You’re rocking your grammar skills.
Your vocabulary practice is through the roof.
How are you going to get familiar with the cadence of conversation?
That’s where dubbed movies come in!
When approached in the right way, familiar movies with Italian dubbing can be a wonderful asset in increasing your fluency.
To make this approach even easier, you can revisit the children’s movies you loved when you were young—this time in Italian.
Children’s movies are made with young learners in mind, and when it comes to Italian, that’s what you are!
h2>Can Dubbed Movies Really Help Me Practice Italian?
It’s safe to say that just about everybody would prefer to watch a movie in lieu of doing repetitive learning exercises. It’s a great way to break up the monotony of writing conjugations and memorizing vocabulary. Plus, having multiple avenues for learning a language is invaluable.
So when you take that break time, why not turn on one of your favorite movies… in Italian?
With movies that are dubbed in Italian, you can watch and hear characters interact as native Italian speakers do (or at least somewhat like them, depending on what type of movie you watch!), which can be very helpful. Listening to the Italian dialogue can help you keep what you’ve learned refreshed in your mind.
It can also help you practice your verb conjugation and see how to use the vocabulary you’ve learned properly.
In addition to helping you practice what you already know, Italian dubbed movies can help you develop your understanding of casual Italian conversation, and catch on to colloquialisms that grammar books wouldn’t teach you.
It may be tempting to dive straight into native Italian movies, and that’s a good goal to have. However, dubbed movies are the easier way to take the first step. Watching movies that you’re already familiar with in English gives you a leg up in understanding things when you’re watching the Italian dubbed version. It will be easier to practice your aural and vocabulary skills when you already know what’s happening and can identify Italian that you’ve already learned.
Why Italian Dubbed Children’s Movies?
The short answer? Kids’ movies are awesome! Pretty much all children’s movies have an element of universal entertainment to them. The plot lines are often stories that children and adults alike can enjoy. If not, writers often tuck in some pretty hilarious jokes for the older viewers.
Another benefit of learning Italian with children’s movies is you can revisit movies you loved as a kid. As mentioned earlier, it’s beneficial to watch Italian dubbed movies that you’re already familiar with in English, at least in the beginning. Not only are you sure you’ll enjoy watching them, but you’re already a step ahead on the content!
Most importantly, everything about children’s movies is simplified. The plots are straightforward and easy to follow. The dialogue and vocabulary are uncomplicated and they work great as building blocks for your basic Italian learning. Italian dubbed children’s movies are the perfect jumping off point for practicing your listening skills and conversational Italian.
How to Use Dubbed Movies as a Learning Tool
So, the question remains, how to turn an entertaining movie into a useful tool? The most important thing is to be engaged with the movie. You have to focus on the content. Make sure you’re paying attention to the dialogue, noting vocabulary that you recognize and also how it fits into the scene.
Even then, you can’t just watch a movie once and be an Italian pro. Repetition is key, so you’ll want to watch the movie in Italian several times. Pick scenes that you follow easily, and play those scenes repeatedly until you’re familiar with them.
Identify words and phrases that you’ve already learned. Then use them along with context from the scene to distinguish words you aren’t familiar with. From there you can learn their translations and add them to your new vocabulary!
Once you’re familiar with specific scenes, your next goal should be learning to repeat after the characters. Repeating the dialogue will help you practice your grammar and pronunciation.
To Subtitle or Not to Subtitle
There are conflicting opinions when it comes to using subtitles when watching dubbed movies or any kind of movies for language learning. In many ways it’s helpful—it helps you follow the dialogue, and it helps you to translate words you don’t know.
However, you should be aware that Italian subtitles aren’t always the same as the Italian dubbing. It can get quite confusing when you hear one sentence but read something different. It’s easy for things to get lost in translation as well. Colloquial phrases may make sense in the context of a scene, but when you translate them word-for-word, they may leave you puzzled.
One way to get past this particular roadblock is to learn languages using authentic videos on FluentU.
FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles.
Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.
Once you've watched a video, you can use FluentU's quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’ve learned to recommend videos and ask you questions based on what you already know.
Plus, it'll tell you exactly when it's time for review. Now that's a 100% personalized experience!
The best part? You can try FluentU for free!
Start using FluentU on the website, or better yet, download the app from iTunes or the Google Play store.
When learning with dubbed movies, the best approach may vary depending on your level. Try watching both ways and see what you find most helpful and most comfortable. Regardless of your level, one helpful approach can be to use the subtitles in English or Italian to get the general gist of the scene, then to play it again while focusing on listening to the actual language being used.
6 Italian Dubbed Children’s Movies That Are Fun for All Ages
One important thing to remember is that when you order Italian DVDs, they will not play on a standard North American DVD player. You’ll need a Region 2 DVD player, or a multi-regional DVD player, to properly watch the movies. Imported DVDs also tend to be a little more expensive, and if you order them from Italy to be delivered to another country, you’ll have to pay extra for shipping. However, these are worthy investments for your collection of Italian learning tools.
Some of these movies may also be available on Netflix in your country, along with other dubbed or original Italian movies. You can find movies in Italian by looking under the “Audio & Subtitle” section of Netflix and selecting Italian audio.
The links below go to versions of these movies with Italian dubbing that can be purchased through sellers on Amazon.com, but you can also find Italian-language versions on Amazon.it.
“Kung Fu Panda” is one of the more advanced movies on this list in terms of vocabulary and dialogue. That being said, it’s great practice in both formal and conversational Italian. Characters like Master Shifu and the Furious Five talk very properly. Po, however, talks casually and uses slang. It’s a good movie for letting your hair down and getting comfortable with all types of Italian conversation.
“Madagascar” is a straightforward comedic cartoon full of colorful characters. It’s got a good mix of humor for both children and adults, and some catchy music to keep you entertained. While the vocabulary itself may not be too advanced, the number of characters and their conversation style makes the movie more challenging to keep up with. It’s great practice for keeping up in group conversation, and will improve your listening skills greatly.
This modern twist on the classic superhero story is a great way to practice your informal Italian. Unlike some of the older movies on this list, “Megamind” is a contemporary movie with contemporary dialogue. It’s a great tool for practicing the cadence of casual conversation. Since it’s a more recent movie, it’s also peppered with slightly more mature jokes. So while it makes a great starter-level movie, the humor will appeal to adults as well as children.
“The Little Mermaid” (“La sirenetta”)
“The Little Mermaid” is one of the simpler movies on this list, in terms of content and dialogue. One of the major benefits of this movie is the absolutely enchanting music. There are several songs throughout this movie that you won’t be able to keep yourself from humming along to, so use this to your advantage. Find the testi (lyrics) online to your favorite songs from the movie, and learn to sing along!
“The Jungle Book” (“Il libro della giungla”)
“The Jungle Book” is a beloved classic that’s geared towards young children. So it makes a great beginner’s movie for Italian learners. Since it’s a slightly older movie, the dialogue is a little more proper and straightforward. This makes it a great movie to use when trying to establish the basics. Plus, like “The Little Mermaid,” it has a super catchy song that you can learn to sing along to!
“Brave” is a great example of the incredible storytelling of Pixar. Its possible audience is incredibly broad, as it combines drama, magic, comedic relief and beautifully relevant music. Though the dialogue may be slightly more advanced, it captivates in such a way that will be enjoyable no matter how many times you watch it. So if you didn’t catch a particular word or phrase the first, second or third time, it won’t be a burden to try, try again.
When approached in the right way, dubbed movies can be a very valuable tool for learning Italian.
They can increase your vocabulary and general understanding.
Best of all, they’re a much easier and cheaper way to practice conversation than flying to Italy!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos.