“5 Ways” Learning Tips

Movies are a great resource for language learning.

A good movie is a work of art – it is a creative way to tell a story, it evokes a strong emotional response, and it provides some original examples of human interaction and language.

But to learn English from movies, you have to use a system to get the most out of the film. Here are some tips.

1. Choose a movie in English you really like

(We recommend some movies in our movies Resource section on Lingual.net.)   Buy a copy of the movie – either through a streaming source (like Netflix) or get a DVD of the movie.  You need to “own” the movie so you can watch several times.

2. Get a copy of the screenplay (the script)

 Many movie screenplays are available for free online (check out International Movie Script Database.).  The script will help you “get into” the movie.  And it will help you build your grammar and vocabulary.

3. Watch in chunks

Watch one scene at a time. Repeat the scene at least twice.  Watch one time with subtitles.  Pause as many times as wish. Keep a separate notebook or note pad for your movie. After you watch a scene, take notes:  What happened?  What was one key line? What are some new words or expressions you learned? 

4. Shadow one character

After you watch a scene, choose one character and repeat their lines as you listen.  Try to imitate the speed, the rhythm, the intonation.

5. Write a movie review

After you have finished watching the whole movie – maybe after a week or two – write a review of the movie.  First, describe the story in detail:  What happened in each part of the movie (from beginning to end).  Then, write your opinions of the story:  What did you learn?  What did you like or dislike about the movie.