Language learning with Netflix and … SuperMemo

Learning languages with Netflix

Do you want to learn a language, mixing fun with function? A revolutionary plug-in from Netflix, combined with the SuperMemo spaced repetition system is the key to success!

Netflix is currently one of the best known platforms where you can find movies and series from around the world. Its popularity and number of productions is constantly rising. In our previous posts, we mentioned many times that watching foreign series and videos is an ideal way to get used to the language. In this article you will learn how to learn vocabulary and improve pronunciation using Netflix’s innovative solutions in conjunction with SuperMemo.

How to combine language learning with Netflix and SuperMemo

The combination of listening and speaking is one of the most effective methods of learning a new language. It has been proven that both listening and speaking are most difficult for foreign language speakers. This is because, among other things, language acquisition can be made more difficult by a foreign accent or different cultural backgrounds. What’s more, most people are visual learners – they pay much more attention to non-verbal communication and catch only 7% of content from speech. All these aspects make listening a very complicated process. Furthermore, linguists believe that only the development of both receptive (e.g. listening comprehension) and productive (e.g. ability to speak) skills together can bring a fully satisfactory result.

Netlix on the TV

When you have some interesting material at your fingertips, your desire to understand the text you are working with automatically increases. Learning a language while watching Netflix’s best-selling productions is an ideal way to spend your free time constructively. Understanding the dialogues spoken by your favourite characters is therefore not a grind, but becomes rewarding and makes an evening with Netflix more than just entertainment, it also begins to help you acquire new skills. An additional advantage of learning with Netflix is the fact that we are dealing with living language, not its literary or textbook form. As you know, both words and phrases like to fall in one ear and out the other, so it’s worthwhile equipping yourself with the tools that will help you learn effectively. The combination of SuperMemo and Netflix to learn English is a great way of consolidating the newly learned vocabulary.

Learning by repetition

In SuperMemo you will find a number of smart and easy to use features which will make learning a language faster and easier. First of all, you can create your own courses for free, by adding new cards in the shape of questions and answers.

If, while watching a series, you find a word you do not know or you hear an interesting phrase you want to remember, you can of course stop the playback and write down the thing you heard a moment ago. For example, if you want to learn English, you can add a word in your own language as a question that will be answered by a word translated into the language you are learning. Of course, as you progress, you can broaden your vocabulary and gradually increase the level of difficulty.

In addition, thanks to the speech recognition and synthesis tools available in the SuperMemo mobile applications, you will receive immediate feedback on your speaking skills during the exercises. Thanks to this, you will be able to record idioms and words you have heard earlier without any problems, while being sure that you are pronouncing them correctly. You can use all the languages available in the speech settings on your smartphone. All you have to do is turn on the question-and-answer playback and select the language you want to use in your course. By using speech recognition, you save a lot of time – speaking is faster and more convenient than writing.

Learning with SuperMemo gives you great flexibility. On the one hand, you do not even have to move from your armchair to add to your own course in real time and repeat the words you have just heard, while on the other hand, vocabulary from your favourite series is always with you in your mobile application. You can access it anytime, no matter where you are or how much time you have to learn.

Plug-in for language learning from Netflix

Less than a year ago, thanks to David Wilkinson and the Ognjen Apic company, a special Chrome browser plug-in was launched, nicknamed “Language Learning with Netflix“. It allows you to watch movies in two language versions – the original version and a second one, in the language you have chosen to learn. With this application you can watch movies or series, and learn new words at the same time. It is worth mentioning that it gives access to translations in several dozen languages. So you can read new phrases in the chosen language, and at the same time listen to them pronounced in the series. There is also a way to stop the image, so that you can easily check the spelling of a given word and enter it into the SuperMemo application, which makes it easier to remember.

The plug-in is constructed in such a way that it can be tailored to your skill level. If you are just beginning to learn a language, you can reduce the number of more advanced words, whereas if you already have the basics, you can immediately jump to a higher level and work on more difficult words or grammar constructions. This makes the level of vocabulary fully customized and appropriate to the level of your skills.

What is the key to choosing a series from Netflix to learn English?

First of all, choose productions that suit your language abilities. At the beginning you should watch series with original subtitles – in the language you want to learn. Make your choice, following the 3 main aspects:

  1. Something simple to learn – it’s better to start with easy-to-read series with a simple plot and vocabulary suited to your language level, so you don’t get discouraged by complicated, incomprehensible content too quickly,
  2. Something we have already seen – focusing on a series we have already seen will make it much easier to acquire vocabulary, due to the fact we already know the context,
  3. Something that suits our preferences – of course, it is important to choose from among productions that actually match our area of interest. There’s no point in bothering with something that doesn’t interest us, because it won’t bring us good results.
Film library on a tablet

Selection of Netflix language learning series

English language learning

As there are a lot of series in English, we present a subjective classification here:

a) based on accent:

British series

  • Black Mirror
  • The End of the F***ing World
  • Requiem
  • Bodyguard
  • Downton Abbey
  • Peaky Blinders
  • The Crown
  • Peep Show
  • Game of Thrones
  • Sherlock

American series

  • Friends
  • Breaking Bad
  • Mad Men
  • The Wire
  • Suits
  • New Girl
  • Dexter
  • Russian Doll
  • Ozark
  • The Big Bang Theory

b) based on a specific area of interest:

  • House of Cards – political vocabulary,
  • Sunderland ‘Til I Die – sports-related vocabulary,
  • Dr House – medical vocabulary,
  • Grey’s Anatomy – medical vocabulary,
  • Suits – legal slang,
  • Mindhunter – criminal slang,
  • Stranger Things – science fiction,
  • Black Mirror – new technologies.

c) by gender and age:

ladies’ night

  • Girls
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Orange Is the New Black
  • Sex and the City
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Gossip Girl
  • Glow

men’s favourites

  • Dexter
  • Vikings
  • Daredevil
  • The Spy
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Banshee
  • Mad Men

for youngsters

  • Skins
  • 13 Reasons Why – a large amount of up-to-date vocabulary
  • The End of the F***ing World – a lot of youth slang
  • Stranger Things – includes a lot of basic vocabulary, related to emotions, science fiction or science, and of course a lot of youth slang
  • One Tree Hill
  • Suburgatory

Other languages

Series for learning German

  • Dark
  • Parfum
  • How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast)
  • Dogs of Berlin
  • Babylon Berlin

Series for learning Spanish

  • Élite
  • Narcos
  • La Casa de Papel

Series for learning French

  • Dix pour cent
  • Plan Cœur
  • Marseille
  • Au service de la France

Series for learning Russian

  • Luchshe, chem lyudi
  • Khozhdenie po mukam
  • Nyukhach

Series for learning Italian

  • Suburra
  • Baby
  • Rocco
  • stand-ups: Francesco de Carlo i Edoardo Ferrario.

Series for learning Chinese

  • Ice Fantasy
  • Meteor Garden
  • Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures

What other platforms to choose besides Netflix

If you have not found anything for yourself on Netflix despite such an extensive selection, or if you already know the above titles and like this form of learning, you can use other platforms that work similarly – HBO GO, NC+, Comedy Central or YouTube.

If you want to learn English, try the Olive Green course, which is based on an interactive action movie. It is divided into 60 scenes, 6,400 exercises and covers as many as 5 levels – from Beginner A1, through Intermediate to Advanced C1, which increase with the story’s evolution. You can start learning at any time. After watching each episode, you will do a series of exercises to develop a wide range of competencies, including listening comprehension, vocabulary and grammar. The course has been well received around the world. It is worth checking if learning with a movie will also work for you.

Learning a language with Netflix and SuperMemo is an ideal way to make the language you want to learn accompany you as often as possible. As we have already mentioned many times, regularity in learning is an undeniable basis, therefore the idea to use Netflix to learn English and link it with SuperMemo seems to be a hit. While watching the series, your language skills are systematically developing while you spend a nice time watching your favourite productions.