Everyone from time to time likes to relax, watch movies and TV series. Nowadays, many of them are easily available, due to streaming platforms. One of the most popular is Netflix, which during the pandemic gathered even more viewers than before. The website offers a lot of movies and TV series from various genres. You can find there both the best classics of all time and completely new productions. Many people might feel that watching them is a waste of time. Is it?

Hours spent in front of a TV or laptop screen do not have to be wasted. You can learn a lot when watching movies and TV series, for example, to improve your language skills. How should learning foreign languages with Netflix look? Here are some methods you can try.

Language learning extension

If you want to use your time spent on Netflix more productively, download the Language Learning with Netflix extension. Developers David Wilkinson and Ognjen Apic programmed this add-on for Google Chrome. The plugin can be downloaded for free. It allows you to view two versions of the subtitles at the same time. You can choose a translation from dozens of languages and search for a given word used at different moments in the movie. The plugin also allows you to adjust to your level of knowledge of the language. Thanks to this, words that you already know will be highlighted.

This tool also allows you to check the pronunciation of individual words. There is also a catalog of movies and TV series best for learning a given language. Language Learning with Netflix plug can be downloaded here. On the website, you will also find a video that shows how to use it.

Learning languages with Netflix – what movies or TV series to pick? 

First, choose productions that you enjoy watching. If you watch something that does not interest you at all, you probably will learn nothing. It is also worth paying attention to the genre of the movie. The most universal choice for learning is comedies because usually characters use simple language. Sitcoms are great for learning, for example, well-known classics such as Friends (to learn English). Historical films, on the other hand, will not be the best choice for learning languages. They typically use vocabulary and grammatical forms that are no longer in use.

There are also TV series and movies from which you can learn industry vocabulary. For example, the TV series Suits will be perfect for people who want to learn the legal language, while Gray’s Anatomy is suitable for those who are interested in the language related to medicine. However, these types of productions are not a good choice for those who have nothing to do with a given profession.

Avoid watching with a voice-over

Certainly, watching movies and TV series with a voice-over will not make learning languages easier. Typically, when they talk, they completely drown out what the actors are saying at the moment. Moreover, in the translations read by the lector, the original message is often distorted so that the recipient who speaks a target language can understand it better. For example, idioms and proverbs used in the movie are replaced with phrases of similar meaning in this language.

When learning languages, it is very important to learn specific phrases, so watching with a voice-over is not a good solution. It is a good idea to start with subtitles in your language, or use a plug-in that offers double subtitles. Once we get used to the language a bit, we can switch to watching with subtitles in the original language.

Learning languages with Netflix – summary

Knowledge of foreign languages is very significant. It significantly enriches professional qualifications, giving greater development opportunities. It is worth remembering that if you do not use a language every day, even though you know all its rules perfectly well, you will gradually forget them. For this reason, regularity is essential in language learning.

You can improve in different ways, including watching movies and TV series. In autumn and winter, we spend a lot of free time at home, we often kill it with movies and TV series. It is worth combining business with pleasure and learning foreign languages while watching. English is, by far, the most popular language to learn, but there are other options, even exotic ones. With a dedicated Netflix plugin, you can learn the basics of languages from around the world.

There are many intriguing productions, for example, in Japanese or Chinese. What is more – in times when traveling is very difficult or even impossible, learning languages can be a great way to discover distant cultures.


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