As we mentioned last week, watching TV is one of the easiest (and we would argue, the most entertaining way) to learn a new language. This cultural touchstone can help you improve your English-speaking skills by teaching you the slang and nuances of the language, which you may not be able to get from a classroom.
Here are our favourite television shows to binge-watch, we mean, learn how to speak English with:
This 90s sitcom is a seminal classic, following the lives of six friends as they navigate careers, break-ups and make-ups in New York City. You’ll fall in love with Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Ross (David Schwimmer), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Monica (Courtney Cox), Joey (Matt Le Blanc) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow). Each episode is short and sweet, which means that it is not hard to stay focused. The dialogue is easy to follow, and uses words that are commonly used in everyday conversation – it’s the perfect way to improve your conversational skills.
How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM)
HIMYM is one of the most popular sitcoms in the last few years, for very good reason. It follows the light-hearted, hilarious journey of Ted Moseby (Josh Radnor) in his never-ending quest for true love. He is accompanied by his best friends: Lily, Marshall, Robin and Barney. From great one-liners (‘Have you met Ted?’) to a completely unexpected ending, you’ll find yourself watching episode after episode. You won’t notice that you’ve been learning English for hours.
The longest-running animated series in America focuses on the adventures (or rather misadventures) of the Simpson family – foolhardy Homer, his long-suffering wife Marge and their three children: mischievous Bart, fastidious Lisa and baby Maggie. This is a parody of the typical American family. Although some of the content is not suitable for children, it is an excellent springboard for adult students. Not only do you learn English, but the show opens up discussion about different cultural topics from gender differences to pop culture phenomenon.
Each episode of the series is packed with twists and turns. You’ll be so hooked on the story line that you’ll forget that you are learning English. Watch the brilliant Michael Scofield break his brother out of prison, while uncovering a bloody conspiracy. The episodes are about an hour long; you’ll be immersed in the language, giving you a great opportunity to analyse conversations in a real context. The cast of supporting characters is well written, and you’ll begin to question whether the concept of good and evil is as clear cut as it seems.
Break out your tissues. You’ll laugh and cry with the doctors of the fictional Seattle Grace hospital as they forge relationships with their patients, and each other. Derek and Meredith (or as we like to call them Der and Mer) are the modern day Romeo and Juliet we never knew we needed. The vocabulary may be specific to a medical context, but you will hear many idiomatic expressions that you will not pick up in a normal classroom environment.