Language learning with films and TV series

In addition to attending a language course, you can also learn a foreign language on your own outside of the classroom, for example…

While the first four suggestions have been explained in previous blog posts, this blog post will focus on the last suggestion: learning languages through films and TV series.

First, we will look at how watching films and TV series can help you learn a foreign language and what you need to bear in mind. This is followed by a list of fifteen German films and TV series that we hope will not only appeal to you but will also help you make progress in German. Thus, once again, our focus is on learning German.

How to improve your language skills with films and TV series

The benefits of watching films and TV series are similar to those of listening to music or podcasts: you improve your listening skills in the foreign language. At the same time, you consolidate your pronunciation and grammar, expand your vocabulary and develop a better feel for language, which means that you intuitively use the correct sentence order, for example.

Films and TV series also convey cultural knowledge – sometimes in an obvious way, and sometimes in a more hidden way. How do people greet one another? How directly or indirectly do they speak to each other? Are there steep or shallow hierarchies? How important are family and community?

Watching films or TV series in the language you are learning can have a positive effect on your motivation, as it creates a connection with the language and culture. It is this connection that can be missing when we spend hours studying dry grammar and vocabulary.

In order to really improve your foreign language skills by watching films and TV series, there are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Find out about the plot of the film or TV series in advance. Knowing what to expect will make it easier to follow the plot, even if you do not understand everything.
  • If possible, watch films and TV series in the original language. This is much more authentic than dubbed films.
  • Watch films and TV series with subtitles in the original language, which is the language that you are learning, rather than in your native language.
  • Watch the film or TV series a second time, this time without subtitles.
  • Films and TV series to improve your German

A selection of 15 movies and TV series to improve your german

Here is a selection of German films and TV series that can help you improve your German. Let us start with the films:

  1. Die Welle

A 2008 German drama thriller film.

  1. Fack ju Göhte (1, 2 and 3)

The film was the top-grossing comedy in Germany in 2013.

  1. Honig im Kopf

The film is a 2014 tragicomedy about a grandfather suffering from Alzheimer’s and his granddaughter.

  1. Tschick

Highly acclaimed coming-of-age film from 2016.

  1. Kokowääh (1 and 2)

The film was Germany’s most successful comedy of 2011.

  1. Männerherzen

Comedy, which also won several awards in 2009 and 2010.

  1. Kriegerin

Award-winning drama from 2011.

  1. Friendship!

Comedy from 2010.

And here are some TV series:

  1. Dark

Netflix thriller series from 2017 to 2020 (3 seasons).

  1. Doctor’s Diary

Doctor and comedy series from 2008 to 2011 (3 seasons).

  1. Unorthodox

Netflix miniseries from 2020 with original languages Yiddish, English, German.

  1. Türkisch für Anfänger

Comedy television series from 2006 to 2008 (3 seasons).

  1. 4 Blocks

Drama series from 2017 to 2019 (3 seasons).

  1. Der Tatortreiniger

Comedy television series from 2011 to 2018 (7 seasons).

  1. Babylon Berlin

Crime TV series since 2017 (4 seasons).

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope it will serve as an inspiration for you to search for films and TV series that suit your tastes.

Have you tried films and TV series as a learning method? What were your experiences with them? What are your favourite films and TV series? I look forward to your input and feedback in the comments section.

Nelly Müller – Sprachen Akademie

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