Learn English with Movies

Learning a language is much easier when you’re enjoying yourself – and what better way to pass the time than watching movies (with a tub of popcorn in hand, of course)!  To help you out, here’s a movie to help you learn English.

The King’s Speech (2010)

Quite conveniently, this film focuses on England’s King George, who had to overcome a speech impediment to deliver a speech to the British people – so it’s not only entertaining but there’s actually a whole pronunciation lesson in there too. Win!

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Discourse Markers as Responses

As we listen to someone speaking, we usually show our response to what we hear either by gesture (head nod) or by a short response (Mm, yeah, really, that’s a shame). This shows that we are listening to and interested in what is being said. We call these short responses ‘response tokens’.

Common response tokens include:

absolutely

fine

okay

wow

(all) right

good

quite (more formal)

yeah

certainly

great

really

yes

definitely

I see

sure

exactly

no

wonderful

that’s great/interesting/amazing/awful, etc.

We use response tokens for a number of functions:

To show interest and to show that we want the speaker to continue

A:

So he opened the door.

B:

Yeah.

A:

And he went in very quietly without waking her.

B:

Right.

A:

He opened her bag and…

To show surprise

A:

We’ve decided to go to Africa for a month next year.

B:

Oh really!

To show sympathy

A:

He can’t play soccer for at least six months. He’s broken his leg.

B:

That’s terrible.

Learning English with Movies

Want to know the history behind the invention of Facebook? This story tells the story of the young Mark Zuckerberg, a geeky Harvard student, who wants to revolutionize the way we communicate with other people. The story shows how Zuckerberg accidentally finds fame and becomes a multi-millionaire – but there is a price.

Many of his old friends and people he’s connected with over the years want him to fail. Mark Zuckerberg shows us he’s got everything in terms of material things but very little in terms of friends. Mark Zuckerberg finds himself in court a number of times and the movie questions whether it was really Mark Zuckerberg or not who first created the world’s largest social network, Facebook.

Why it’s a great movie for learning English: This is an award winning movie written by Aaron Sorkin. He’s famous for his natural dialogue and funny lines, which makes this movie really enjoyable to watch and of course it’s easy to follow too. Also, almost everyone understands and knows Facebook and you will automatically be able to relate to the movie and not to mention, you’ll also be able to pick up a lot of great English vocabulary related to computers, technology and social networks.

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Idioms in Movies: Slap on the Wrist

“Slap on the wrist” is a mild punishment.

Example: The judge gave her a slap on the wrist by sentencing her to a few hours of community service.

Text in the clip from “Dexter: Do the Wrong Thing”:
– So what happened?
– Nothing. Guy gets a slap on the wrist. But, a couple of weeks later, he drops dead. Rat poisoning. Sound like a coincidence to you?
– Wow, I don’t know.
– Three makes a pattern. Maybe they all got in her way.

Watching Movies, A Great Way to Improve Your English

Hi,

My name is Sara and I am an English teacher.

As someone whose native language is not English was a hard task for me to learn and improve my English, especially my listening and pronunciation. One of the best things that helped a lot in this case was watching movies.

At first, I would just watch each movie once and sometimes even using the subtitles to understand everything but then I realized that when watching a movie with subtitles, rather than concentrating on what was being said, I was following the subtitles; so I stopped. Then I started watching movies with English subtitles and it helped a bit more with my vocabulary and even pronunciation. Slowly I found a way to watch movies which benefited me the most.

It is really possible to watch movies and learn English at the same time? Yes and follow this process that I used!

  1. I watched the movie once completely without any subtitles to get the gist of the movie.
  2. Then I divided the time of the movie into 5 minutes; so for example if a movie was 2 hours (120 minutes), I divided it to 24 parts each 5 minutes.
  3. For each 5 minutes, I used to listen to each sentence and try to write down whatever was being said and when my 5 minutes finished, I used to check it with the English subtitles to see how much of it I got right.
  4. Then I looked up the words or slang (movies are one of the best resources to learn current slangs) that I didn’t know the meanings of.
  5. After that I watched the 5 minutes again and repeated after each sentence or word and tried to imitate exactly the same sounds and pitch(how they used their voice to say the words)
  6. After finishing the first 5 minutes, I would move to the second 5 minutes and repeat the process.

Below you can download “Still Alice”. Still Alice is a 2014 American independent drama film written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland and based on Lisa Genova’s 2007 bestselling novel of the same name. The film stars Julianne Moore as Alice Howland, a linguistics professor diagnosed with familial Alzheimer’s disease shortly after her 50th birthday.

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Idioms in Movies: When Pigs Fly

“When pigs fly” means “never, impossible”.

Usage in an animated TV series (“The Simpsons”):
– You know, Smithers, I think I’ll donate a million dollars to the local orphanage… when pigs fly.
– That’s a good one. Hey… hey…

Idioms in movies: Put all your eggs in one basket

“Put all your eggs in one basket” means “to put all your efforts or all your resources into one plan or one course of action”.

Usage in a movie (“Forget Me Not”):
– Yes, but there is another place you might like even better.
– I’m happy here!
– Please, Nan. Try. And remember, you always said to me not to put all my eggs in one basket.
– How absurd! I said nothing of the sort! What does that even mean?

Transitional Words and Phrases

Transitional devices are words or phrases that help carry a thought from one sentence to another, from one idea to another, or from one paragraph to another. And finally, transitional devices link sentences and paragraphs together smoothly so that there are no abrupt jumps or breaks between ideas.

There are several types of transitional devices, and each category leads readers to make certain connections or assumptions. Some lead readers forward and imply the building of an idea or thought, while others make readers compare ideas or draw conclusions from the preceding thoughts.

Idioms in Movies: Speak with a Forked Tongue

“Speak with a forked tongue” means “to tell lies, to make false promises”.

Usage in a TV series (“Prison Break”):
– You’re gonna let me traipse on out of here.
– Depends on the information. Who’s pulling your strings?
– You know, I got a hunch you’re speaking with a forked tongue, pretty.