Learning a new language requires dedication and effort from the student, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Watching movies and television shows in English can be a great way to absorb the language while staying entertained. It’s also an excellent way to learn specific lessons that textbooks often miss, like slang and popular cultural references. Students can watch with the subtitles on at first then, as they get more comfortable, try without the subtitles.
One of the most popular television shows of all time, “Friends” is an excellent show to learn the tones and rhythms of English conversation. The show centers around a group of six friends living and working in Manhattan through their 20s and 30s. As they navigate personal and professional ups and downs, they talk through their problems in frank and humorous ways. The dialogue in the show makes frequent use of sarcasm and slang. While some of its references may be outdated, it does a good job of capturing the cadence and timing of group conversation.
“The Tonight Show”
“The Tonight Show” has been a mainstay of the American experience since it first aired in 1954. While it has had multiple hosts, most famously Johnny Carson, the format of the show has changed little in over 60 years. Movie stars, athletes, and other famous personalities come on and are interviewed by the host. In between interviews, sketch comedy bits and standup monologues focus on current events. It’s a great way to keep up with the news and practice English conversationally.
“Sesame Street” is the longest-running children’s show in history and has helped generations of native and non-native speakers learn English. Even though it’s a kids show, there’s plenty for adults to enjoy that will also help them practice English. The show often features celebrity guests like Robert DeNiro, Eric Clapton, and Aaron Neville who interact with the characters in a fun and educational manner.
Watching television programs is an unconventional way to build conversational English language skills. We recommend watching a program with a friend and discussing any unexpected and new words or phrases you learn along the way!
Photo Credit: David Boyle