Unlocking Film Subtitles: A Valuable Tool for Intermediate Language Learners

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Learning a foreign language can be a tough thing to accomplish. Many around the world continue to try and master a certain dialect that they believe can help enhance them and their personal or professional lives, but fail to complete the goal.

That is not to suggest that getting to grips with a new language is impossible, as it is not.

In fact, with the advancement in technology, there are numerous new ways in which the entire experience has been revolutionized.

Learning has been modernized as students can now use tech to their advantage.

It is now possible to go outside a traditional classroom environment or even pick up things other than looking and reading from a textbook. The internet has been a huge advancement as a learning tool, as those who wish to learn using it can go online.

You can now find almost any language possible to try and pick up through web services. You can learn some of the world’s most spoken languages.

For example, you can learn Polish online and other dialects with native speakers that are not as common or more difficult to find taught as widely as Spanish, French, or other widely-spoken dialects.

Subtitles have unlocked a new way of language learning

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Source: Pexels

Among the newest advancements that technology has provided language learners, it is possible to use subtitles to help enhance the entire experience and process that is entertained.

Movies and TV shows have long been a popular resource for many students, as they often can keep them engaged and interested, two key things that are needed to help encourage learning and to keep motivation levels as high as possible.

Although they can be popular entertainment mediums and often appeal more than reading a newspaper or book or listening to music, they can still be difficult to understand.

The audience may not understand the dialogue being spoken well if they are still in the early stages of the learning process.

At the same time, they may not understand what message is being portrayed if they have not been exposed to certain traits or cultural norms and behaviors.

Thus, subtitles can play a huge role in helping individuals to be able to be better equipped in those departments. They can also offer a variety of other benefits that other methods of learning resources may not be able to provide when they are being used.

Subtitles can help boost vocabulary

Almost everyone will tell you that using subtitles with a foreign movie as a learning resource can help them build their vocabulary.

A lot of language learning is about the words that are spoken, therefore, it makes sense to use subtitles as these can help individuals to see the vernacular that is continually spoken.

By seeing the words on a continued basis, the audience is more likely to retain them and have a greater understanding of what it means. This should then allow them to use the words correctly when they are required to do so.

Subtitles provide context

One benefit subtitles offer is to allow learners to gain context and real-time exposure to what certain phrases or words may mean when they are being learned.

With subtitles, learners can read what is happening on screen while simultaneously being able to see what happens. They can then pair the two together, which should give them a better understanding of how a certain thing should look when spoken.

As a result of being able to read it, they can contextualize language, as they will be exposed to new words and phrases in meaningful dialogue. This can be particularly advantageous in the modern world, as it may give them an idea of what they should – and perhaps should not – be saying, something that textbooks may not always include as they are not always updated or modernized.

Subtitles offer interactive language practice

As already highlighted, motivation is a crucial aspect of the language process.

Without it, learners will simply struggle to get to grips with the new vocabulary that they are being taught, thus making it harder for them to retain and then be able to use. Films and TV shows offer an interactive method of learning, as it can help keep the audience engaged through its use of visuals.

The addition of subtitles can help to create a more interactive learning process for viewers, as they can read along and learn what each word or phrase means and how it should be used. They can also look to go back when they come across a word that they do not know and then hear it be pronounced once again.

Once they do, they can pause the film and read the words as they practice, either aloud or within their brains. This will then help them improve their learning, as they will have a greater comprehension of the dialect they are trying to learn.

Pronunciation will be able to benefit as a result, which can make your language-speaking skills so much better, thus potentially making you more employable or able to get around when in a foreign country.

Subtitles provide cultural insights

It is important to remember that language can be much more than just the words spoken and read. It is very easy to forget that learning a language can also involve much more, like learning about a certain culture, history, or things that help make the language what it is today and its place in world society.

Foreign films that are watched with subtitles can be a great way for individuals to gain a greater appreciation of every aspect of language learning. While the previous points raised can be beneficial regarding the vernacular, using subtitles can be a great way to get an insight into broader culture and other elements.

Movie productions will often provide audiences with a window into certain nuances not always known by those who are not native to the language. This can include social practices, traditions, and cultural perceptions.

Subtitles can be customized to your learning needs

Given the rate at which technology has developed, various types of subtitles are now available, all of which can provide language learners with many advantages to enhance their experiences.

Among the available subtitles that can be used are full subtitles, CC (closed caption) subtitles, and SDH (subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing) subtitles.

With the now available flexibility, users can customize their learning to suit their needs, which can be rather specific. Full subtitles may be the way forward for new people and just starting on their language-learning adventure when watching a foreign film.

Still, those who have an understanding and may just want to see a few subtitles may opt for CC subtitles when watching a film not in their native dialect. 

Subtitles can improve your listening skills

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Source: pexels

Aside from being able to improve your reading skills and understanding what each word looks like in terms of its spelling, subtitles can also help an individual to improve their listening skills at the same time. While we have already highlighted how it can help boost your vocabulary and allow you to have a more engaging learning session, you are able to use subtitles to improve your understanding further.

Subtitles can be essential for those who may recognize how words are written but do not fully know how they are said or what they should sound like.

With these on screen, the audience can listen to the actors speaking and then recognize what has been said with the text displayed on the screen. You can train yourself to listen and read simultaneously as you read along, although that can distract from the film itself.

Final Thoughts

With the world and society getting smaller due to borders being eliminated through globalization, there has never been greater importance on the ability to be multilingual for the global population.

Job opportunities are far greater than they ever were because of what language has been able to unlock, while travel to a foreign country is also something that has become even easier and more accessible.

Technology has revolutionized how we learn new dialects and enhance our skills, with subtitles often being overlooked. They can be an incredibly useful tool in helping learners succeed, especially when they opt to use foreign films to help keep them motivated and engaged throughout the learning process.

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