Learning a language from movies.

I highly encourage you to watch this brilliant TED talk by Chris Lonsdale.

To sum up for those who didn’t watch the video, there are 5 principles and 7 actions you need to follow to learn a language in 6 months.

5 Principles

  1. Focus on language content that is relevant to you. 
    Meaning, Relevance, Attention, Memory.
  2. Use your new language as a tool to communicate from day 1.
  3. When you first understand the message, you will acquire the language unconsciously (comprehensible input).
  4. Physiological training. 
    Language learning is not about accumulating lots of knowledge.
  5. Psych-physiological state. 
    If you are sad, angry, upset you are not gonna learn. Also you need to be tolerant of ambiguity. If you try to understand 100% you will go nuts, because you will be upset all the time.

7 Actions

  1. Listen a lot. 
    It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand. Put yourself into context.
  2. Focus on getting the meaning first.
  3. Start mixing. 
    Knowing some words you can build meaningful sentences.
  4. Focus on the core. 
    In english 1000 words covers 85% of daily communication.
  5. Get a language parent.
    1. Works to understand what you are saying.
    2. Does not correct mistakes.
    3. Confirms understanding by using correct language.
    4. Uses words the learner knows.
  6. Copy the face. 
    Get the muscles working right.
  7. Direct connect to mental images. 
    Use your imagination and feelings to remember the word.

How does this apply to movies?

✓ Focus on language content that is relevant to you.
We all watch movies, we all like them. If we like the content — it is automatically relevant to us, if not — just switch to a movie that is interesting to you.

✓ When you first understand the message, you will acquire the language unconsciously (comprehensible input).
As we watch content we like, we are automatically in a position where we want to understand the message. This makes us memorize!

✓ Physiological training.
While watching videos, you will not learn how to pronounce, however you will train your brain in recognizing the patterns and memorizing the pronunciation, which is exactly what you need before you can start talking and to improve your pronunciation. Lots of small moments of how words sound or how the lips and facial muscles are used will burn into your memory, without any effort.

✓ Psych-physiological state.
The whole cinema industry has been designed to improve our psychological state. It is all about having fun and having feelings. Learning in this mental state and environment is the best one can get.

✓ Focus on the core.
Language used in the movies is simple most of the time. It is the language natives use to communicate. Some movies/series go deeper into specific areas like medicine or science. This is your chance to dive deeper into vocabulary of a more specific field.

✓ Direct connect to mental images.
Movies are brilliant at this. They make our imagination work, they produce feelings in us and this is exactly what makes us learn.

Lingvo TV

The best way to learn from a movie is to have subtitles and sound both in the same language, the language you actually want to learn. Sometimes we know the word, but we don’t recognize it from the sound. Also it makes you memorize it visually.

However I always had one problem. When you watch a movie, you dive deep into the action, you feel like you are part of it. Once you stumble over a word you don’t understand, it’s really hard or even impossible to stop the movie and lookup the word. This is the moment where I always felt like I could learn better.

So I decided to build a tool, which allows me to translate words on the go, without stopping a movie, without loosing the context and still being able to understand the meaning.

Please welcome lingvo.tv. It works by connecting your phone with your desktop browser, where you run Netflix or Amazon Video. Your desktop browser streams subtitles from the video to your phone. The app on the phone allows you to click on any word any time and get the translation.

Current limitations of LingvoTV:

  1. You need Google Chrome desktop browser.
  2. You need to have Netflix or Amazon Video account.
  3. The movie needs to have sound and subtitles in the language you want to learn.

LingvoTV is in a beta stage, I am working on removing those limitations. Your feedbacks and support is crucial for me to improve this tool.

I have also plans of making this tool even more useful by helping you to memorize the new words afterwards, without much time or effort.

Give lingvo.tv a try, it helps me almost every day, maybe it will also help you!