LingQ and Netflix - experience with learning the language

Hello, guys!

I am writing just a basic comment - question, how do you use exactly LingQ’s feature for importing from Netflix? Do you use it a lot among your learning strategies?
(I mean, if you review it after film, are you still interested in the text what is there about)


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Make sure you have Lingq extension added to Chrome browser (not sure if there is a firefox version or not). Start watching a movie/tv show on Netflix…make sure the subtititles you want are selected. Click the Lingq import button (browser extension). It should import the subtitiles into a lesson.

I have not used this a lot myself. I’m still not at a level where I can understand much as I’m watching, even with subtitles on. I have watched an episode of a tv show and went through parts of it in Lingq. I’ve watched a movie and went through most of it in Lingq afterwards.

Some issues I’ve found…it can be hard to know who is talking, or when it changes speaker. Mostly you can derive this from context, but if there are several people in a scene, you may not know who is speaking in the subtitiles when you look at it in Lingq later. Unless the subtitles have the name of the character. In one show I was watching, the scene had two characters, plus the tv playing that they were watching and the subtitles were there for what was being said on the tv show they were watching. That makes it confusing when you come back and read the subtitles in Lingq…you basically end up with two conversations intermixed =D. Totally understandble when watching, but confusing when reading alone in Lingq.

Another issue, at least with the German language movies/tv shows, is that the subtitles often don’t match the actual dialogue. i.e. they’ll use simple past tense in the subtitles, but the dialogue is in present perfect. Or they’ll make other changes, probably to “tighten” things up for reading quickly.

I think I’ll use the feature more as I get stronger. Much of the vocabulary in movies is a little out of my range so it can be a little tedious to walk through. Plus there is so much to go through. I prefer much shorter stories, dialogue, that I can read in a few minutes.

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I find that there are two ideal scenarios for this feature:

  1. For languages where other native resources may be scarce, such as Korean, where the primary available native content in the US is TV shows and movies. This feature can fill in the gap created by lack of available audiobooks, etc.
  2. A tool for dissecting the vocab of heavy slang ridden films, like French cop movies, or ones with specialty words such as the submarine film Wolf’s Call.

Other than that. I’d have to say reading books with audio is just a way better, more effective way to build up vocab and comprehension. Movies are visual medium, not a text medium. There are entire movies out there where the subs contain only enough words for one LingQ lesson (expl. see the Argentinean movie Black Snow on Netflix.) That’s 2200 words spread out over close to 2 hours of content. (Some movies will have more of course, Wolf’s Call is something like 6,800 words.)

In comparison 2 hours of an audio book will typically contain up to 17,600 words! (One lesson @ 2,200 words usually takes up 15 minutes of audio book narration.) And when you get faster at reading / listening, you can set your audible to 1.25x speed and encounter 22,000 words in two hours. That’s 10x as many words / minute as some movies.

So, while I do use the subs feature for fun and practice, and when it’s necessary, they don’t compare to the impact of working with books with audio.


I agree with T_Harangi’s point that reading+audio books is way more effective overall. Not least because you can listen while driving or something. For Chinese I’m currently reading a translation of “Stumbling Upon Happiness” and listening to an audio version as well. Very effective.
However, for my third language, Cantonese, there are virtually no written materials. It’s extremely hard to find books written in Cantonese, and even harder to find audio accompaniment. But there are many Cantonese movies and TV shows. So I will use netflix for that when it gets fixed.


Watching movies is a great way to train your ears! If you have Netflix, I have a method that just made searching for your target language much easier. But if you have a limited budget, you can stream movies with subtitles through free streaming sites here 99+ Free Streaming Movie Sites, Watch New Films From Cinema!

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If you have the opportunity to watch with audio descriptions, a feature of a lot of Netflix originals, you get REALLY great visuals accompanied by audio. Unfortunately, there are not subtitles to go with these, but that kind of makes sense considered the reason that they exist in the first place is for people with visual impairments. I think this a fantastic way to get more input. It basically makes it that much closer to a book, in which the author has to describe things. The good thing is that it is even more simple than a book. Fewer metaphors and similies. Just straight descriptions. It may feel weird at first, but I did just binge watch 6 episodes of 인간수업 (Extracurricular) last night. I didn’t know that netflix was adding the audio description feature for so many of their “netflix originals,” but it’s a great language learning resource for listening. I think you would get 4x more input than just watching your average series.

I actually like this feature because I can better understand the details sometimes I lose on some movie. But I use it only for English for now.

I usually watch the film before and then I read the text, even the next day or so. I generally remember the movie and the scenes very well and it’s nice to go through it again and read the text.

In Firefox, there’s a feature called Picture in Picture (you can find this on the right hand side of the video) where you can sort of detach the video and it will be on top of any applications in your desktop. So basically you can be over at LingQ and at the same time watch the video that you’re learning. Hope this helps.