.
Alisha: And it was fun.
Davey: I think any time you hear a new word or any time you hear a language that you're studying, you're doing that so that you can use that language in the future in other contexts. And so, that's a really good first step to doing that. Taking what you've learned, trying to translate it and using it in other ways.
Alisha: I think so. Okay, that's all I have. So, you have anything else?
Davey: That's all I have for now.
Alisha: Okay. If you have any other ways that you like to use, music, movies, TV shows, other kinds of media to study English or to study another language, please let us know in the comments. Alright, thanks very much, Davey for joining us. And, thank you, all, very much for watching. If you liked this video, please be sure to like this video. Hit the Like button on this video and subscribe to our channel if you haven't already. And, if you're looking for more detailed lesson information such as the stuff we talked about today, you can check us out at EnglishClass101.com. Thanks very much for joining us for this episode of English Topics and we'll see you again soon. Bye.