5 films to improve your English

 

We looked at some tv series that you could watch to improve your English listening skills and vocabulary in a previous post (6 TV shows you should watch to improve your English). Now we will look at some films (movies in American English).

 

As we said before, film and tv is a great entry point for English learners to get a taste for English. Indeed, children who are exposed to English from a very young age find it much easier to learn the language than those who are not. For kids, cartoons can be a great access point. But for adults, mostly films will be the best. Everyone loves a good film, and everyone has different tastes. While Spanish students may have grown up with Disney dubbed into Spanish, other smaller languages like Norwegian might not have had the same dubbed movies. It turns out this was a good thing for them.

 

But it’s not too late to start. You need many hours of listening practice before it becomes easy. So start with tv series, because they are shorter, and then move onto films when it is not so much work for you. Films are longer and thus more tiring, and generally there are not so many easy films to watch. I will try to suggest some, but most of these films will be those which have some interest linguistically or will be different or challenging for your ear. You need exposure to different accents and ways of speaking to build your fluency and prepare you for speaking in person.

 

  1. Alice in Wonderland

Now, you have probably seen this film. You have either seen the Disney animated version, or the live-action version with Johnny Depp. But have you seen it in English. The original book is written by Lewis Carroll and it is full of linguistic genius. Rhyme, double-negative, confusion, reference and more all play into a wonderfully twisted play with the English language. Read the book or watch the films, and enjoy.

 

We called him tortoise because he taught us

 

  1. Harry Potter

Surprisingly, for a childrens book, the Harry Potter series is very inventive and creative with English. All the names of items, spells, animals, etc. in the stories are compounds or combinations of English words and references. It does not revert to latin exactly, like some magical tales might, so it is all good. There is also plenty of talking, in English accents, and it is quite easy to understand and follow.

 

  1. Arrival

Do you like sci-fi? Aliens? A global crisis that could result in the end of the world in the future? Well, this one is solved by linguists. Using techniques similar to that which your English teacher might use, the main characters in this film learn to communicate with extra-terrestrials in order to learn the knowledge required to save the world.

 

  1. Billy Elliot

This English classic story of a young boy growing up in the North of England wanting to do ballet is a beautiful, happy and sad story that every English person knows. The key things here is impoving your listening skills with regional accents. Put the subtitles on and listen to the tones of Yorkshire/County Durham. It also features some great music.

 

  1. Snatch

Guy Ritchie was once proabably the biggest English director. He was married to Madonna but has fallen from fame a little more recently. Snatch is a classic. At the time, almost everyone in England had seen Snatch. It is an English gangster film featuring Brad Pitt and more famous actors. It is both funny and violent, but it is full of interesting and varied accents from around London and Britain. It could be difficult, so use subtitles.

 

 

Written by James R. McCance for Aston School