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The Secret To Watching Movies/Shows in Foreign Languages | Polyglot Tips & Advice



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Hey everybody, welcome back! Now recently we did a video talking about my biggest

secret for reading in a foreign language successfully. Now I really enjoyed that

video and it seems like it helps a lot of people and it maps extremely well to

actually watching authentic content such as movies or television shows

Now personally I actually learned a truly astonishingly large amount of Japanese

through even just a single drama it was about 10 episodes and I cannot explain

just like how much language is packed into a drama series.

but the same goes for movies so while in Japanese I primarily used TV dramas to learn

with French I for some reason just mostly found movies I think there was just such

an enormous amount of great cinema in French that that was my primary go-to

resource. But the thing is watching movies and television shows in a foreign

language is really really hard and so I'm gonna share with you today my go-to

tip and method for at least setting myself up for success every time I try

that and a new language. Essentially what you need to do is identify an initial

starting unit. Now this obviously varies from movie to movie and from director -

director and so on but I found that in general for most sort of average

feature-length movies between like one hour one and a half the first 10 to 15

minutes is pretty crucial that's when we're really starting to see at least

most of the sort of important characters that's when they sort of set the scene

we find out where the story is taking place we might even see some backstories

of those characters it's pretty crucial and so while with reading the advice I

gave was that you should really take the time to study in-depth that first

chapter of a book I think with watching television shows

and movies you should really take the time to you know maybe watch the first

10 or 15 minutes all the way through without stopping and you know what?

If you're really enjoying it there's no reason why you can't just watch the

whole thing I think with a movie it's a lot easier to just watch the whole

thing and see how much you can understand. Reading a book it's a lot

more difficult to just push through reading an entire novel if you're not

really understanding what's going on so with a movie I would say either watch

the whole thing and just see what you can catch and

how much you can grasp or watch the first 10 15 minutes and stop but what I

do think is really important is to go through and if you have the subtitles in

the language of the movie that is absolutely fantastic if not this is more

difficult but it can be done and I would suggest you really just take that 10

minutes or 15 minutes it's a much more manageable chunk of time and really try

to study it you know go back multiple times, pause it, use dictionaries

whatever you can and I would also suggest having a notebook where you

actually just take notes in your in your native language

just on the general story so write down who are the main characters where does

the story take place what are some key things about the set up to the movie

anything you can because this essentially becomes a road map so that

as you're watching the rest of the film you can pause it at any time and refer

back to this sort of map and be like "oh yeah that's right! He's the main character and

he's married to her... that's right got it" and that it just really helps

because so much of our time watching a movie or a TV show or reading a book

basically consuming any amount of authentic content in a foreign language

it's really like the the cognitive load that takes just to sort of try to catch

words or grasp anything you can it's really high so if on top of all of that

you don't even know what's going on and you haven't even been able to figure out

the main plot of the story then it's just really overwhelming. Now what I have

found is that if you are able to really grasp well that first 10 to 15 minutes

whatever it might be then this will really astoundingly boost your ability

to understand through the rest of the film

so with reading I have found that if I do this approach for the first chapter

so I'll read the whole chapter one time then I'll go back I will do a really

intensive study approach for the first chapter then I move on I have found

sometimes that you know my first time through I understood like 50 percent at

best I definitely struggle to get the main story even I definitely couldn't

really keep track of who was who what was what I found that after doing

that intensive approach chapter 2 my comprehension actually increased to like

85 or even 90% that is absolutely astonishing and it

because I went into chapter 2 having all that context ready locked and loaded and

I was just trying to keep up I was trying to follow this story that I

already knew now with movies I've personally found

this to be a bit more variable I think the reason for that is that there are

many more variables with movies especially if you don't have subtitles

you know very often you just don't hear the words very often you're not able to

actually discern where one word begins and one word ends there's like mumbling

that could happen you could have people talking over each other and the audio

quality may not be as good whereas if a book I find that you have an opportunity

to understand every single word you can see them on the page but I can still say

that I have found with this approach sometimes the first time through I

understand pretty similar maybe 50% I sort of enough to kind of enjoy it

but with lots of questions and I'm usually really ready to sort of dive in

and figure out what the hell is going on so I found that yeah around 50% often

the first time and I have very often seen that after going through those

first 10 or 15 minutes in detail I can then watch the movie again and I would

say pretty consistently my comprehension increases to like 70 75 % again

sometimes even higher it just depends but I have found that watching movies

and TV shows is considerably harder and again it's because I feel like you don't

always have the opportunity to understand every single word enjoy

watching movies and TV shows and whatever else you want I think that

consuming native content and especially sort of really culturally important

things depending on the language and the place you know and a great example is

French when I was learning French just so many great sort of films and the

cinema is so important in French culture just like the theater is important and I

remember watching renditions of Rhinoceros for example and then

reading the script and I just it's such a joy right and it can really boost your

motivation and just the overall experience learning a language so I

really think it's worth it and I hope this sets you up for success