3 Things You Can Learn From Watching Foreign-Language TV
When Parasite won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2020, director Bong Joon-ho reflected on how people could open themselves up to a world of great content if they were willing to read subtitles. He was spot on, and since then streaming sites like Netflix have been pushing foreign-language content harder than ever.
But not everyone is sold on the experience of watching TV in a different language. There is a sense among many Americans that series from other countries are not of the same quality. Nothing could be further from the truth, and if you are able to give foreign TV a try, you can actually learn a whole lot.
Here are 3 things you can learn from watching foreign-language TV.
1. Another Language
When watching TV in another language, you naturally pick up words and phrases along the way. After a while, you don’t need the subtitles for some short sentences or responses. However, there is a more effective way of learning a language when watching TV.
The app Lingopie provides thousands of episodes of foreign-language TV with interactive subtitles. You can slow down the pace of the show, click on the subtitles, and learn more about words and phrases. Then, once you are finished watching, you can go back and revise the words you clicked.
Michelle Checchi says this about Lingopie: that it is a far more fun learning experience, which makes it all the more effective. Give it a try and you might realize how much you’ve missed out on.
2. Cultural Diversity
It’s easy to think that your own culture is the only one you’ll ever need to know about. Why should you introduce yourself to cultures from around the world, in which you’ll never fully immerse yourself?
The truth is that gaining cultural diversity is a character-building journey. You learn that the way you do things is not the only way, and are able to find parts of yourself which you had no access to. By realizing that you don’t have to conform to what you know, you become so much more.
Watching foreign-language TV brings some of that cultural diversity into your life. It is no substitute for traveling to places and speaking to people, but it is a great start.
3. Socio-economic Change
In America, we get caught up in a narrative that is perpetuated by politicians. One side asserts that if we change the way we approach social and economic issues, the country will descend into chaos. The other side asserts that if we don’t change our approach, the socioeconomic reality of millions of people will get progressively worse.
The reality is that we don’t have to have this endless argument about what may happen. Other countries approach socio-economic issues very differently, and are working models for what works and what can go wrong.
Watching foreign-language series gives you insight into how other societies live. They show us the context of people living in these systems, which are often the antithesis to our experience here.
The availability of foreign-language TV is not just a bridge to much more great content, but can also teach us a lot about life.