How can I learn English from TV shows
Are you sure! How can I learn English from TV shows The article where I speak only in English to help your understanding. Now, today I’ve got a very interesting lesson, and it’s about something that I’m always asked about.
People always want to know what television series they can watch to help them improve their listening skills. So what I’ve done today is I’ve compiled a small list of television programs that I think are really good for helping you to improve your English listening skills.
What I’ve done is I’ve tried to divide them into beginners, intermediate and advanced, so there should be something for everybody.
Before we start the most important thing and what I always say to my students is you must choose something you are interested in.
There is no point in choosing something that doesn’t interest you. If you choose something you’re not interested in, you’re not going to concentrate, and you’re not going to really take in the English.
You’re going to get bored and stop listening, and this can be very demoralizing when you’re trying to improve. Another thing that’s very important is that you’re not going to be able to understand 100% from the beginning. That’s really important, OK.
You must realize this is a learning process, so do not give up if you find it difficult to keep going, keep going, keep going because even if you don’t understand your ears are becoming used to the sounds we make in English and you will see progression slowly OK I promise you.
The next big question is subtitles or no subtitles? I think you’ll know that I think subtitles are a really good idea. I know some teachers believe that you should not have them, and you should only focus on listening.
I don’t agree! I think that having subtitles in English obviously, not in Italian they must be in English, makes the whole experience a bit more enjoyable and then you can associate sounds with how the words are written as well.
So all I would say always use subtitles in English because you will understand more, and you will also enjoy the whole experience, and it doesn’t stop you from improving your listening just because there are English subtitles.
Another interesting point is whether you should watch kids’ children’s cartoons when trying to improve your listening to lots of beginners, especially ask me are their good cartoons to watch.
My personal advice and not everybody agrees with me, but my personal advice is not to watch children’s cartoons. I say this for two main reasons.
Number one, often in cartoons the actors use very strange voices. And it can be very difficult to understand them. And the second reason is that language use isn’t very useful for adults.
It’s the very, very kid, child-friendly, so it doesn’t always help to build up the necessary vocabulary that you need as an adult. OK! Let’s start with things to watch for beginners.
Now obviously I’m saying beginners, but it’s still suitable for whatever level you are this is still English being spoken by native speakers OK so it’s important for everybody, but for beginners especially I always recommend documentaries I think this is really really important for different reasons.
Number one is that normally they are very, very interesting. Number two they use fantastic language really good adjectives and verbs, so it really helps you build your vocabulary and also they normally tend to speak a bit slower because they’re narrating something, so the speech is a bit slower and often a bit easier to understand.
Probably the most famous documentary maker in Britain is called David Attenborough, and I think he’s about 95 years old now and he was has been making documentaries for about 70 years, and he has done some incredible and I mean incredible documentaries.
Recently within the last ten years, he has had a series which has been really really popular. The blue PlanetPlanet and the blue Planet talks about life in the sea, and it’s fantastic and really interesting.
Then he’s done planet Earth, which talks more about the land mammals and animals. And he also did the Frozen Planet, which talks about life in the Arctic and Antarctican where animals are living in icy conditions.
So these are all wildlife documentaries, and they are fantastic. If you buy the DVD from Amazon, that is the best thing but also if you look on YouTube type in David Attenborough and one of those titles and they are really really interesting.
OK! let’s move on to intermediate level now OK, so it’s a bit more difficult normally because they speak a bit quicker, or the plot is a bit more difficult to understand
so what I’ve got the intermediate level is two Britishdramas and two American drums because obviously, it’s good to listen to different accents.
I know some people prefer British, and I know some people prefer American, but at the end of the day, English is a language spoken worldwide not only by English people and American people, so it’s important to have as many accents as possible whilst you’re learning.
So for the British dramas I’ve chosen Downton Abbey as number one. Downton Abbey is brilliant! It’s about an aristocratic family, and it starts in1912, and it finishes around 1922-25.
It’s not precisely said which year. But it follows the life of an aristocratic family and also their servants who live underneath so that people who wait for them who cook garden and it’s really good.
Because it’s very historically accurate so not only is it good for your language acquisition because the people do not use much slang and they also speak quite clearly occasionally they use some forms which are very very old and not used anymore,
but it’s still not really a problem, so I really recommend watching Downton Abbey. And then the next British drama I recommend is ‘The Crown’, again it’s obviously a similar period, but it moves further into the 20th century.
As well and it follows The Royal Family and especially the Queen and her relationship with the other members of the family, and it is brilliant again. It’s interesting as well.
Because it’s very again historically accurate but also the language is very good to listen to as well, OK, so I really recommend these two for British accents and improving your listening skills.
If you’re looking for something a bit more American, there are two, which I recommend. ‘Homeland’ is about Secret Service and the CIA and it’s really interesting.
You really want to watch one episode after the other to know what happens and again this is American so the accents are slightly different but still it’s not that difficult to follow the plot so you really can concentrate on the language.
It’s a bit more exciting than maybe the British dramas which I mentioned it’s very, very good. And then also we’ve got’House of Cards.’
Which I love, and it’s all about and how The Presidentrises to power and how he will do anything to get into the position he’sin it’s obviously made up it’s not based on real-life but it’s really really good and excellent for intermediate and above, OK.
OK, moving on to Advanced Learners, there are two which I think are very, very good. The first one is very British, and it’s called Sherlock, and it’s obviously about Sherlock Holmes, and it’s a re-adaptation of how he solves crimes.
Now, this is very good, but it’s a bit more difficult to understand simply because the speed in which the actors speak is much quicker.
They speak very, and they speak very clearly, but it is very quick, but if you’re interested in this type of thing. I really recommend you watch the series, Sherlock.
Another series which is completely different and I’m sure you’ve already seen in Italian is ‘Game of Thrones,’ and again this is very good, but again the speech is very quick, and also there’s more use of slang and other more uncommon words.
So that’s why I think it’s better for advanced learners, but obviously, if you’re interested in watching it no matter what level you’re at.
The other thing people ask me is comedies good for learning English, and I would say yes but… You need to choose the right one.
because British humor and American humor can often be very different from Italian humor, so for example, you might understand everything, but you might not understand the cultural joke that there is in that particular part, so just be careful.
So comedies I’m not saying are beginner, intermediate or advanced you can watch them but just be careful with an understanding of the jokes.
If you do want to watch them I recommend as an American one ‘Friends,’ I know it’s famous, but it’s very good because it’s really easy to follow the storyline they use very common slang words in there the jokes are obvious to understand and also the episodes are very short, only 20-25minutes so you don’t get bored and you don’t have to over concentrate for too long.
If you’re looking for something English, I think the best one is probably’The Office’ which launched the career of Ricky Gervais, and he now is very very famous in Britain and America, and it’s it was the first what was called’Mockumentary,’ not documentary ‘Mockumentary.’
Where it was filmed in a documentary style but it was all fake all actors, and it’s just a very very clever comedy not necessarily laugh out loud it is very clever with lots of very good subtle jokes, and again the language isn’t too difficult.
So there we are, that’s my advice for different television shows for trying to improve your English but like I said please…
ANYTHING, you are interested in just listen and have patience! You will improve with time OK.