Author Topic: Using subtitles in language learning  (Read 402 times)

Offline Jayne

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Using subtitles in language learning
« on: May 11, 2020, 06:12:57 PM »
This came up recently in the discussion on Korean and I today I came across an article on it:

There is information specific to using Netflix in language learning, but also a section on subtitles in general:

Level – Beginner/Intermediate
Why – Because you already understand English, so there is no need for subtitles. By adding them in your target language you are getting exposed to the language while listening to a language you already know.

I find this incredibly helpful in the beginning. If you already know a few words, you can quickly pick them out and figure out more words through context.

Don’t be afraid to pause every once in a while, study a sentence, look up words you are unsure about.

You can also write down sentences you think might be helpful. For example, if people use certain expressions and they are translated to your target language.

The best part about this is that even when it’s hard to find content in your target language, you can apply this strategy to constantly improve your skills or be exposed to your target language.

Level – Beginner
Why – To get used to the sounds of your target language while still understanding what’s going on.

I think language exposure is a very underrated tool to help you become fluent in a new language. You don’t have to understand everything, but it helps you develop a feeling for intonation, pronunciation, and rhythm.

When I was younger I spent the same amount of hours a week studying German, French, and English. Only one of those stuck, and it’s because I had had so much exposure. English was everywhere, even when I was small. I couldn’t understand a thing, but when I did start learning it, it felt a lot more familiar than for example French, a language I would mostly hear in class during a listening exercise.

That being said, I would only recommend this if you are too much of a beginner to add subtitles in your target language. If you are still not at a point where you can read subtitles that are 100% in your target language, consider doing both.

Level – Intermediate (Advanced)
Why – To connect speech to what is written

Hearing your target language while also seeing it written on-screen really helps to connect speech to written words. I personally also feel it helps me remember things better, as I am not just hearing or reading it, but doing both at the same time.

This might be one of my favorite things, and it’s a strategy I still apply daily.

I am currently a C1 speaker of English, and I still find new words, new expressions. Better yet – when I was younger I used to watch things without subtitles. Great for my pronunciation, not so great for my spelling.

I learned loads of new words, but I had no idea how to spell them, and we all know English spelling is notoriously unreliable. When I started watching content in English I found myself constantly seeing words I was already using, that were spelled completely different than what I had imagined.

Plus, and this might be a bit of a personal thing, but I find that the more I speak the more phonetic my spelling gets. While I am perfectly aware of the difference between “you’re” and “your”, after a week of mostly speaking English without writing or reading it, I am much more likely to misspell it or to overlook the mistake.

By keeping subtitles on English, even when I am not actively studying it anymore, I find that I keep up my reading brain and am a better speller when it is time to write something.

Level – Intermediate / Advanced
Why – To practice your listening skills.

If you are interested in practicing your listening skills, this is an amazing way to do so.

It might also benefit your pronunciation, as you are not focusing on how things are written, but purely on how it is pronounced. This means that if native speakers skip letters or are pronouncing certain letters differently than usual, you won’t be distracted by the spelling.

Why are “thought”, “though”, and “tough” all spelled nearly the same but pronounced differently? It doesn’t matter if you are only focussing on how they sound, and it’ll be easier to distinguish them in the future.

That being said, as I’ve mentioned before, I think adding subtitles, in general, is a great tool to focus on both listening and reading, and I still use it as a tool to stay on top of my spelling.
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Using subtitles in language learning
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2020, 08:57:39 PM »
To keep up with my French; apart from reading a French language book, I also listen to a youtube French language video with French subtitles; its very helpful to keep up my "ear" for the language.
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Offline Heinrich

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Re: Using subtitles in language learning
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2020, 12:19:41 PM »
Try this. I use it to learn French(with German as subtitled).
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