Like most people I know, I love watching television. When I was little, I would always look forward to watching a children’s programme on TV when I arrived home from school. These days, when I’m at home, I enjoy flicking on the television in the evening after a busy day to watch a crime drama or chat show. Although we typically watch television to unwind and we often feel guilty about watching too much of it, TV series are an excellent resource for any aspiring language learner.
When you are learning a language, it is a great idea to choose a foreign language series to watch. The series can belong to any genre: thriller, drama, comedy or even reality television, whatever takes your fancy. Watching this series is a fantastic way to improve your listening skills because the characters or presenters will talk at a normal pace and will use authentic language. It is also a very useful way to familiarise yourself with more colloquial language which cannot be found in a textbook but which is used regularly in real life.
If you are a beginner, it can be a good idea to start by watching the programme with subtitles in your native language. However, as you become more confident, you can have a go at watching a series with foreign language subtitles or even with no subtitles at all. Remember that the aim is not to understand every single word! You just need to be able to understand the overall storyline and you can often work out the meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases from the context. Although it can be difficult at first, it is important to keep going!
I have recently finished watching an Italian series called Il paradiso delle signore (‘The Ladies’ Paradise’). It is a drama about a young woman from Sicily coming to work in a department store in Milan. I thought it was great – I really liked the protagonist and the storyline was very gripping. After finishing an episode, I was desperate to find out what happened next. Sometimes, whilst watching the programme, I noted down any unfamiliar vocabulary before checking it in a dictionary. However, at other times, I put my pen down, relaxed and enjoyed the show. My listening skills have definitely improved and my vocabulary has widened.
So, there you have it: an excuse to watch TV!
What English language programmes do you watch?