Wednesday, May 11, 2016


I am Finnish, we are a small country with not much people, so a lot of our television programs are foreign. A lot of American, quite a lot British, but also some from other countries, like France, Italy and Sweden. This means that we are used to listen different languages and the idea of learning languages from television shows and soap operas is not a bad one.

I was reading Andrew Tracey's blog and read about his Telenovela method. I have been watching some soap operas in different languages for the fun of it, but I never thought of using it as intensely as Andrew suggests.

This is how it works:

You need a movie, video or tv series in a format you can stop and rewind and watch over and over again, AND that has subtitles in the spoken language or a transcript of the text.
You also need a dictionary and some form of grammar help.

Watch the whole episode or movie. You don't need to understand what is being said. If you want to, you can read a short description of what happens, or have subtitles in your own language to understand what is going on, but you don't need to.

Watch one sentence of the video.
Read the subtitles.
Look up the meaning of every word and parts of the sentence you don't understand; the words, the grammar, the conjugation etc. Be certain of that you understand what is being said and why it is being said the way it is.
Write all the words that are unfamiliar to you on flashcards. Remember to note the specifics, like gender of the nouns, conjugation of the verb etc.
Read the sentence with the actor, repeating as many times as you need to, to sound like he/she does - the intonation, the speed, etc.

When you have gone through every sentence in the scene, watch the scene. Can you follow the conversation, make out all the words in the speech and understand them too?
Could you transcribe it? Do it. Read out loud what you are writing.

Continue with the whole episode.

Do this about half an hour every day.

Now, Olly Richards isn't convinced... Are You Wasting Your Time Watching Foreign Language Movies 

But Tomasz has his own input, and so does Tom, Susanna, Vincent and Benny.

Can You Truly Learn a Language by Watching Movies and TV? 
How to learn a language by listening to radio 

(Also, remember that what might not work at this level of your fluency, might work later...)