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E02 – Shall I learn through TV Series or Movies?

Hello language enthusiasts, welcome back, I’m your host, Daniel Goodson, I’m an English learner and I want you to be part of my language journey as well. In my fluent podcast, I share all my learning  experience with you. The main goal here is to become more fluent.

Quick Introduction to this episode

My theme here is still  learning through tv series and movies as it was on my previous 2 episodes.

In this episode I wanna raise the following question:

Should you use tv series or movies to learn your target language?

Well, In fact, both learning with TV series and movies can be very powerful in its own way.

which  one suits you better is  really individual and depends on various factors like:

  1. -what your goals are
  2. -how much time  you are willing to spend on
  3. -how much knowledge you already have -> meaning which your current language level is  (are you intermediate, upper intermediate or an advanced/proficient learner)


Where to download subtitles:


So, let’s start with the

TV Series

First and foremost, learning from TV Series is  more suitable for advanced language learners or you should be at least an upper Intermediate learner, who is willing to spend a lot of time with this learning method. In any case,  this method is worthwhile that I can tell for sure! (At the end the effort will definitely pay off)

You need to handle with new vocabulary, accents, intonations, unclear pronunciation just to name you a few.

And the difficulty here is to proceed the information from several episodes. Therefore you need to organize yourself.

If you’re not organized, you’ll find yourself trying to learn hundreds of vocabulary and then finally fail…

My experience showed me that unfocused learning doesn’t bring me further with my language skills. Actually, quite the contrary was the case – I put a lot of energy and sweat into it without seeing any results or only very little results comparing with all the efforts. I once found myself jotting down every single word I didn’t understand the next piece of paper I could find. A few weeks later then I won’t even remember from where I got the words and why I wanted them to memorize. I couldn’t handle the amount of words and finally stopped learning.

And you have to understand here that when it comes to learning a language it‘s always better to learn with context. Context and making connections are key!

If you are a beginner or intermediate learner, you could use tv series as well  but in this case, I would highly recommend you to separate the learning material into several short parts. That allows you to work only on a few scenes at a time – in a very focused way.

Otherwise, you’ll be definitely overwhelmed by all the new vocabulary, which you may not understand. And as a result, it will be almost impossible to learn something from the TV series.

I want to underscore that with an example from my life:

If I read a book in which I don’t understand let’s say 30 words in a single page, my motivation goes down and  I finally stop reading. Being overwhelmed and don’t understand nothing  is a  real motivation killer!

And in general,  when it comes to learning a language you shouldn’t be over whelmed by the learning material -it should be challenging, though. The hard thing here really is  to find the right balance.

So for beginners or intermediate learners, the method with the movies is definitely better. It’s easier to handle.

Even If I don’t consider myself an advanced learner I prefer learning from tv series.

For me, it’s kind of a long-term learning thing, which I really like. And therefore I work on one episode after the other.

To be honest the whole learning with tv series  takes me a lot of time. the reason for that  is, that I already know most of the vocabulary I come across and I only want to focus on unknown words or good phrases. I don’t wanna dwell on chunks I already know. To me – that wouldn’t make sense to waste time on that. Making a list with all the meaningful vocabulary or phrases is therefore really essential for me. That’s why I wanna take the time and it is really worth it.

You exactly know which expression you have already learned and  also important, from which series and episode the phrase came from.

  • Now I wanna explain how I myself process all the learning with TV series  in more detail in 4 steps:
  1. Step 1: My very first step – and that is very important to me – is to enjoy the whole episode in English with English subtitles in the first place. That way  I get a first sense of the whole story. And I will note unknown words  for the first time. I don’t look them up, though. That would break my flow of enjoyment, which I want to avoid with all means. I don’t get bothered by words I don’t understand because I can already understand the gist oft the story – well not always, depending on the accent they speak in the series it is hard to follow.  The knowledge I got from previous episodes will make it easier to guess the meaning of unknown words in a newer episode.

In my opinion, it’s crucial  to declare your watching time whether it is learning time or watching just for fun. Sometimes you need to take a break and just have fun without thinking every second you have to learn something.

  1. Step two: In a second step, I search the Internet for the subtitles of the episode I want to learn from. There are several websites out there from where you can download them. I will put the link ( on my show notes… go to Then I open the subtitles in a simple  text editor. then I copy paste these subtitles to a word document. I delete gaps and make some modifications in order to make it more legible for the work that follows in step 3.
  2. Step three:I go over the whole text and mark all the phrases that I want to work with in highlighter. That can take me quite a long time. The next step is to revise the highlighted phrases or words. And now comes  the hard part because  it’s time to decide which words/chunks of words do I really want to know.

To help you with your decision you could ask yourself:

– is it really worth learning by heart?

– how likely are the odds you will use it in your daily life again?

most important here is that you are aware of what you are doing. Know your goals !

the more focused you learn, the easier it will be for you to reach your goals in the future.

Of course, you can learn all the words and phrases just for the sake of learning the language. If that’s really what you want – just go for it. But it will be definitely more difficult for you.

Once you’ve made your decision we can go to step 4:

  1. Make a chronological list out of the words you want to work with. I put that list together with the subtitles document on a cloud server . In , I use Evernote. That enables me to learn whenever I want on different devices. you can work with taglines and can easily organize your stuff. Good Filenames  are key and will allow you to easily work on that stuff in the future.

Even if I forget about that list after some time, I remember again when I come across these files again in my cloud server. When it comes to learning new words, bear in mind, sometimes procrastination isn‘t that bad. It will actually stick better to my brain if revised a cuple of times over a longer period of times.

Another  quick note here regarding TV series.

I even found myself looking for podcasts which covert the subject of  some of my favorite TV series. And to my surprise, I’ve found several great podcasts. These days new podcasts spring up like mushrooms. Watch out for podcasts in your target language!

And don’t forget : finally it comes all down to having fun and being exposed to your target language.


These were my thoughts about learning with TV Series.

Now, let’s head over to the movies.


learn languages with films you love

You may have a particular favorite movie or perhaps you watched a movie several times in your mother tongue before (back in the days).

That could even be a movie which you’ve seen in your childhood.

…and at this point the film Titanic with Leonardi di Caprio comes into my mind. To my defense – I myself haven’t seen the Movie – at least not the entire movie.

I remember quite good back in the day when they brought Titanic in the theaters –  there were lots of these hardcore fans who watched the movie multiple times – in fact up to incredibly 13 times according to a television program.

At any rate,  I’m quite sure, even years  later these people can probably still remember a lot of  the spoken lines of the film by heart.

As a result, bearing this in mind, this could help you tremendously to learn another language.

And the scenes  and settings will be  familiar to you and you  will exactly know what comes next. And that’s exactly what will give you the support while learning another language. I already mentioned that in one of my previous episodes. Your really should go where your passion leads you.

Just buy the movie -if you don’t have it yet-  and watch the movie – but this time switch the audio language to your target language.

As you know the movie quite well, you will guess words from your previous  knowledge.

the more you know the entire movie by heart the more powerful it will become as a learning resource to work ok.

so that’s it for today.

I’m your host Daniel Goodson. This was my fluent podcast. My e-Mail is

Additional notes

apps which can support you while learning with movies or TV series:


head over to the website:

natify me

create multimedia flashcards from your favorite film, TV series or even songs.