Watching TV is a good way to practise our listening skills and learn vocabulary. It is especially useful for learning the “real English”. The English that normal people speak. The English that happens outside of the classroom and English textbooks. You might be surprised by all the shortcuts, lazy pronunciation, and slang that is used, but you will be tapping into a truly dynamic and vivacious part of the language.
7 Keys to Learning English by Watching TV:
- Joy. Choose a show that you like and genuinely enjoy. The goal is to make this an enjoyable activity. This should not feel like work, but should instead feel like fun. In other words, it should be a chance to relax and unwind.
- Accent. Think about the country where you will use English, or the people you will use English with. Do you want to know the sound of US English? If so, try Friends, Seinfeld, or The Office. For the UK accent, try The Crown, Downton Abbey, Weeds. For Canadian English, there’s Kim’s Convenience. Choosing the right accent will make communicating in that country much easier.
- Register. It’s not just the accent, there are different registers too. This means you should also think about the type of situations you will be in. Is it for the office, university, or socialising? There’s casual, informal English like Friends or Seinfeld. There’s office English like in The Office. Then there’s very formal, polite English like Downton Abbey.
- Short. Choose a short show. No full length movies. Nothing more than 45 minutes. The reason is that you don’t want to get tired doing this. Also, this will make it easier to re-watch the shows
- Listen. The audio should always be set to English.
- Subtitles. If you have a lower level of English, the first time you watch the show, you can use non-English subtitles. This way, you ‘ll be able to develop an idea of the plot and dialogue.
- 2x. The second time you watch, don’t use non-English subtitles. Either use English subtitles, or don’t use any subtitles at all. Don’t be scared, you already know the storyline and most of the dialogue