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

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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?

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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.

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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. 

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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 ;)

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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....

 

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For me, subtitles with Finnish movies don't really with learning the language, as often the sentence construction is very different - for example, "Where are you?", in Finnish is "Miss' sinä olet?", which translates literally into "Where you are?".  Because I have basic skills in Finnish, when I used to watch the Swedish TV series "Äkta människor" (Real humans), I used a combination of the Swedish words which were similar to English and the Finnish sub-titles to understand what was being said.

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Where possible I always put subtitles on when I'm watching tv, my favourite is the simpsons, having seen nearly all of them in English anyway, watching them in German with the subtitles on has helped me greatly over the years.  

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I can tell it works, it really does. Scandinavians have always been told they speak English well and it is my firm belief that it is not about the classes in school but more about how we are always exposed to English with subtitles. In for example Spain and Germany it is normal for movies to be dubbed into the national language, here we don't really have voice-over in anything apart from kid's movies such as Disney films, because kids can't keep up with the pace of the text lines. We always hear English and we read what it means, it definetly works. 

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