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4 Steps to Understanding Hollywood Movies

Lindsay: This is an All Ears English Podcast, Episode 64: Wisdom Wednesday: “4 Steps to Understanding Hollywood Movies in English.” Gabby: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, where you’ll finally get real, native English conversation. Now here are your hosts, Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’ and Gabby Wallace, the ‘Language Angel,’ coming to you from Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Lindsay: In this episode, you’ll learn the All Ears English four-step process to understanding Hollywood movies in English.

Lindsay:

Hello Gabby.

Gabby:

Hey Lindsay. How are you doing?

Lindsay:

How (are) you doing today?

Gabby:

Oh, good, good, good. How are you?

Lindsay:

All right. Excellent, excellent.

Gabby:

Cool.

Lindsay:

Feeling good. So today what are we talking about?

Gabby:

We’re talking about a study strategy for understanding movies in English.

So some of the best movies come out of Hollywood and they’re in English.

Lindsay:

I know.

Gabby:

And, and a lot of you guys have been asking about how to understand them without putting on the subtitles.

Lindsay:

Yeah, we actually had one of our loyal listeners write in and ask us this question.

Gabby:

Yeah.

Lindsay:

So thanks for that question.

Gabby:

Yeah.

Lindsay:

(Uh) and we just wanna (want to) – we know that sometimes it’s a bit of a bummer when you can’t understand the movie… Gabby:

Right.

Lindsay:

Especially if you’re living here in the US and your only option might be to watch movies in English maybe. I don’t know.

Gabby:

Maybe you feel like you’re missing out and you wanna (want to) understand the, the real meaning of what’s happening, so you can understand and, and enjoy the movie.

Lindsay:

Yeah, it really takes the fun out of things when you don’t get it.

Gabby:

Yeah.

Lindsay:

So we’re gonna (going to) help you guys out with that today.

Gabby:

Yeah, We have four steps. We have a formula for you. So step one is to watch the movie in small pieces or in chunks. So maybe ten minutes and then pause. (It) depends – maybe one scene.

Lindsay:

One scene.

Gabby:

It could be ten minutes or so.

Lindsay:

What’s a scene?

Gabby:

Oh, like (uh) when, when you have (uh) one part of the movie – (like) it’s clearly defined.

Lindsay:

Right.

Gabby:

Maybe (uh) in one scene the (um) movie’s taking place in one… Lindsay:

In the park.

Gabby:

In the park.

Lindsay:

Or in a house…

Gabby:

Yeah.

Lindsay:

…or in a café.

Gabby:

And then, (you know), people are interacting and there’s kind of one part of the movie.

Lindsay:

Right.

Gabby:

Yeah.

Lindsay:

Right. Okay, that’s a scene.

Gabby:

And they move on to another, (you know), place or a different character.

Lindsay:

Okay. So take one scene…

Gabby:

(Like) one idea from the movie. Yeah.

Lindsay:

Okay.

Gabby:

One part. Take one scene, just watch that, right, and then pause.Okay. So that’s step one and step two, what you can do is you can aim to understand 70% and how would you try to do that? What kind of clues would you use Gabby?

Gabby:

Right. Well, of course use the English that you already know, but use clues from the context, from the situation in the movie. Maybe from the (um), the tone in the actors’ voices or even from the background music in the movie.

Lindsay:

Or the non-verbal signals. And remember non-verbal signals vary across cultures. So of course, if you’re here in the US, the non-verbal signals might mean something different, than what you actually think they mean, but you can get a sense of what that means.

Gabby:

Yeah. Great. So just through the context, try to understand the main ideas, what’s going on. (Um) step three, we’re actually going to do what people usually try to do, but we’re not gonna (going to) do that right away. We’re gonna (going to) wait till (until) step three- is to go look up the meaning of words or phrases that you don’t know the meaning of. So if you can catch them, by listening or you can catch them in the subtitles if you do put those on, go and look those up so that you fill in your knowledge.

Lindsay:

Right and remember that those are details.

Gabby:

Yeah.

Lindsay:

I think a lot of students might tend to get really paralyzed by going first to the details and trying to look up every word. Don’t do that. That’ll take the fun out of it.

Gabby:

And, and try to stick to only key words that you think are really important for understanding the scene.

Lindsay:

Yeah. Don’t let vocab get in your way.

Gabby:

Yeah. Yeah. Good point. So that brings us to step four which is to watch the same scene again and go for a little bit more comprehension like 80%, but I’m not saying 100%…

Lindsay:

NO, why are we not saying 100%?

Gabby:

Well because – even when I watch movies in English, I don’t always catch 100% of the words that the actors say. You can’t expect your listening to be perfect.

Lindsay:

Yeah, we, here at All Ears English, we really believe that perfectionism is horrible.

Gabby:

Yeah.

Lindsay:

Don’t be a perfectionist.

Gabby:

It doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist and when you expect yourself to get 100% all of the time, that’s a lot of pressure and it’s unrealistic.

Lindsay:

So don’t do it. Don’t aim for perfection, just aim to understand, (you know), 80% of the, of the chunk that you’ve chosen from that movie, that scene.

Gabby:

Yeah. Exactly. So just a quick recap of the steps. Number 1, watch the movie in small chunks; (uh) 2, just try to understand about 70% of the main ideas by looking at the context; Step 3, look up the vocabulary online or in a dictionary; (uh) and Step 4, watch it again and go for 80% comprehension.

Lindsay:

And don’t be a perfectionist, please.

Gabby:

That’s right.

Lindsay:

All right thanks Gabby.

Gabby:

Thanks Lindsay.

Gabby: If you want to connect with us, come to our website allearsenglish.com/win. That’s w-i-n. We want to share the four ways to win at English. So again, come to allearsenglish.com/win to connect with us and learn the four ways to win at English.

[Instrumental]

If you like to put your ears into English with Lindsay and Gabby, be sure to subscribe to the podcast audio in iTunes for free on your computer or on your Smartphone. Thanks for listening to the All Ears English Podcast. See you next time!

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