Oricat

Do watching movies with subtitles help you to learn a language?

37 posts in this topic

I have a couple of foreign language films, and they have subtitles in them.  Most of my foreign language films are Japanese tokusatsu as well as anime, while I have a French film too.  The French film doesn't have any subtitles at all.  Despite my lack of desire to learn French, I watched the movie for what it is.  As for the Japanese language films and shows, they are already provided with subtitles by various fansubbers.  Sometimes the fansubbers have a "creative" way of translating the Japanese into English, and they come up with rather unique English subtitles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They do help a lot, at least in my case. You get used to the accent and start to relate each word you read to the sound when it's spoken. Of course, this happens when you have a certain knowledge of the language. If I were to watch a foreign film in Russian (which I know nothing of). I'd try to recognize certain repeated words and its translation to my native language and in the end learn some vocabulary (not any conjugation of verbs or tenses) at a really slow pace. Also, I'd try to avoid fansubs and get official subtitles of some sort. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, watangaboy said:

They do help a lot, at least in my case. You get used to the accent and start to relate each word you read to the sound when it's spoken. Of course, this happens when you have a certain knowledge of the language. If I were to watch a foreign film in Russian (which I know nothing of). I'd try to recognize certain repeated words and its translation to my native language and in the end learn some vocabulary (not any conjugation of verbs or tenses) at a really slow pace. Also, I'd try to avoid fansubs and get official subtitles of some sort. 

That is true, you need to have certain level of knowledge in that language in order to be able to  take advantage of this.   So I definitely think is not for everyone. I actually tried watching movies with Dutch subtitles earlier on and didn't see a lot benefit from it, but I think that once you reach the conversational level and you are looking for colloquial phrases I think  that is where you need to be looking. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, czarina84 said:

I'm actually hard of hearing, so I even need the subtitles in my native language to understand what they are saying.  I don't use them as a crutch; I just can't hear what is said, so if I don't read it, I'm lost.

That's got to be tough - learning languages with a hearing problem. Do you use a hearing aid?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that they are extremely helpful, watching Korean films or drama with subtitles is the reason that I can recognize a few words. If you are actively trying to learn a language then I would suggest finding a film that interests you or something historical like a documentary. It provides little details such as how two people may pronounce a word differently due to the area they live in as well as words or gestures that are used when talking that do not have an absolute translation. However, as a previous poster had mentioned, I would suggest official subs. Fan subs are wonderful as an extra tool, but shouldn't be used as the only source.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Wanda Kaishin said:

That's got to be tough - learning languages with a hearing problem. Do you use a hearing aid?

It's not bad enough for a hearing aid.  At least, I don't think so.  I always cheated with those hearing exams.  I didn't want to be thought of as a victim or cause my mother any extra bills.  I'm just that annoying person who needs you to speak a little louder (although I have learned to read lips), and I need subtitles on to hear some, but not all, words.  I just turn the volume up, put on subtitles or look up lyrics.  It's tough but doable.  No complaints. 

Wanda Kaishin likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you are already knowledgeable in a given language, you will release that subtitles while may help you learn the original language of the film, most of the times are inaccurate and reduced to the screen size to allow scenes keep going on with subtitles running at the same pace,

Moreover, sometimes translations are done to meet local jokes, reference or slang, what makes subtitles go totally apart from the original language.

Let's say you are watching an American movie in which a young man says to the lady; "Oh dear, I can't wait any longer to be with you and love you till dawn"

This presumptive phrase should be translated this way; "Oh querida, no puedo esperar más para estar contigo y amarte hasta el amanecer"

However the movie subtitle may read likes this "Oh mi amor, no aguanto más, amémonos hasta el amanecer"

While the meaning is similar, the translation is not, so that whoever doesn't know that "dear" means "querida(o)" may believe that it means "amor" based on the subtitles read on screen.

Even though, subtitles help you a lot to prove your knowledge on a given language because the more you learn, the easy you will find this type of on-screen inaccuracies ;)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that this is a great way to keep sharpen and improve your language skills. When watching a movie we are using two of our senses, sight and auditory. This coupled with our brain working to comprehend what we are seeing and hearing in our native tongue can prove as an effective fun way to learn something new. The fact that you are watching the movie again with the foreign language being in subtitle is even better for your understanding of the said language.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Watching movies with subtitles definitely help. Not only does it help you learn how the language should be spoken it also helps you learn new words. The only issue I have with this is sometimes the subtitles don’t give you the real translations. I especially realize those when I’m watching anime. A lot of times different sites will sub an anime before the official subs come out. They end up mistranslating things and adding extra words to smoothen things out. This is fine if you know what the translation should be, but for a person who is trying to learn new words it can be very confusing. Even the official translations do this sometimes. I don’t know if this happens for Chinese subbed movies because most times there is just one sub. If I am skeptical about the translation I will usually just look it up. Other than that subtitles are wonderful.

Mameha likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It definitely helps me. I know quite few people who became completely fluent (American accent and all) in English from watching movies in English with subtitles. I like this website called howto4in.com. They have movie clips in Spanish with Spanish and English subtitles on the screen at the same time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think movies are great for students who are preparing to try out their conversation skills, you tune your ear into the sounds of the language, you pick up the accents, you learn how other people/cultures use body language (very important) and you have a topic of discussion (the movie you saw). 

Movies are a very helpful conversation starter as there is much to discuss with regards to opinions, characters, actors and actresses, even music. 

Happy watching! Keep your ears and eyes open to what the characters are saying WITHOUT their words....

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey does anybody know a serbian website with serbian shows, that has english subtitles? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Ankita
      Knowledge X, a student-initiative (facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theknowledgex/ ), (web:  www.knowledgex.eu ) facilitating language exchange for free! They match you up with a native speaker of your desired language and you exchange your native tongue, for free. What they did was they put me in contact with a native speaker of French (I had moved into France with very little knowledge of French). In return I taught my language partner English. I think this was super effective and my level progressed massively in just 3 months. It’s been 6 months and I am almost fluent in French. They do that for almost any language in the world and the best thing about all this is that it is completely free! I’d suggest you check them out, you can literally learn a language sitting on your bed, for free, with a native speaker!
       
    • By Sylvia
      Hi all!!!
      Here are some videos on YouTube where you can learn and practise new languages(French, Spanish, German and many more.. Indian languages are there too)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaSP3BXGGuY
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3lcCZ1w4M4
      or just search for BookBox French, BookBox German.... videos
      www.bookbox.com or download the BookBox App!!!
    • By Lingowizard
      Lingopolo just became 100% free and intends to become the Wikipedia of the language-learning world.
      You should definitely try it: http://lingopolo.com/
    • By nadaverbalplanet
      Hi guys! 
      My name is Nada and I'm a native speaker of Serbian language. If anyone is interested in learning it, I would be more than glad to help him or her to acquire it as quicky as possible. Serbian is spoken by a minority of world's population and the grammar and pronunciation might be difficult to master but alongside the proper guidance and practice it can be fun and easy. Whoever is willing to learn it through the guidance of a native tutor, go to the following link http://www.verbalplanet.com/publicviewprofile.asp?tr_id=10033862908&lang=SER . I also teach English language since I obtain BA and MA in English language and literature.
      Hope to see some of you soon, have a nice day 
    • By nadaverbalplanet
      Hi everyone! My name is Nada, I'm a teacher of English language, currently working in one school in Serbia. Recently, I have started giving online lessons via Verbalplanet.com. I'm a tutor of both English and Serbian. If anyone is willing to try it out, I would like to help people to learn new language as much as possible   The Verbalplanet.com offers free trial lessons and loyalty discounts as well. Thank you for taking your time to read this. Have a nice day!