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How did I learn English by going to the cinema?

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A person sitting alone in front of a large screen.

Hello, my name is Carlos Garcia. I am from Latam, specifically from Colombia. Since I was a child, I have been interested in learning other languages, the first of them was English. It all started when that afternoon my aunt Magalys arrived home, with a big smile and very happy; she told me that she had been hired to sell tickets to the Nariño theatre in my city, (although it was named as “theatre” it was really what we know as a "cinema" nowadays). She said to me: “you will be able to enter for free as many times as you want!” The happiness was contagious, what wonderful news!

I used to listen to the English language in all the films that were shown and used to read big letters in Spanish as subtitles, that was my first encounter with a foreign language, and even though I still couldn't read Spanish well, this motivated me and it was the best and most privileged practice of reading and listening, as far as sometimes I was the only spectator! All this at a time when technological advances were not yet on the horizon, imagine that those home video players did not yet exist. In the beginning, I was wasting a lot of time reading, which made me miss the most important scenes of the films. This was the second challenge I set myself: to read as fast as possible to enjoy the action or horror scenes. After my Spanish reading was perfected, my next challenge was to match English phrases and words with the Spanish translation, while repeating them and imitating the actor. I loved to do it!

These are, for me, important keys to learn a foreign language. Listen, and repeat out loud, even imitating gestures and intonation! Today, with technological advances, you have all those new tools at your fingertips to learn a new language. 

Thanks for this opportunity to share my experience. Good luck!

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Carlos Garcia
Carlos Garcia
Do you use subtitles to learn English? What other strategies do you use to learn while watching films?

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