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Linguaholic

Using closed-captioning as a study tool, and other little tips.


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I just wanted to share some of the little tips and ways that helped me to become fluent in English within a year of moving to America. :)

For example, I always kept on the subtitles for a movie in English, and the closed-captioning for any show I watched on T.V. That way, I could both hear the words being spoken, and read them at the same time.

I also started out reading a ton of children's books, until I felt comfortable enough to move up.

Does anyone else have any tips they could share?

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A friend of mine swore that early morning children's programs were the best. Sesame Street and the like are aimed at language learners, after all, just little ones!

Eventually she graduated to turning on the local news in the morning instead, some things were too complicated at first, but in the US the local newscasters language level is usually pretty clear and basic, and they tend to convey things in short sentences followed by video of whatever they're describing.

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Ahh, that's also a good idea! I hadn't even thought of children's TV shows. I might try and find some that are in Dutch or French now, thanks.

I remember when I first started learning English, I would also keep the Weather Channel on almost all day. Even if you don't understand the person, you can pretty much guess at what they are saying, anyway.

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I like subtitled foreign language programs or films. I think it was distracting at first since you're focusing your eyes to the bottom of the screen but I got used to it and learned to enjoy foreign films/programs that way. It's fun because I wasn't even interested before about learning Japanese but I was able to pick up some foreign words because of watching with subs on.

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I found that reading poetry in bilingual editions was very helpful when I was learning Spanish.  Similarly bilingual editions of other forms of literature -- short stories and novels. 

But poetry was especially ideal, as generally the poems were shorter in length and the use of language, though challenging at times, helped me to improve my vocabulary.  I was also able to gain a deeper sense of the beauty of the language and how it could create imagery and convey emotions.  In turn, this helped me to appreciate the uniqueness of the use of language and be less fixated on trying to translate it back into English. 

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That's true Dieslrae, it does take some getting used to. I had to train my eyes to be able to read and watch the movie at the same time... Not an easy feat!

That's a great idea, LauraM! Meanings of poetry and songs are often sadly lost when translated. It's always better when you can appreciate the imagery and meaning from the original language. I'll try and implement that when I start learning my next language.

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