12 ways that TV series can help you learn English!
1. There’s a lot of conversation, so you’ll be learning lots of useful spoken language. Also, the dialogues are often short and easy to follow.
2. Watching a TV series is great for your listening ability, which is THE key skill in language learning. Once you can listen and understand, you’ll learn English easily and effortlessly.
3. By watching a TV series, you’ll hear English in context, so you’ll see how and when the language is used. And although the dialogues have been scripted, they’re designed to sound as natural and authentic as possible.
4. TV series are often entertaining and funny, which will keep you motivated. And those that aren’t comedies are full of drama, suspense and tension, which will make you want to watch them. Finally, the episodes are usually short (often about 30- 40 minutes) so you won’t get bored.
5. Once you find a series that you like, you’ll have hours of viewing and learning practice as there are often more than 12 episodes (at least) per season in most series.
6. If you buy the box set, you can watch the TV series when you like and as many times as you like. Plus, if you’ve got the DVDs, you can put subtitles on in English (or your own language), and pause or rewind when you want.
7. The characters in the series are often based on typical people from the UK or US. So, when you watch the TV series, you’ll learn a lot about British or American people and culture.
8. Words and expression are often repeated in TV series by the same characters. This is great because repetition of these terms means that you’ll learn them more easily.
9. By watching and listening, you’ll be learning how to pronounce the words and expressions. But on top of that, you’ll also learn about other features of pronunciation such as intonation, connected speech and linking sounds, as well as any other forms of language such as sarcasm and irony.
10. As you’re watching, you’ll be able to use the actors’ body language and facial expressions to help you understand what they’re saying.
11. TV series have the same characters and similar story ideas in their episodes, so you can often predict what’s going to happen. In fact, these prediction strategies (which you use in your own language), will help you guess what someone is going to say, the conclusion to the story, and even how a sentence is going to end.
12. Best of all, you’ll be learning English without even realising it. Once you become a fan of the series, you’ll forget that you’re watching it to improve your English, and you’ll focus more on the storyline. And before you know it, you’ll have been exposed to hundreds of English language structures, words, phrases and expressions which you’ll absorb naturally. It’s simple: you receive the language, you process it and you learn it – just as you did with your first language.
Learning English by watching TV series is a lot of fun… and it’s great for your language development.
Go for it!
Our top tips for watching an English language TV series:
■ Always have the audio set to English.
■ If you’re having difficulties, put the subtitles on in English, or watch the series in your own language first, and then in English.
■ Accept that it’ll be hard at first, but you’ll soon get used to it. Your listening skills will improve naturally after hours of watching English.
■ Repeat out loud any words or expressions that you like – this’ll help you remember them.
■ Keep a notebook or piece of paper handy so you can write down any words or expressions that you want to memorise.
■ Watch about 15 minutes a day (or more if you want), but whatever you do, make sure it’s a regular thing.
■ Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything – we don’t even do that in our own languages. What we do is hear a bit and then use prediction strategies to fill in the gaps.
Copyright © 2014 by Hot English Publishing
key adj = important / essential
effortlessly adv = if you do something “effortlessly”, you do it without working hard – it’s easy for you
in context exp = if you see a word “in context”, you see it in a sentence/phrase, etc.
to script vb = if a dialogue has been “scripted”, someone has written it
a box set n = a box with a set of videos/DVDs in it
to rewind vb = to press a button to make a DVD go back / go to an earlier part
intonation n = the way your voice goes up and down as you speak
connected speech n = the way that sounds join together when we speak. For example: “She wanted a new one” = She wante da ne wone”
linking sounds n = sounds that are created when two words are joined. For example: “Do you” = “Dyou”
sarcasm n = a way of speaking in which you say the opposite to what you mean. It is often used to make fun of someone. For example, “You look very nice.” (meaning, “You look horrible”)
irony n = a type of humour that involves saying things you don’t really mean
to predict vb = if you “predict” what is going to happen, you say what you think is going to happen
prediction strategies n = methods/techniques you use for imagining what is going to happen
out loud exp = if you say something “out loud”, you say it so it can be heard
handy adj = if you keep something “handy”, you keep it close to you so you can use it
to fill in phr vb = to complete
a gap n = a “gap” in text or a conversation is a part that is missing / not there
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Copyright © 2014 by Hot English Publishing
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