Updated: Jun 4
Watching a series in its original language is a great way to learn new words, practice listening skills and explore different cultures.
Here are my five tricks to get the most out of watching a series in your target language.
1. Find a series that interests you
Series are a form of entertainment, so they should be entertaining to you! Just because you're learning, doesn't mean it can't be fun. If you love crime docs, search for crime docs in your target language. If you love thrillers, search for a thriller series. By making it something you enjoy, you're increasing your chances for success and fueling your motivation to keep learning.
2. Watch in digestable increments that work for you
Everyone is different, and every day is different. Avoid burning yourself out and do what feels best for you. If you don't have the time to watch a full episode, watch a few minutes and go back to it later. What's important is getting at least some exposure when you can. If you are able to watch a whole episode, or binge a whole season, that's great! But there's also no shame in pausing and going back when you've got more time and more energy to get more out of it.
3. Write down words or phrases you recognize
This is a great confidence booster and listening activity. At the end of your streaming session, you can look back at your list and revel in your language learning awesomeness by seeing everything you understood laid out in front of you. This can be difficult as a beginner, so you should be proud of even one or two words. This way, you can also compare as you progress and see how the list grows as you learn!
4. Write down words or phrases you want to know
Whether something simply sounds cool or is related to a topic of interest to you, this is a great way to learn new and meaningful vocabulary and strengthen your listening skills. Take this a step further, and create a Quizlet set or flash cards to practice these words and phrases when you're done watching.
5. Watch with the original subtitles
If you're a bit further along in your learning, you may be ready to watch with the original subtitles. This is a full-on immersion activity, great for listening and reading skills. This also makes it easier to pause and learn correct spelling so you can look up new words as you're watching. But, don't forget trick #2 above, and make sure you're not burning yourself out, as this can be one of the more challenging activities. If you find yourself becoming tired or less interested, take a break!
Watching a new series in your target language isn't just a great way to learn, it's also a great way to find some cool new series to enjoy! Plus, this is another way to experience the different cultures where your target language is spoken. Since you're watching something you enjoy, you might not even realize just how much you're learning. Happy streaming!
PS- Want to advance your German? Book a free consult for German language coaching & lessons with me today!
About the Author
Noelle is an experienced German teacher and coach. After having lived and worked in Germany in 2014, she returned to the US and earned a Second Bachelor of Arts degree in German, from an AATG German Center of Excellence. Currently, she is pursuing her Master of Arts in Translation and Interpretation Studies and learning Spanish, French and Russian in her free time. When she is not teaching or traveling, you can find her exploring Texas or spending time with her partner and their two cats.