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Automatic English For The People

Monday, August 15, 2005

Movie, Audiobook, Book Synergy

by AJ

Individually, movies, audiobooks, and reading for fun are all excellent means of learning a language.

But used together, they are much much more powerful. Movies, for example, are a great source of everyday conversation. Most movies contain a lot of slang, and a great deal of natural conversation.

Audiobooks are another excellent means of hearing new words... for hearing pronunciation and natural speech patterns. However, an audiobook (like a normal book) will tend to use much more formal language than encountered in most movies. Movies build casual conversation skills, while audiobooks are great vocabulary builders.

But there's one problem with both... they are hard to understand. Its hard to learn only from these two sources because the language goes by very quickly.

Thats where books come in. The disadvantage of books is that you dont hear the correct pronunciation and intonation. But there are big advantages: You can read at your own pace... as slowly as you need to. Its easy to look up unknown words in a dictionary. Its easy to reread difficult passages.

All of these sources are good... but combined, they are great. Im currently listening to an audiobook in Spanish and also reading it in print form. I find the print builds my vocabulary and makes it easier for me to understand the CD. The CD helps me hear pronunciation and forces me to try to understand the language at a faster speed. Together, they are much better than either are separately.

So why not combine all three? Why not read a book, listen to it on CD, and watch the movie version (not simultaneously :)... do all of three at different times during the week/day.

For example, my students are now reading Harry Potter. It'd be great if they could find it on CD. They could read the first chapter and look up unknown words. Then they'd be ready to listen to the first chapter on CD. And then they'd be ready to watch the first few scenes of the movie (even better if they could get ahold of the script and read it before watching the movie).

Each of these three sources makes the other two more powerful.

And so I will try this with my own study. My target: The Motorcycle Diaries. I have the movie. I can get the print book in the original Spanish. What Im now looking for is a Spanish audiobook of The Motorcycle Diaries (if anyone knows of a source for this, please comment!!!).

With Thai, I have a series of easy books. I cant find an audiobook, so I will make my own with a Thai friend. Once I build a little vocab... perhaps Ill add movies too.

......

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