Learning a language is such an amazing adventure. And learning a language with films is a great way to have fun in the process. Therefore, if you want to add movies to your language program, we have compiled some advice and practical exercises for you in this article.
You might not know this, but watching movies is a great way to learn a language. This is so, for a variety of reasons:
Therefore, considering how useful watching movies is for language learning, how can you use these as a student?
Watching an entire movie without guidance is usually appropriate for a student who has already achieved at least a B2+ level, so from a good intermediate to upper intermediate level. However, that does not mean that a student at any level cannot use movies or video material already and independently.
There are infinite ways to work on your language skills with a movie, we have listed a few that worked for us in our classes and for our students. You will easily be able to reproduce these at home, just remember that the key component of efficient learning is MOTIVATION.
In each of these cases you will choose subtitles accordingly:
At the end of this article you will find a few suggestions for Italian and French movies you could watch based upon your level.
Do you know your level of Italian? Take your test here.
Here are some exercises in detail that you can practise with today :
Start with movie trailers and try this technique:
This exercise will help you work on several skills: body language in your target language, express yourself out loud, start thinking in your target language to connect information; in addition, this technique is easily replicated at home and can be incorporated into your learning routine.
First watch the full movie (if you have time) and choose a dialog you liked or got you confused. If you don’t have time, just randomly search “target language + movie excerpt” on youtube and choose one that motivates you (don’t spend hours doing this, it’s called procrastination 😉 ).
This is a great technique to improve your vocabulary and work in a focused way on your target language. As a bonus, you’ll deep dive into conversation and cultural use of the language, what a bargain!
Take the same extract you worked with before.
First, be sure the extract is clearly understandable and you have checked the new vocabulary.
Choose one of the character, you will be his/her shadow.
Watch the first sentence of this character, press pause, and repeat in the exact same way, like a song; also repeat his gestures.
Do it again with the next sentence.
Record yourself with a camera or a microphone and compare your interpretation what could you change to be more similar to the character you chose? Choose ONE thing you should change (for example pronunciation of R, rhythm, etc.) and record yourself again. Do this exercise regularly.
This shadowing technique is a must to perfect your pronunciation and diction, as well as understanding the rhythm and develop some inner capabilities in your target language.
A1-A2 : La famille Bélier, Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, l’Auberge Espagnole
B1-B2 : Le dîner de cons, Astérix et Obélix : mission cléopâtre, Intouchables
C1-C2 : Bienvenue chez les ch’tis, La père noël est une ordure, Un prophète
Get a list of 10 French movies that every French people know
A1-A2 : La vita e` bella, Il postino, Pinocchio
B1-B2 : Habemus Papa, Pane e tulipani, Mediterraneo
C1-C2 : La grande bellezza, La dolce vita, Il sorpasso
Yes, Netflix does feature Italian and French films and it has never been easier to use them for your learning whilst having fun.
These are a few Italian films on Netflix:
These are a few French films & series on Netflix:
If you are here, and got to the end of this article, movies are definitely your thing. The good news is you can use this passion of yours as a way for you to improve your language skills. And of course, you can add this easily to your self-study time.
Marion and Laura’s belief is that learning a language can be great fun. And this is definitely the case when you use movies.
The techniques described above are only a few of those used in their classes. Try these ones to start with and get in touch to let them know how you got on.
If you feel that you need more guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Marion (for French) or Laura (for Italian) as they are using movies in their classes regularly and Marion even hosts a Ciné-Club for French Language Learners.
Laura Scaramella, Head of Parla Italiano : Laura is a teacher and teacher trainer with over 15-years experience in teaching Italian to adults. In 2006, Laura established her boutique school of Italian, Parla Italiano. Her principles in teaching are based on using authentic material, such as movies, articles, song as much as possible, teaching the ‘real’ language that student are able to use straight away. Parla Italiano offers high quality courses of Italian language at all levels, offers a conversation club and a book club. For more information
Marion, CEO of Clap Français : Graduated with Master on Cinema Technics, she is now fully teaching her mother tong : French; She learned 2 languages by herself and can speak fluently English and Portuguese. She is currently learning Russian, Slovenian and Spanish. Her academy Clap Français is teaching French to foreigners using mostly films materials. Clap Français is also hosting a Ciné-Club for French Language Learners twice a month : a place to discuss French movies and practice speaking skills. For more information