How Reading Can Help You Become Fluent In English

How Reading Can Help You Become Fluent In English

English is an important language that is spoken all around the globe. It’s officially known as the ‘language of business. Therefore, it’s no surprise that many of us want to learn it properly.

 

However, learning a second language isn’t always easy. There is a lot to learn and requires constant practice to master. Thankfully, a great method to enhance your English comprehension is reading.

 

What’s the Point in Reading

 

Reading is so important for a variety of reasons. It’s not only necessary to be able to understand signs or menus when in an English-speaking country. Being able to read in English will allow you to uncover more about the culture, from reading books to reading newspapers and learning cool new facts about the country.

 

As well as the above, you will learn all about sentence structure, and new words that are vital for gaining a more in-depth understanding of the language.

 

Improving English Conversational Skills

 

Once you become familiar with reading both fiction and nonfiction English books, your understanding of English will improve massively. Many books capture how modern English is spoken which can help when conversing with other speakers.

 

Another crucial part of the language that you’ll pick up on from reading is the use of punctuation. Without realizing it, when you’re speaking, sentences will be formatted the same, which ensures others can understand you easily.

 

Writing is Enhanced

 

Through constant reading, readers pick up how to write English correctly. Both in relation to words used and grammar used throughout.

 

However, there’s more! You should see an improvement when spelling, which is essential to understanding the Language.

 

How to Read Effectively

 

I’m sure you have often found that when reading your favorite book in your native language, you often read through the pages, without worrying about what every word means and in what sentence structure it should be in. In time, you will be able to do the same with English, however, to improve your reading skills, we recommend starting with the following:

 

Focused Reading

 

Focused reading is where you read through every word on the page, trying to understand exactly what it all means, getting as much information as possible from reading what’s on the page. This is great for learning as you can gain a deeper understanding of what English words mean in the context of a sentence or a paragraph. Not only will this improve your reading comprehension, but improve your writing and speaking skills at the same time.

 

English Translations

 

Have a book you know well in your own language? Why not read an English translation! As the words and the story will be familiar to you in your native language, you will be able to piece together the puzzle in the English translation much easier.

 

Additional Learning Resources

 

At B20 British School, we provide tutoring classes for those interested in improving their English skills. Whether it be for sitting IELTS, Cambridge exams, or personal development.

 

Our experienced tutors understand how to cater to all learning styles without fail. From start to finish you’ll have constant support to receive the results you want. CONTACT US TODAY

Best Ways to Practice English

With many different ways to learn English out there, it can sometimes be difficult trying to find the right learning technique for you.

 

Read below and find out some of the best ways to practice English, all from the comfort of your own home.

 

  1. Read Articles in English

 

One of the best ways to quickly increase your English vocabulary is through reading. When you read, you often pick up on many words you haven’t seen before.

 

No matter what you read, whether it’s short stories or blogs, you are sure to find new words. Not only will you find new words, but you will also gain a better understanding of the context that these words should be in.

 

As long as you keep your dictionary close to you, you are sure to increase your vocabulary in no time!

 

  1. Write It Down

 

Every time you find a new word that you haven’t come across before, write it down in your notepad, along with the meaning of that word. Have a go at trying to use that word a few times in general conversation!

 

Not only will you learn new words, but you’d also gain a better understanding of when to use and how to say the word properly.

 

  1. Word Games

 

Words games are one of the most popular and inexpensive ways of learning English.

 

Games like ‘I Spy’ or ‘Scrabble’ are perfect for training your language skills whilst under pressure, which is vital for when you have to take your IELTS test.

 

These active games will keep you more focused and engaged than just reading lines from a workbook.

 

  1. Change Your Phone Settings

 

Another easy way to try out some of your language learning skills is by changing your phone language to English.

 

As you will be so familiar with all the words in your language, seeing them in another language will open your mind to a range of new words of which you had previously not known.

 

  1. Learn English Phrases or Common Sayings

 

Although now you might have a good grip of the English language, you still may not sound like a native.

 

To sound fluent, it’s recommended to learn phrases or common sayings that native speakers routinely use.

 

Not only will it help improve your skills, but it’s also fun to learn some of the weird and wacky phrases that many of us use in regular speech!

 

  1. Online English Courses

 

One of the best and most thorough ways to improve your English is through online English courses. At B&20 British School we provide high-quality English courses for those of all levels looking to get a strong grip of the language.

 

From start to finish, all our courses are designed to vastly improve your communication skills, and be all set for going out into the business English world.

 

If you’re interested, contact us today and we will be happy to get you started on the road to becoming a proficient English speaker.

 

The advantages of studying online compared to face to face classes

Online classes are popping up everywhere these days. Every way you turn there’s a new online course that promises to provide you with the secrets of the universe. However, if you’ve been skeptical of trying one, you’re not alone.

 

There truly are some useful classes out there circulating through the web. From upgrading your knowledge on certain topics to provide skills that will help with career progression. You just need to look where to find them. A good place to start would be reviews.

 

Once you have found a suitable candidate for an online topic that has piqued your interest, you’re probably wondering if it’s going to be as good as a physical class. Well, we’ve listed a few benefits you’ll experience when studying online, so let’s take a look.

 

More Flexibility

 

One of the biggest advantages of studying online is the flexibility that these courses offer. As you will be spending less time travelling to a face to face lesson, you can make much better use of your time to do more of the things you enjoy. Saving money on commuting will also be easy, as you will be studying the courses you desire from your laptop. Say goodbye to your train or bus fares!

 

Building on this, online learning is not location-specific, meaning you can study the courses you want, wherever you are. For example, if you’ve ever wanted to study English from an English teacher, you can do this from the comfort of your own home.

 

Another advantage is that you will have everything with you to study at home. No more lugging around a big backpack carrying all your notebooks, textbooks, and pens when you will have everything you need in your bedroom and on your laptop.

 

The comfortability aspect

 

If you’re like us, you most likely hate having to get ready every day to a certain socially accepted standard. Well with online learning, worry no more.

 

Whether you’re studying in bed in your pyjamas or wearing your sweats on the sofa, you can experience full control when studying.

 

Saving money

 

Another major benefit comes from all the money you’ll be saving when studying online. Say goodbye to petrol fees and hello slippers! It’s also worth mentioning that you can save big on the actual course costs when compared to face-to-face ones.

 

But doesn’t this mean a lack in quality from course content? Not necessarily. Online course providers can save big by not needing to pay for large buildings to cater for students. Therefore, their overhead costs are cheaper, benefiting both you and them.

 

How B20 British School Online Can Help

 

Why not take advantage of the time-saving, money-saving, and comfortability aspects of learning online and study at your own pace.

 

For highly quality English lessons online, B20 British School is here to help. From start to finish we will help support you through the learning process. For more information contact us here. 

Why is learning English so hard?

For those that grow up learning the English language, it most likely becomes second nature when learning a new word or phrase. However, for individuals that weren’t so lucky to be taught English from a young age the language can be somewhat challenging to fully comprehend.

Some similarities in other European languages are found in English due to its combination of ancient Greek and Latin roots. Although, many still struggle to fully grasp the language when trying to study it on their own.

Let’s look at the areas that seem to cause the most trouble for non-native English speakers and writers.

Word Order

Native English speakers won’t give this a second thought, however, for a learner, trying to understand how to structure sentences can be a complexing process. Trying to understand what the logical order is while knowing if it’s done incorrectly then you will receive some funny looks, can be frustrating.

Pronunciation

Spelling out words and figuring out how to pronounce them are two completely different things. For example, some words include silent letters at the beginning of them, while others simply don’t sound anything like how they’re spelt.

Try typing the word ‘yacht’ into a text speech and you’ll feel better knowing that learning English is not exactly straightforward.

Emphasising

Speakers in English regularly say a word in a particular way that can sometimes alter its actual meaning. It can be subtle and if you’re not sure of the overall context, then how it was intended to be used could be missed.

New learners will struggle greatly with this aspect of the English language and will only start to notice how words are emphasised after studying it for a while.

Synonyms

English is great at using many different words to say the same thing. For literature, films, and more, synonyms are a fantastic feature. However, those studying the language will be presented with real problems. Firstly, they will need to identify the synonyms being used to acknowledge what is being expressed. Secondly, synonyms can’t always be interchanged. For instance, if you use the phrase ‘watch television’ it cannot be changed to ‘see television’ even though the words mean the same thing.

So many factors make the English language confusing, and synonyms definitely add the long-list of aspects required to completely understand what’s going on.

Independent studying

Students often see learning English as a side-job from what they’re currently working towards. Therefore, many are known to take an independent approach to learn. The problem with this is that no one can provide assistance when you hit a wall. This leaves them frustrated and de-motivated to continue with their studies.

Online Classes

If you’re invested in learning English the right way, online classes provide a great approach. Instead of paying the high-end costs of physical learning while still gaining access to all the benefits, contact us today. Our experienced tutors help teach English clearly to ensure you see the fast progression.

Yes, learning English may not be an easy road to follow, but with the right support and tools, your goals will be achieved.

Essential Tips & Tricks for Students when using Zoom for Lessons

Online classes won’t be going away anytime soon. 2020 has shown the education sector how important online classes can be, as a safe way of continuing to teach.

Here are our crucial points to ensure students can study efficiently through online lessons.

Getting Set up

Firstly, with any new software, you need to download it. Zoom as many people know is widely used throughout the world, one good reason for this is the ability to install it on a variety of devices.

This includes:

Windows or Mac PC’s
Tablets (Android or Apple)
Mobile Devices (Android or Apple)
It is recommended to use a computer or laptop for the best learning experience. Other devices may be too small to focus on and impact how much information you retain throughout the lesson.

Next, you simply need to create an account for free and you’re ready to go.

Setting up your study space

When joining and participating in an online class, you need to find a work environment that will prevent you from getting distracted easily. This also reduces the chance that a fellow student or even the teacher will become distracted due to noises or other factors.

The recommended equipment for your study space includes:

A good microphone, preferable a noise-cancelling one
High-quality webcam when talking to the teacher, whereby you can show examples of notes or books if you have questions
Standard stationery equipment to take notes
Try a practice call

Now everything is set up and ready, it’s time to take a trial of the software to familiarise yourself with its features.

Create your own room and play around with its functions. Test your microphone and audio to ensure they are at the optimal level. A good way to test without relying just on Zoom is to invite a friend into a call and let them check.

During Class

Make sure to mute your mic. If you’re in a large class and have forgotten to mute your mic, it may cause a huge distraction for everyone and could leave you feeling embarrassed. Unfortunately, this small feature can be easily forgotten but could be very problematic.

If you have any questions, we recommend you write it down and wait until the teacher has paused for comments. This way it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the class, however, you still get the answers you need.

Reaction buttons are used often during zoom lessons and help give the teacher some feedback without requiring you speaking in front of the entire class. The main ones include:

Raise Hand
Yes
No
Go Slower
Go Faster
With the help of these buttons, you can allow the class to run smoothly. For example, if you’re struggling and the teacher is progressing through the class material too fast you can easily click the ‘Go Slower’ function to indicate to the teacher you need a little extra time to ensure you have taken down all the information.

Top Tips When Learning The English Language Online During The Pandemic

As uncertainty looms during the Covid-19 outbreak, society is pushed towards online platforms for education. Most of us will therefore be learning and studying for the comfort of our own home. Although this may appeal to many as winter approaches, causing the temperature to drop. It presents new challenges such as attempting to keep focused during the day to keep your progress on track.

At B&20 British School we have compiled our best tips to help you achieve everything you set out to before the crisis.

Staying Organised

To stay on track we highly recommend using a paper or digital planner. With this helpful tool, you can structure your day accordingly to meet all deadlines and assignments.

Now you know what needs doing, it is time to separate your learning material. Use different folders or colour coding tabs to locate the material you need efficiently. This way it can prevent you from spending too long searching for information when you could be studying.

Every student works differently. Therefore, it is crucial to find a system that works for you, not just your friends!

Stay Connected

Thankfully technology provides us with the tools to communicate easily without being in close contact with each other. Keep in touch with teachers and students regularly to enhance your learning. For example, setting up a group chat with students of the same class provides a no-hassle way to help each other out and progress together.

If you are struggling while studying and need assistance, don’t be afraid to reach out to a teacher. Far too often we see students underperform and it is because they need help. It’s hard to spot while studying online, so it is important to speak up.

Study in Intervals

Your brain can only retain so much information at once. Unless you are taking regular breaks, you will find it extremely difficult to memorise information which will likely lead to you feeling stressed and frustrated.

For every hour you study, it is recommended to take a 15-minute break. Do something you enjoy. For example, listen to music, chat with a friend, have a snack or whatever you want to rest your brain.

Try Using Flash Cards

B&20 British School was nominated for the best English language school in 2020, so we know a thing or two about the best study methods.

Turning your notes into flashcards can help reinforce the information you have learned. With small concise cards of information, you can test yourself easily or get others to help. By repeatedly going through the material you can be assured you are ready for any assignment or test.

Don’t Start Studying With Only A Few Days Left Many students don’t start preparing for their exam or assignment until a couple of days before the deadline. As mentioned previously, you can only consume so much information at once. Make sure to plan ahead so you can study often but in intervals, giving you the best chance to be successful.

10 ideas to expand your horizons while you’re locked at home

Life under “lockdown” can be a very frustrating experience. One of the most important things is to have enough activities on hand to keep active, to have plenty of things to do and to prevent us from become bored and irritable. Expanding your range of interests at this difficult time is certainly a good idea. Not all activities need to be mentally or physically challenging – new ways to chill out and relax help a lot too.

We would like to suggest the following ideas for your consideration:

Vary your routine

Lockdown means that for many of us our usual daily rotas have been abandoned. For some, taking each day as it comes can work well, but for others finding a new routine is the best way. Maybe you can still get up, have meals and go to bed at the times you would in normal circumstances. Make the best of the situation – if you have a garden or balcony then you can dine outside when the weather permits.

Learn something new

Exercise your mind and your body by learning a new skill. There are many online courses that you could sign up for. Have a look at the Open University – it has a lot of free courses on offer. For something more physical try yoga or an online exercise class. Learning can be a joint activity – you could encourage others to learn with you. This is a great time to improve your language skills, or take up a new language, which leads us to…

Watch TV or videos with subtitles

If you are aiming to improve your vocabulary in another language. You can find films in many languages, often with subtitles, on Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services. If your language skills are a little more advanced, then internet radio and podcasts are great resources.

Keep in touch using social media

So many of us are missing the contact with friends and relatives that we would normally be visiting. With modern technology it’s easy to connect and communicate with services like WhatsApp and Skype. Perhaps you have work colleagues you could keep in touch with on LinkedIn, or old friends to catch up with on Facebook. Group gatherings on apps like Zoom and House Party have become very popular.

Read a travel book

Escape from the claustrophobia of your direct surroundings and venture to distant parts of the planet, at least in your imagination, by reading travel books. Fact or fiction, reading is a great way to escape.

Get cooking

Missing your favourite restaurants and cafes? Spend some time in the kitchen, be adventurous and experiment with new recipes. Some everyday items may be in short supply, but exotic ingredients might be easier to get hold of, and there’s an abundance of online recipes and cooking guides.

Get growing

If you are lucky to have a garden, then planting seeds or bulbs and watching them grow can be very therapeutic, and it provides another reason for being outside. Just “pottering around” and tidying things up can be relaxing. It doesn’t have to be outside – many plants can be grown indoors.

Plan your next holiday

Holidays are off the agenda for now, but there’s nothing to stop you making plans, even if you don’t know when they can be realised. Do some research on different destinations, cities you have yet to visit, or wild and remote places you have not seen. You can combine this with your language learning by picking a few phrases that might be useful to you in the future.

Escape from technology

Take some time to get away from the PC screen – too much exposure is unhealthy. In some countries outdoor exercise is allowed now, so go for a walk, remembering to follow local “social distancing” rules. The streets are quieter now and the air is cleaner.

Just relax

We are living in a stressful time, so relaxation is very important. Try meditation, take it easy and “switch off” for a while. Sit or lie comfortably and maybe enjoy some peaceful music. Clearing the mind is just as important as exercising it.

The Caribbean in UK

London is a world apart. London is a complete different thing. London is a whole beautiful universe. This is what people realize, once they have visited other places of the United Kingdom. We will introduce, in the next articles, many of London’s features and peculiarities but, in this one, we will travel somewhere else through this beautiful and yet, somehow, unknown and astounding country.

So, let’s start with the basics: when we say “UK” we actually mean the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This kingdom is made of islands which contain, in some cases, different countries. Some countries are big, some are small, some are “united” with others. You have, mainly, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Then you have counties, actually… many of them. But, let’s get back to our islands, shall we? Some of these islands are, indeed, very little jewels nicely and beautifully placed around the main islands. And, if you just go a little but farther up North, on the left, in Scotland, you will find one of these. Its name is Isle of Harris and this is where you will find white, sandy beaches just like the Maldives! You don’t believe it, do you? J Well, as we know that the trend now is: “Pics, or it didn’t happen” here you can find a video of Luskentyre (Isle of Harris, Outer Ebrids, Scotland) and here are some of its beautiful pictures:

This beach has been named by TripAdvisor one of UK’s best beaches. Tourists have said that it the sandy beach simply looks and feels like a Caribbean beach and that its waters are crystal clear, though a bit cold, perhaps? J

Isn’t this a beautiful place to go to, maybe, for your next outdoor trip? Yes, it might be a bit far away from the usual city madness but, perhaps, sometimes we all need to escape from our hectic lives and try to enjoy the beauty of what lies around us. In fact, often, we don’t realize that we don’t need to go that far, to find the Caribbean or to find a whole new universe. And, besides, should you wish not to miss your Skype lessons, you can always connect with us!

Do enjoy your trips, wherever you might to and no matter how long they last for.

*****

Articles’ glossary:

world apart = something different from the rest
realize = to understand, to learn (regular verb)
introduce = to show, to present
features = quality, property of something, attribute of something
peculiarities = something particular or curious about something else
astounding = something astonishing, surprising
start with the basics = to begin from very important, few information
counties = plural of county (example: Suffolk, Luton, Blackpool…)
indeed = in fact, as a matter of fact
farther up = upstairs, off, beyond, another direction upwards
sandy beaches = beach made of sand only
trend = direction, tendency, new orientation
pics, or it didn’t happen = phrase used to ask for proof of something being declared by someone else
crystal clear = very transparent, like a crystal
hectic = chaotic, very busy, frenetic

The-power-of-love-for-music

Music will definitely help you improve your English. We are surrounded by music and sounds and, yet, we don’t often realize how important it is, nowadays, to just “really” listen to a song and to visualize its lyrics in order to improve our knowledge of a certain language. Children grow up with rhymes. That is how they learn words and how to create sentences. Music is one of the best tools in order to learn a language quickly. Moreover, it improves the student’s learning process by giving more options to both the learner and the teacher. It breaks the routine, creates a happy environment and it spreads positive vibes amongst the students. Also, though it might seems strange, it actually helps concentrate on the new activities in a faster way because it is usually unexpected and a very nice surprise. There aren’t many teachers who use music on a weekly (if not daily) basis so to get their students to learn a language and this is a shame. In fact, if the right song gets chosen by the teacher, you will:

Hear the words pronounced as they should be
Learn new words by practicing and reviewing them with your teacher or whenever you’ll listen to that song again
Be able to connect your vocabulary to the grammatical concepts which, sometimes, let’s face it, are really hard to learn and extremely boring (yes, let’s say it… BORING!)
Improve your writing skills because of the way songs are built. Few words can mean a lot and you can see this only in songs and poems
Be stimulated to discuss attitudes and feelings which do require a certain effort from your side
Be encouraged in a nice way to practice extensive listening activities
Focus on common errors through a less “personal” approach
Have fun, fun, fun J
So, what kind of music do you like? Is there an English song that you’ve always wanted to know exactly what it meant, but you just couldn’t bother or didn’t have the time to listen to, accurately? Why don’t we try together? Now, perhaps? J Would you like to? Alright then: ready, set, go!

Instructions:

Get pen and paper
Don’t search for the lyrics before you listen to the song (you’ll find them at the end of the article, anyway) J
Just listen to the song. Try and write down any word that you’ll recognize. ANY WORD. It doesn’t matter if it’s correctly written or not. Just write it down as you hear it. Whatever you’ll hear.
Once the song’s finished, listen to it once again. Try and add up a few more words to the ones you have already written down. If you can’t, no problem.
Once you’ve had enough of doing this, you can look up at the lyrics at the end of the article while listening to the song, again. Weird, isn’t it? J You’ll smile a lot, during this exercise. J Because you’ll recognize many words and you’ll realize that your English is really much, much better than you thought!
Please don’t forget to sing along, if you feel like it… anytime. Especially after you’ve finished.
Before you start, we would just like to say that we are here for you and we would be ever so happy if you’d share your experience of this exercise with us. J Are there any words that you really don’t understand why they were used in this song? New words you didn’t know about? Are there any words that you like the way they sound? Do you think you will use them in your daily life? Are there some you already use? Which ones? Would you like to suggest songs we could discuss in our next articles? Just comment below and we’ll be glad to reply.
Very well, then. The song we have chosen is a Beatles’ one: Penny Lane. We hope you like it. Click here to listen to it and… enjoy!

In Penny Lane there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to have known
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say hello

On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
The little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a mac
In the pouring rain, very strange

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back

In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass
And in his pocket is a portrait of the queen
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It’s a clean machine

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
A four of fish and finger pies
In summer, meanwhile back

Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She is anyway

In Penny Lane the barber shaves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim
And then the fireman rushes in
From the pouring rain, very strange

Penny lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
Penny lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
Penny Lane

How Netflix Can Help You Learn Another Language

You might escape everyday life by re-watching your favorite shows, whether it’s to drown the monotony of your 9-to-5 job or laugh at something all over again. In fact, science says indulging in, say, all eight episodes of Queer Eye season two in one day produces dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel excited and happy — a nice remedy for daily drudgery. Not-so surprisingly, however, binge watching has also been linked to poor lifestyle choices and a laundry list of physical and mental conditions.

But what you might not know is that binge watching your go-to streaming service originals can also teach you something (even if you watch them repeatedly). Yes, Netflix can be a powerful educational tool, especially when it comes to learning a new language.

Learning a new language can be intimidating, but you don’t always have to get out of your comfort zone
Using your favorite shows can be a great place to start, as the familiarity can help you link images and words together in a more efficient manner. This is especially true if you already have some base knowledge of your target language. Using Netflix alone might be more difficult for those who are beginners, according to Robert Sheppard, founder of Ginseng English. But research shows that watching television in another language helps viewers learn new vocabulary in their target language, and that the dialogue’s corresponding images (specifically in documentaries) can help people understand words in their target language that don’t have direct translations in their native language.

“Don’t feel that you need to be watching a new movie to get something out of it,” Sheppard said, in a statement to Reviews.com. “There is a lot of value in watching a movie that is already very familiar to you again in your target language. The fact that you already know the story and maybe some snatches of dialogue will free up some cognitive bandwidth so that you can focus on the language rather than the plot.”

Change your language subtitles and audio
Not only can you listen to some of your favorite Netflix shows in your target language, you can also change your Netflix experience by signing into your account via desktop or mobile browser and modifying your overall language settings. This will change the headers and descriptions, which can help bring you a slightly more immersive experience. You can then change the audio and subtitles of individual shows as you watch them. And if you don’t see your subtitles or audio languages listed as an option this way, you can download them manually in your account under “My Profile” and “Language.” (Note: Text and audio translations vary by program.)

Netflix has a Chrome extension called “Language Learning with Netflix” that allows two language subtitles to appear on the screen at once while you watch. This can help you compare your target and native languages, while helping you gain a better understanding of sentence structure and individual words. The extension’s built-in dictionary lets you look up the more confusing words and conjugations in your target language. Having both subtitles can be important for drawing phonetic conclusions. English, as Sheppard puts it, “isn’t as phonetic as a learner would like it to be!”

Key nuances lie in the unfamiliar
Yes — that familiar ‘90s sitcom Friends (which actually won’t be available on Netflix for much longer), has helped some people learn English. But in order to contextualize your experience and begin to understand verbal cues in your target language (English or not), watching shows written and produced in your target language might help you better comprehend things like basic sentence structure, dialogue speed, and even help you pick up on some cultural nuances. In fact, one study involving Catalan speakers found that physical gestures and varying speech pitches helped the participants learn new Russian words.

“One of the key characteristics of successful language learning is, very simply, exposure. But the exposure has to be in context,” Jean Marie Carey, training resources editor at the Humanities and Social Sciences Online Material Culture and Vernacular Landscapes and Artifact Preservation, said in a statement to Reviews.com. Carey, whose research centers on the German Bavarian dialect, says a lot of lab-based language tutorials are still rooted in the “listening model” and lack visual or body language cues to supplement the dialogue.

In learning and teaching German and working as a translator, Carey says Netflix shows like “Babylon Berlin” and “Dark” are “fantastic” for helping learners understand the natural cadence of the German language, which then helps aid in forming contextual memory cues for further understanding. Carey says “Babylon Berlin” is “structured like a play,” and that the dialogue is clear but the narrative is complex, whereas “Dark” has less of a linear plot with regional dialects and references from 1980s German pop culture. According to Carey, “Babylon Berlin” is a perfect example of how visuals give life to the dialogue. “People can follow along with the subtitles, but a lot of meaning is conveyed simply through the visuals, so just by watching and listening even without the subtitles, I think people could pick up a lot.”

Pick up on cultural cues
The same way that the words in your native language won’t be directly translatable in some cases, your cultural habits won’t always carry over into another’s, either. In order to grasp another language, you also need to become aware of your own cultural biases and “programming,” as Annalisa Nash Fernandez, intercultural strategist at Because Culture, calls it. “Just as important as speaking another language is cultural intelligence, which is about recognizing your own cultural context, and understanding the lens through which you see other cultures,” Fernandez said, in a statement to Reviews.com. “It’s about taking emotional intelligence a step further to be empathetic to other cultures.”

Fernandez told us watching a series from your host country can help you pick up on cultural cues quickly, so that you can better relate to those in the host country or of your target language. “Watching how people greet each other, buy things, sit down and eat together, is excellent preparation which can mitigate the initial culture shock upon arrival in the host country,” Fernandez said.

It’s going to take more than Netflix to become fluent
Technically, watching a Netflix show in a different language isn’t considered “immersion.” According to Sheppard, immersion generally entails being in a country or setting where only the target language is used or spoken. Children acquire language largely through physical, verbal interaction, and the same is generally true for adults. But the entire process is a lot more involved.

“Purely listening to a language, and observing the contextual and paraverbal cues, is considered by linguists to be ‘consuming’ a language,” Fernandez said. “Speaking (and writing) is ‘producing’ a language. You need both to process language and be fluent.”

If you want to do more than learn to speak the language casually, you might want to consider formal instruction to learn proper grammar and spelling. You can apply the 10,000 hour rule of mastery, but fully grasping a language might be more complex than devoting a certain amount of time to studying the language per week, depending on your needs. Netflix might be a good tool, but it certainly isn’t the only one.

Of course, the best way to learn a language is to surround yourself with it. “I never would have become fluent if I had not lived in Germany,” Carey said. “I would say that the day-to-day experience of really putting yourself out there is incomparable…The very best thing I did to get quickly up to speaking speed was to take a Bavarian dance class.” But if you’re not ready for Bavarian dance classes, Netflix can be a helpful tool in learning new languages