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Learn languages with Netflix by watching movies and series

learn languages with netflix

If you’re familiar with Netflix, you know how much this app has replaced going to movie places physically.

There are other features that make users stay with Netflix, such as their night mode/dark mode and closed-caption subtitles.

With an easy way to learn languages with Netflix, you’ll find many advantages in using this app as your language learning tool.

How foreign movies influenced learning a foreign language

Our brains function best in context, and we struggle to remember words that appear in isolation. That is why teachers include example sentences to vocabulary terms.

Language teachers also put the grammar lessons into stories or short discussion questions to show you the beauty of linguistics.

Through compelling stories, hilarious moments, and unexpected events, movies naturally provide vital context.

All of these tools help you memorize words and know the meaning of the vocabulary that you first encounter during the lessons.

But what’s a better way to teach someone a new language?

Even then, language professors use movies as an example to portray a country’s tradition and culture.

Foreign movies introduce words that become popular as a catchphrase or a quote that will be passed onto centuries.

The love of foreign films gained massive support from the mainstream media as many of these undubbed movies even won awards and gained millions of love from fans all over the world.

Indeed, it is a wise way to discover better communication and memorization techniques when it is fun and entertaining.

How to learn languages with Netflix

Films are a great way to open our eyes to different cultures and perspectives around the world.

Aside from acquiring new language skills, you’ll also learn how to speak like a native of your favorite language to learn.

Since technology is easy to use for almost anything lately, you can even use Netflix to discover which films and series are trending around the world.

There are English subtitles for every series or movie that you can watch on Netflix.

Netflix costs $9.99 for the basic plan and $19.99 for premium (£6.99 per month on basic and £15.99 per month on premium)

There are other tools to learn languages with Netflix as a complementary or supporting resource.

Let’s learn more about maximizing your Chrome browser with an extension for Netflix that helps you discover new vocabulary.

Language learning with Netflix: Chrome Extension (Now called Language Reactor)

The owners of this Chrome extension intended this tool to help other language learners like them to enjoy the language learning process. 

Since the project has now been a lot bigger, they have changed the chrome extension’s name to Language Reactor.

To use the Language Learning with Netflix Chrome extension, you need to have your Netflix account playing on your Chrome browser.

Next, it will prompt you to choose your native language. You can then choose the movie you want to study, whether it is Spanish, Greek, Japanese, or other foreign language movies.

Language learning with Netflix is based on the method that listening to a language will prompt you to understand the context of the sentence better.

As we have suggested in our blogs, you should try practicing your desired language by listening and speaking.

Watching films or playing music in the target language you’re learning makes learning more engaging and interesting.

You may join up for a free trial or the premium service for Netflix and select between human translation or machine translation.

Automatic translation translates every spoken word exactly as it is uttered, whereas human translation understands idioms and phrases.

There are also some useful controls for speeding up or slowing down the video and audio so you can understand what the native speakers were trying to say.

It has dual language subtitles which help you practice reading your target language and show the correct spelling and context for the word you’re trying to learn.

For me, it might be harder to read two subtitles, so I usually opt just to make the subtitles and the language of the show itself in its native language.

The other useful tool to use Language Reactor is for Youtube.

So if you’re also learning through this video streaming platform, take advantage of this powerful tool to learn by listening and repeating words you hear.

Best Netflix movies and series for language learners

This list is a mix of series and films which contains different languages, themes, topics, and cinematography.

Netflix has lots of various shows that you can watch if you have a different target language per year.

But there are many people who feel that some movies are lost in translation.

The thought and the intention of the movies are lost due to subtitles that can’t translate what the original language really meant.

It may either be due to a lack of vocabulary in English or the official language they are used to.

Hence it is still better to study the original language and discover the meanings of the vocabulary used in the context of the sentence.

Ojing-eo Geim (Squid Game, 2021)

Ah yes, one of the most famous series on Netflix that probably was too popular for kids too. It is a great movie that will help you learn Korean with English subtitles.

This Korean drama, named after a popular children’s game from the 1970s, has taken Netflix by storm, with its popularity skyrocketing across 94 different countries in only one month.

Squid Game follows Koreans who are out of luck and in desperate need of money.

Things take a sinister turn after receiving suspicious invites to play in seemingly innocent children’s games for that grand prize.

To win the more than 45 billion Won prize, you must be the last one standing. Just one wrong action will result in deadly consequences.

Squid Game also gained recognition in many global awards (Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, Critics’ Choice Television Award, and People’s Choice Award).

La Casa De Papel (Money Heist, 2017- 2021)

Another series worth watching on Netflix, La Casa Del Papel or Money Heist in English translation tells a story about the other perspective of crime.

From the description of La Casa Del Papel: As a criminal mastermind manipulates the police to carry out his plot, eight robbers grab hostages and lock themselves in the Royal Mint of Spain.

Why do people like this series? It gives you a thrilling and exciting perspective about heists in general.

It was one of the longest-running series on Netflix with millions of viewers around the world.

“Der Untergang” (Downfall, 2004)

“Der Untergang” is a show about Hitler’s final day and his moments as a human that struggles.

It depicts death, destruction, destiny, and everything that happened during his Nazi dictatorship.

The movie is emotionally engaging, triggering all sorts of reactions from anger to exuberance, which is one of the reasons why it’s very good for the German language learner.

And because you already know what’s about to happen, you tend to focus more on the language with lots of focus on German verbs.

Ip Man (2008)

Bruce Lee is such a famous martial artist that many films and movie spinoffs were created.

The story of Ip Man revolves around his time developing his Wing Chung talents while living happily with his wife and kids in a mansion-like home.

Master instructors from various martial arts groups visit Ip’s home on a regular basis to challenge him to a duel.

Because Ip Man is a humble man who does not wish to shame his peers, these duels are held in the privacy of Ip’s house.

While the forms and tropes of martial arts films are prominent, what emerges is an immensely captivating tale, and not simply because of the action.

Furthermore, the revelation that Ip Man was Bruce Lee’s mentor completes a circle.

Ip Man not only fought Nazis, but he was also pivotal in the birth of the figure who made martial arts films such an international sensation.

Ip Man’s native language is Cantonese, which may seem harder to learn due to its intonation.

Although it resembles some words formed in Chinese, there are other vocabulary words to hear closely. Especially war-time-specific words that were born in this era.

“十三人の刺客” (13 Assassins, 2010)

Tired of watching their people raped and murdered, thirteen samurai band together to assassinate Lord Matsudaira Naritsugu, the Shogun’s younger brother.

The film’s vocabulary uses antiquated and harsher terms with traditional samurai intonation/speech expression.

It’s like viewing a British film set in the 1900s vs one set in the twenty-first century.

However, this film will broaden your awareness of a period in Japanese history, particularly the Shogun era.

Babylon Berlin (2017)

The TV series “Babylon Berlin” depicts everything of the Weimar Republic’s well-documented excesses: wild dancing scenes, harsh poverty, glittering luxury, graphic sex scenes in nightclubs, and the loud danger of violence by the rising Nazis.

The film is set in spring 1929 and is partially based on Volker Kutscher’s detective books.

Berlin was worldwide, wonderful, a cosmopolitan center that lured people from all over the world as the director commented.

Babylon Berlin also shows language that was relevant for that era too.

Films and shows teach us more than language lessons. This is the beauty of historic shows, to open our eyes to what really shaped the world and learn from them.

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