Most of us probably took a foreign language course in high school or college, but odds are we remember very little of it now. After graduating, it gets harder to retain that knowledge or take the initiative to keep learning. Rosetta Stone is a bit expensive, I usually ignore DuoLingo's reminders and I'm not planning on moving to Spain or France.
Fortunately, all hope is not lost if you want to learn a new language or brush up on your skills. Netflix (download for iOS or Android) added a new Chrome extension called Learning Language with Netflix so you can learn while watching a movie or TV show.
Simply install the extension and click the icon to launch the catalog of movie and TV show options. You can pick from hundreds of titles that teach languages like Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, English, Bengali and more.
If you wanted to work on your Spanish, for example, select it from the dropdown menu and specify which country you're in (not all titles are available in the same places). You'll have 233 titles to pick from.
Depending on the language you want to learn, you might have fewer titles to pick from. For example, there are six titles for Arabic and 147 titles for Chinese.
Each title includes a brief summary, information about the genre, runtime and release date, its rating on Netflix and how many countries its available in. When you're ready to start, just click Watch on Netflix and the movie or show will open in the app.
As the program plays, two sets of subtitles will show at the bottom of the screen. One set is your native language and the other is the one you're wanting to learn. The words highlight as they're spoken, like a karaoke sing-a-long. You can listen to the dialogue phrase by phrase, and pause and replay as needed.
Hit "A" for the previous subtitle, "S" to repeat a subtitle, "D" for the next subtitle and the space bar to pause or play.
When you hover over a word, a pop-up dictionary appears so you can compare the translation with the original audio and text for more comprehension. The most important words for you to learn are highlighted.
"For beginners, try setting the drop-down to 300-800 words," the website said. "For intermediate level, try 1500-2500. If you find you know all the words that are shown in solid black, you are ready to move up a level."
Learning Language with Netflix also includes study tips for each level.
"For all levels, if there's something tricky, or there's some new structure you don't really understand, don't get stuck on it for long," the website said. "Keep moving through the subs. It's already quite helpful to be exposed to the new structure and be able to associate some meaning to it. If it's something important that you should learn, you'll see it again soon anyway, and you'll gain more knowledge about how it works."
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- To make language learning more accessible, Netflix launched a new Chrome extension called Learning Language with Netflix.
- The app helps you learn a language by watching a show or movie on Netflix and running two sets of subtitles for comprehension.
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