– practice makes perfect (I mean, what else can you do right?)
I used to
- rent out cassettes of French films (remember them?) from the library and watch them at home
- watch them with subtitles
- feel frustrated at needing the subtitles
- want to give up
I solved my French listening problems by moving to France – I left the UK for France in 2007 and haven’t looked back.
But you don’t need 10 years to understand what you watch in English without the subtitles.
Cara Leopold is a great teacher whose focus is to help students improve their listening skills by using authentic resources ( with “real” English, that is, materials that weren’t designed to be used in an EFL classroom)
I’ve spent the last year and a half figuring out how to teach listening. So that you can understand the films and TV shows you want to watch, subtitle free.
Just listening (like I used to do) is not enough. Watching films without subtitles to try to improve is making you frustrated. Because you switch them back on and then feel bad about it. Or you spend so much time rewinding and re-listening to parts of films, you need 3 hours to watch one.
Your English is great. What you need are the right activities to improve your skills so you can finally break your subtitle habit.
You know lots of words in the written form. Because you read tons of blogs and novels in English. But you don’t know how they sound.
And even when you think you know how they sound, words are weird in fast, connected speech. They change in ways you might not expect.
Plus in movie and TV dialogue some actors are just mumbly. And some references are pretty damn obscure.
Time to stop beating yourself up and start understanding.
Interviews and guest posts with me from around the web
Otherwise, in no particular order:
2-part interview with Pete from Aussie English:
Tips for learning English with films and TV shows on Luke’s English podcast
2-part interview on the Feel Good English podcast:
Interview with Christina Rebuffet on British vs American English on Speak English with Christina
Conseils pour apprendre l’anglais en regardant les séries on the Small Things cinema blog
Featured on 30 incredible websites to learn English online on the Real English Conversations blog
Featured on Joy of Language’s 50 extraordinary women who will inspire you to learn a language
Can I really watch foreign films without subtitles? on the Lindsay Does Languages blog
How TV series can improve your business English on the English with a Twist blog
The Surprising Listening Skill You’ll Need this Conference Season on the English with a Twist blog
How to Catch Every Word of the World’s Most Popular Podcast on the Speak Confident English blog
Roundup post on Huggins International Is Moving Abroad the Best Way to Learn a Foreign Language?
Episode 100 of the Language Meanderings Podcast with Jonathan Huggins
Roundup post on Vagabond English: Read Books, Transform Your English
Better English Pronunciation: 27 Experts Share their Top Tip on the Clark and Miller Blog
Why Can’t You Understand What You Watch in English? on the Clark and Miller Blog
10 Tips to Use Talk Shows to Transform your Listening on the iTalki blog
5 Secrets from the Shallow End to Improve Your Listening on the Learn out live blog
How to Make Listening a Habit on the English with Kirsty blog
Power up Your Podcast with a Transcript on the Do You Speak Freedom blog
English Outside the Box’s October Learning Plan week 2 on Listening Skills
Interview on Teacher to Teacherpreneur about Leo Listening
English Vocabulary: Advice from 17 English Teachers roundup post on English for Study
Why do I understand my colleagues at work, but not at the pub? On English for My Dream
Understanding Natural English: Listening like a Native on the English with Kim blog
How to Create a Free Trial Service that Doesn’t Take Your Time on Elena Mutonono’s blog
How to Create a Unique Product that Sells on Elena Mutonono’s blog