OLYA SAZONOVA FOR MARIE CLAIRE: HOW TO LEARN ENGLISH THROUGH MOVIES?
Why it works
Firstly, you have the opportunity to plunge into the modern English, observing the native speakers’ conversations (even if it’s on screen). You memorize modern words and collocations, and you see how they function in the context. This means you will be able to use them next time.
Secondly, plots of modern movies and series are mini patterns of real-life situations. You watch how people say hello and goodbye, how they ask somebody out on a date, have job interviews, discuss major issues, offer each other coffee and many other things.
Thirdly, you perceive the accent and you begin to understand fluent speech. The most important here is collocation “fluent speech”. It doesn’t mean just “rapid speech”. It means “rapid and coherent speech”, when the words flow, some syllables and endings are reduced, and many words are shortened. Particularly while watching movies in the original version, you have the great opportunity to analyze it all and to hear it distinctly.
Those movies translated into Russian lose their charm because of dubbing. Real voices of your favorite actors help you to embrace their acting even more, and give you a chance to experience entirely different feelings about the movie.
Guidelines to follow
Start a movie book
A copybook for words and phrases from the movies - My Movie Book – will be helpful. To tell the truth, the beginners will tend to wright down all the new words right away. But at this stage it’s important to learn to “slow down” and to pick up only the most interesting things. Because your goal is to learn useful words and expressions, but not to bury yourself under loads of lexical units.
Turn on subtitles
Watch movies with English subtitles and feel the doubled benefits: reading plus listening. Do not turn on Russian subtitles. It is self-deception, but not studying: you will not do anything but read all the movie in Russian. And besides, simultaneous translation does not always correspond directly to the words said.
Break the movie into 10-15 min fragments. At the first viewing press “stop” and write down separate words and phrases in your Movie Book, those which have seemed to you the most significant and which you could tell someone. After the first viewing re-read all the written-down phrases and watch the reviewed piece once again. You will notice that the speech sounds clearer, and the plot becomes more distinct – you distinguish by ear the written-down phrases and you remember them.
You will need 1-1,5 hours for such work, therefore it will take about a week to watch the first feature film in English.
The last day of the week you will be able to review the movie without subtitles already, to understand the plot and to catch many of the learned words and phrases.
Repeat after the actors
Repeat the dialogues after the characters. Choose a moment from the movie and try to speak the text together with the characters at their speed, reading the text from the subtitles. Yes, at first it will be difficult, but regular exercises will help you to develop fluency.
Write down what you hear
After gaining experience in viewings, try to write down by ear the dialogues from 1-2-minute pieces of the movie (at the same time turn off the English subtitles). Turn on the subtitles and check the correctness of your option. This a very useful exercise for developing of the fluent speech perception by ear.
If you watch 3-4 movies a month, working on them in such a way, you will notice for sure how your knowledge has extended. Next month it will be within your powers to get through at least the same number of movies, and work with them will go much easier.
Text by Olya Sazonova, www.govori-project.com
This article was written by Olya Sazonova exclusively for Marie Claire Russian edition.