Can you master a foreign language by watching TV? It is an interesting question, but is it really a realistic ambition?

Watching TV can be one of the most useful tools for a language learner. The internet has also opened up infinite opportunities to train your listening skills, as well as increasing your exposure to new vocabulary. One of the main obstacles to learning a foreign language is the lack of opportunities to listen to the language and hear it in context. Language courses and lessons in language schools can become very tedious and repetitive, so language learners need to find ways to listen to their target language in as many different contexts as they can.

What is mostly recommended is for students to watch series or films that they enjoy so that learning does not become a chore. It is understandable that at the beginning, it is difficult to understand everything that you see and hear on TV. This is why students should begin by doing four things:


  • Watch programs and series that you have already seen. This way you can focus on learning the language and not on following the plot/storyline (because you will already know what it is about).


  • Use subtitles. When you watch an episode, you should use subtitles in the target language. This way you will read and listen to the same language.


  • Use a notebook. You should also take notes as you watch of the things that you do not understand. Take notes of them using the subtitles, but do not pause it. This way you can avoid boredom. After you watch the program or episode, you should look up the words and phrases that you did not understand.


  • Repeat. You need to watch programs and episodes more than once to consolidate language.


You should:

– watch the series

– take notes

– look up the meanings

– watch the episode again


So to answer the initial question. Can you master a foreign language by watching TV? It helps, but you also need to have real conversations and use all of the key language learning skills to be able to speak a language fluently.



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