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2020 was the year people discovered new hobbies at home: baking, exercise, art, or maybe even cleaning (if you could consider that a hobby). With weeks, months, and even in some places nearly a year of lockdown requirements due to the pandemic, the world has moved every aspect of everyday life back into the home.
If people watched lots of television before the pandemic, they watched tons of it during the pandemic. According to a statistic from May 2020, viewers in the U.S. were watching 203.8 million hours of Netflix per day.
And while COVID-19 restrictions are wearing off in many places around the world and people can go out, home is still a central part of our lives. Inevitably, some of the habits and routines we picked up during the pandemic may stick with us. Binge-watching is certainly one of those habits, as many of us have found more television shows and genres to love.
Do you like to multitask while you watch TV? Perhaps you clean the house, fold laundry, organize cabinets, or write, draw or research while binging your favorite show? Well, new technology is making it possible for entertainment lovers to learn languages while watching television. That is the ultimate form of multitasking.
Curious what that could look like? Well, here’s why you should put your binge-watching to use and learn a new language through the TV.
The best way to learn a language is through immersion. But while the world still recovers from the pandemic, you might not be able to travel to a foreign country and learn the language in person. No problem, though. You can immerse yourself in a new language from the comfort of home by switching your entertainment to the language of choice. The best way to do this is by curating a set of television shows or movies that are in your target language and watching them regularly (if not daily).
While you may have access to some foreign language television shows through other streaming platforms available in the U.S., the selection is usually slim and you will have to rely on subtitles as you begin the language learning process.
If you really want to study efficiently, there’s a streaming platform that has language learning technology built-in. Platforms like Lingopie have an extensive library of foreign films and television shows that allow its subscribers to follow along with two sets of subtitles, and learning tools (like the ability to click a word and read its definition during a show).
While TV is not generally considered an IQ-boosting activity, it can be if you’re learning something new in the process.
Just like playing a new instrument, knitting, reading, or even exercising—activities that are known for improving memory as well as increasing cognitive reasoning and problem-solving—learning a language can actually increase your IQ. According to research, that increase can be as much as 6%.
Instead of using television to turn off your brain, use your binge-watching habits to boost your IQ and get something done in the process.
One of the most interesting things about learning a language through a country’s television shows is that it adds a cultural dimension to the activity.
Fluency is so much more than just knowing the right words to say—essentially, grammar and vocabulary. It’s knowing when and how to say them. Slang, humor, cultural references: these are the facets of language learning that are harder to teach in a classroom, or get from a textbook.
When you’re learning a language through the lens of a TV show, you’re getting the language the way people in that country speak it today (well, unless you’re a fan of period dramas). That offers a whole new understanding that can speed up a viewer’s learning abilities, not to mention make the whole process far more enjoyable.
Most traditional language educators encourage their students to find a place where they can practice conversations in a foreign language regularly. While you can’t necessarily chat with a television set, watching shows in your language of choice can help you understand the flow and cadence of how the language is used. People rarely speak in perfect sentences—no matter the language—and slang is a huge part of daily conversation.
If you’ve run out of things to watch, or you want a creative way to learn a language, put those binge-watching habits to use and learn something new in the process.
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