Foreign movies in your target language

Hello. I was just thinking about something that has to do with learning languages.

I was watching the movie “Rounders” (Matt Damon and Edward Norton, about a gifted Poker player who is having dilemmas) last night and could not help but notice the type of English they use. The dialogue was FULL of idioms and phrases which are not that common, but make sense to most native English speakers (Americans from the North East and West Coast anyways…probably for the central parts too…but Im not 100% about how well British speakers would pick up on some of the little phrases).

But for someone learning English, the type of speech in this movie would proabably be VERY confusing. I can only imagine what the translation would read like. Im sure it would either

a) express the same kind of idea that the phrase contained, but using a phrase of the second language with COMPLETELY different words and probably mental imagery. A simple example would be translating the english “awesome” (as in hip, OK etc) to spanish “a fuego” (cool, as in awesome also, literally “on fire”). It gets the point across.


b) try to translate the phrase word for word while at the same time losing the meaning. like if someone says the english “hip” (as in cool), which gets translated as the Spanish “cadera” (which im pretty sure means like the Hip bone). Here, all meaning is lost.

Either way, someone watching Rounders in English while reading subtitles in their native tounge would be getting a strange picture.

Which leads me to my point: I think that watching movies from your own country which have come out elsewhere in the world is a good idea. This probably sounds confusing, here is an example.

You are a Brazillian who wants to watch a movie in English but with Portuguese subtitles. I think you should watch a locally made Brazillian movie, one like “Tropa de Elite” (which ANYONE should watch, in ANY language, VERY GOOD!!!), but watch it in ENGLISH speech with Portuguese subtitles.

I think here, a translation has already been done, and some of the dialogue has changed…the actual speech will contain phrases that arent as obscure.

In other words you are getting a good movie in a form of the target language that is NOT as strange and incomprehensible.

This is not to say that you shouldnt ever watch those foreign movies just as they are. They are good for their parts that have comprehensible material, and also for SOME exposure to the more obscure, natively understood form of the language which you will probably not understand till later in your learning. But they are good exposure.

Anyways, what do you all think? Did it make sense? Try it out if you like and let me know.

If you still dont know what I mean, let me know.

Movies are fun and stimulating. They add enjoyment to the learning process. To me they are not as effective as listening and reading, when it comes to language improvement and vocabulary growth. They are also less portable and less convenient. But they are fun. I have many Russian DVDs at home. I watch them for fun, and to judge how much I am improving. They are not my key learning tools.

I’m learning spanish and i was also thinking about this movie thing. To mention, i only started learning the language some four or five days ago, though i’m doing well and i can already read bbc, wikipedia, etc. in spanish. The problem is i cannot understand a word when someone is speaking :slight_smile: As you understand i don’t have a huge vocabulary in my mind neither (1.5K known words in lingq’s overview window), so there is always a word i dont know/cannot remember in every second sentence which makes things even more complicated when listening. I’d like to ask if it is the right way to keep listening radio/tv even if i can only catch 1 word in every 10, or should i find some easier to listen recordings to make a start? I’d really love to finish my hard work on spanish this week, so i could acquire it naturally (while listening to bbc radio, or reading wikipedia, let’s say) from now on.

When talking about idioms, i guess it’s important to understand both the meaning and the literal translation of the phrase. You can also watch movies in a foreign language reading subtitles in the same foreign language, though of course you must have some intermediate knowledge of the language to understand. For the idioms, more often than not, you can understand the meaning based on the context it was said in, and if you do understand - do not care about learning it, it will naturally pop in your mind when needed :slight_smile: In case you cannot get the meaning, there is always a pause button, and things like

As for me, I love to study movies just because I am kind of a drama geek. My favorite movies in Japanese are ‘Swing Girls’ and ‘Shimotuma monogatari,’ both of which have some really interesting dialects. I found Swing Girls to be useful because it is filmed in my favorite part of Japan, Yamagata… and many of my friends are from Northern Japan. So i am exposed to the language all the time.

One of the main characters in Shimotuma has some really really crude language which a cute little refined girl like me would never really use. If i hear it i can understand a good chunk of it but i really really don’t WANT to ever use it.

I guess in English it is the same thing… There are a ton of expressions which i know, but i would never use. It just isn’t in my character to use them. And you’ll find that there are a ton of things in the language you are learning which you’ll never use because it is out of character.

Also, everybody (even in their mother language) has an active and inactive vocabulary. The active is what you use all the time… the inactive is what you know when you hear it or read it.

also, Take for example Shakespeare. As an english speaker, i can watch a Shakespearian play and understand what is going on, even though i don’t know all the references he makes in his work… But I can understand it just fine.

As for studying movies, i personally think they are great IF you don’t watch them and study them at the same time. What you need to do is to record the audio onto your computer, get a copy of the script, upload it here to Lingq and study it like you would anything else. read and listen read and listen… Like Steve suggests.

When you watch the movie, you really should just sit back and enjoy it even if you don’t understand every little thing in it…

It’s a great idea to upload soundtrack and script to LingQ so one can study it in a more detailed manner. Though I really like movies with little to almost no action or dialog happening :smiley:

So, i do not think i’ll be able to use the idea for the movies, but i still can do the same with some songs! I’ll try uploading a song and the lyrics into my LingQ account, that way i will be both enjoying my favorite music and learning Spanish at the same time :slight_smile: Love the idea :slight_smile:

Haven’t seen so many smart people like you in one place for a very long time :smiley:

I usually listen to some musics from Disney movies… They are available in a lot of languages in youtube and some even have lyrics. It’s a cool thing to compare different languages and to see how much we understand of the language, I think.