Before the popularity of the internet and mobile apps, the cheapest way for people to learn any noteworthy information about a foreign language is by watching TV programs and movies acted in the foreign language of interest.

While it doesn’t offer the ability to learn the nitty-gritty of a language and become a linguistic expert, it allows you have some basic knowledge to be able to make low-level communication in certain scenarios.

Irrespective of the language you desire to learn, whether it’s French, Chinese, Spanish or even Latin, there are movies out there that can teach you basics and sharpen your vocabulary. For example,  If you want a specifically guided list of the best movies to learn Spanish or any other language you desire, you simply need to search through the Internet for it as some website owners have painstakingly combined a suitable list.

However, most people that desire to learn a foreign language from watching TV often focus on how to pronounce specific phrases but are quick to forget about acquitting themselves with possible replies.

I’ve been in situations where I’ll simply nod and smile at a stranger without understanding the answer to questions I asked them. It can be pretty annoying that you just have to stand there while they assume you understand.

But learning a preferred language from watching TV is still a possibility. It’s fun, and can be impactful, so why shouldn’t you learn this way?

Let’s go into more specific details on how to learn a new language by watching TV.

Using Films, Series and Shows to Make your Language Fluent

Movies and TVs offer ways to learn something more about your language of choice. Whether you have a flair for news, documentaries, romance movies, drama etc., you can use them to widen your language vocabulary.

However, you need to apply a considerably significant effort to optimally learn a new language from watching TV. It’s impossible to have in-depth knowledge about any language by simply staring at your TV and switching off your brain. At the same time, there are no benefits from watching a TV showing something you have no clue about.

The 4 Stages of Language Learning through Foreign TV Shows and Movies

To make the process an easy one, it’s best to follow the four intricate stages. Start from stage 1 till you reach stage 4.

Stage 1: Kids’ Films and TV Shows


Introduce yourself to kids-targeted films acted in your preferred language. Why? A good majority of children-focused programs are properly tailored to help children with their vocabulary. The words are spoken in simple and easy-to-understand phonetics with properly depicted visuals, so you can easily understand the events going on.

To make things fun, you can watch the video with your kids, or you can reconnect with your inner child and savour every moment.

Step 2: Comedy

After acquainting yourself to cartoons in your language of interest, you may switch to light comedy videos.

You can opt for Popular American sitcoms as they’re often dubbed to multiple languages, and are very effective in teaching foreign languages.

Most comedies feature physical gestures to further illustrate a descriptive action to the audience. This makes it much easier for non-indigenous speakers to understand what is being said. 

Step 3: Action/Thrillers

Once you’ve learned a lot from comedy videos and sitcoms, you may switch to action, horror and thriller movies.

Action movies are visual and plot-based, so the main plots are often gesticulated by the actors as often as possible. Also, the sound effect of the movie helps you understand the mood with which certain words are being said.

Films like “Star Wars” and CSI exist in numerous formats for different language speakers.

Step 4: Dark Humor or Drama

When you’re ready to switch into the full gear of things, opt for dark humour and drama. These are probably the most difficult for non-indigenous speakers due to their use of sarcasm, puns and slang.

Techniques that can help you learn a foreign language with watching TV 

If you’re willing to optimize your time, you should try some of these techniques out:

Watch a movie at a go

Watching a film at a go helps you to have an apt understanding of the phonetics of a language. Knowing how a language sound is important to fine-tuning your pronunciation and speaking that language.

If you hear a word that you don’t understand and it seems extremely difficult to pronounce, avoid switching to panic mode; going into panic mode only makes it further difficult for you to understand.

With patience and time, you will begin to recognize certain words and phrases. If you suffer from an emotional disorder that makes you easily switch to panic mode, it’s best to opt for a film with subtitle.

Watch an episode at a time  

Every episode of a foreign series contains enough words and phrases for you to learn. Split an episode into short segments, and focus on learning the vocabulary you don’t know in each segment.

A great way to go about this is to write down some 2-3 minutes of the video that includes a lot of dialogue and focus on those small sections. Switch off the subtitles and savour every moment.

At your first attempt, it’s expected that you understand about 40% of the context of a section, and gradually improve as you practice more.

Record Clips and Repeat them

If you have enough time on your hands, you may actually record TV shows using recording tools.

Practice Pronunciation and Speaking

Now that you’ve recorded the TV Show you want, you can now begin to imitate specific pronunciation and phrases.

First, repeat certain words, and then do the same for the phrase. Focus on imitating the specific word sound. By word-sound, we mean the combination of how a compendium of words sound when they’re arranged together.

After repeating each phrase, you should make a recording of yourself and compare how you pronounce words to how the natives in the movie pronounce them. A good way to sharpen your pronunciation is by repeating the pronunciation till you sound exactly like a native. If you have a native speaker around, you can ask them to help you judge how well you pronounce your word sounds.

Sites to Check for Foreign Language TV Series and Movies

The internet provides you with an opportunity to access a huge variety of series and films. Some common platforms for doing that include:

  • Amazon Prime
  • Netflix
  • Beeline TV
  • SubsMovies
  • LosMovies
  • SnagFilms
  • YouTube etc


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