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Where to Find the Best Language Learning Videos Online

Foreign language immersion is as easy as watching a video.

To speed up the process of language acquisition, one of the things that you absolutely have to do is watch a lot of native language clips, movies, telenovelas, series, newscasts, etc.

In fact, academics have warmed up to the possibility that these kinds of videos are actually the future of education.

In this post, we’re gonna pay homage to motion pictures by giving you the best sources of language learning videos on the internet.

Contents

Our Top 6 Websites for Language Learning Videos

1. YouTube

language learning videos

With the great number of choices on YouTube, you can have your pick of teachers and lessons, and see what works best for you. Check out these channel and video suggestions for ChineseEnglish, French, GermanJapanese and Spanish learners.

If you want cultural insights, YouTube has plenty of that too. Do you want a documentary on a country and its history? No problem.

You can even supercharge YouTube and make it fit your language-learning lifestyle. Here are some things you can do with it:

  •  Make sure you’re making the most out of every video by turning on the subtitles whenever they’re available. Always be on the lookout for the “CC” symbol, then go to the “Settings” button found immediately below the video screen and pick the language from the available subtitles.
  • For those wanting to practice in their language of choice, why not type in the target language in the search bar? This will not only give you the chance to actually use your acquired vocabulary, but YouTube will send you search result videos made by native speakers of your target language.
  • When you find a channel that you like, subscribe to it and be updated with its latest uploads.
  • Read the comments section. This will give an honest-to-goodness peek at what native speakers actually sound like online. Join the discussion. It will be a good test of your written form. As always, be courteous to everybody.

Before long, you won’t even notice that you’re not browsing, reading and writing in English. How’s that for immersion, huh?

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Used properly, YouTube can be a language-learning tool that goes beyond your cat’s wildest imagination.

2. FluentU

FluentU was designed to teach you a new language through authentic videos.

The language learning program has thousands of videos across 10 languages that introduce you to natural uses of your language (or languages) of choice. On this tool, you’ll find videos like movie clips, music videos, news segments, animated cartoons, vlogs, inspirational talks, commercials and much more.

This kind of native language content can be difficult to consume for language learners, since it uses slang, fast speech and natural speech patterns that you might not find in a textbook or another learning program. FluentU makes sure that any level of learner can understand authentic videos by enhancing them with learning tools.

For instance, each video has accurate subtitles that you can interact with to get more information about any word. Hover over a word and the video will pause, showing you a quick definition that’s also contextual to the word’s use in that particular situation. Click on it for more detail, including grammar info, example sentences, an audio pronunciation and clips from other FluentU videos where the word appears with the same definition—and you do this all without even needing to leave the video player.

If you want to study this word more in-depth later, you can add it to a flashcard deck and study it through personalized quizzes that include typing and speaking practice.

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Videos are also accompanied by exercises that test your understanding of the vocabulary used in the video and ask you to try your hand at translating key moments.

3. Easy Languages Easy Languages logo

Easy Languages is a captivating language company that unites language learners and enthusiasts globally.

If you’re intrigued by how people actually speak day to day, Easy Languages is your community. Through its YouTube channel, it offers a rich array of videos, from insightful language lessons provided by tutors to engaging episodes of language shows.

What sets Easy Languages apart is its commitment to inclusivity, providing subtitles in both English and the target language for its videos. The company also facilitates interactive learning through video conferences and chats with native speakers.

This immersive approach not only enhances language practice but also allows learners to seek firsthand travel tips and cultural insights from those deeply connected to the languages.

Easy Languages thrives on the generosity of native speakers, creating a supportive environment for linguistic exploration and cultural exchange. Dive into the world of Easy Languages for a vibrant language learning experience and a global community of language aficionados.

4. Innovative Language Innovative Language Learning logo

Innovative Language is the powerhouse behind the renowned Pod101 series, a treasure trove for language enthusiasts seeking comprehensive audio and video resources.

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Specializing in several languages, from Japanese and Chinese to Spanish and Arabic, Innovative Language delivers engaging lessons that cater to various proficiency levels. The Pod101 series encompasses a vast library of audio and video lessons, allowing learners to hone their listening and speaking skills with lessons by native speakers.

What sets Innovative Language apart is its blend of instructional videos, cultural insights and practical language usage. The platform’s innovative approach ensures that learners not only grasp the fundamentals but also immerse themselves in authentic conversations and cultural nuances.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner, Innovative Language’s Pod101 series provides a versatile and effective language learning experience.

3 Different Strategies for Watching Language Videos

Next, we are going to talk about the different ways of watching these videos. Because there are different types of videos online, there are also different ways of watching them. That all depends on your purpose, which is what we’re going to talk about now.

Watching for Pleasure (Taking in the Big Picture)

This technique is usually done for foreign movies or series. The purpose here is not linguistic at all. It’s for entertainment. So it’s usually the method used when one initially approaches new material.

Let’s say you’re watching a short clip, episode or film. You watch it first just like any normal movie-goer would. If the video has English subtitles, then you turn them on so you can understand what’s going on.

This approach familiarizes you with the plot of the movie, for example. It introduces you to the characters, the basic conflict and the different twists and complications to the story. You’re taking it all in. You’re not thinking about vocabulary or grammar at this point.

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Now, don’t belittle this approach and think it “superficial.” If you’re gonna milk a video, clip or movie for all it’s worth, if you’re gonna understand the nuances in the language later on, you’re gonna have to do this to every video that comes your way. Watch it for pleasure; take it all in.

Do this 3-4 times! ( You’ll thank me later.)

You’ll never understand the context or why they are using a certain type of vocabulary if you don’t get the big picture.

Watching with Subtitles, Without Subtitles or Dubbed in Another Language

This is where you start to get linguistic in your efforts. Now that you understand the big picture, watch the whole thing again, but this time with the purpose of learning.

Watch it with the foreign subtitles. This is really going to help you with vocabulary, spelling and grammar. As you read the subtitles, you’re remembering the dialogues and you’re remembering the English equivalents of words. This becomes easier because you have the benefit of context to help you remember. (That’s why you need to watch the video over and over.)

Then you’re gonna watch it without the subtitles. This time, you’ll be doing a lot of listening. You’ll train your ears to listen to the tone, cadence and pronunciation of the words. And because of your familiarity with the material, you’ll probably be predicting the words and dialogue. (If so, practice speaking them out loud!)

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Now, if by chance the material is dubbed in English, then watch it. This way, you will be approaching the subject from a different angle. And this will only strengthen your knowledge of the material.

Doing these three things will allow you to really get all you can out of a video. A single clip, movie or episode can teach you a lot if you have the patience to let it.

Watching with Intent (Pause and Play Method)

Now this is the most productive part of watching a video. You’re not only milking it, you’re really gonna mine it for all it has.

Watching with intent is when you don’t care about the big picture, you don’t care about the movie or the characters, plot or whatever is going on. You’re just watching it for the language gems you can mine.

You do this scene by scene. And a single scene you do line by line. So in a sequence of dialogue, you pause the movie after a series of lines. Then you study the lines and mine it for every grammatical, vocabulary and context lesson it presents.

The cool thing is, the more you know about a language, the sharper your eyes and ears are for these things. But for the true beginner, you’re going to have to be content with what you can mine at the moment.

Hi, I'm Alan! I became obsessed with learning Chinese, Japanese, and Korean in 2001, and managed to get good enough to work professionally in those languages as a management consultant.

I started FluentU to build a new kind of language app.
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When you’re done with the last approach, you will have watched the whole thing close to 20 times. You’ll be so sick of it, you’ll wish it had never been made. You’ll consider it the worst tragedy in the history of learning.

But guess what, who’s gotten better with the language because of it? Yup, you. And you’ll be miles ahead.

Why Videos Work in Language Learning: The 3 M’s

Videos Make the Students Motivated

Videos have the effect of exciting and engaging students in any activity. Today, videos are being used in language courses to maximize motivation and minimize anxiety in learners. 

Videos Make the Lessons Memorable

Videos have been found to positively affect the medium and long-term memory. Videos generate visual stimulants that wake up the brain cells and demand focused attention.

How many teachers or audio courses actually get “focused attention” from their students? A video requires that you look at it. It demands that you listen and take stock. Because of these characteristics, videos improve learning outcomes.

But hold your horses just yet. There are probably billions of videos in existence, and not all of them are created equal. They have varying degrees of educational impact.

Content matters. A boring video, well, is boring. There’s really no way around that. How the video integrates the different technologies available also matters. For example, captioned videos are significantly more effective in teaching language than uncaptioned ones. 

Videos Make the Culture Meaningful

Culture can never be divorced from the language that gives it expression.

Videos provide visual context for the lessons, allowing students to see not only what the teacher or native speakers actually look like, but also their facial expressions, animated gestures and even their fashion sense.

All of the little visual cues add up to give the student a bigger picture of what the culture is like. You don’t necessarily have this element with non-visual podcasts or audiobooks.

 

It’s all worth it, so keep on going. Happy watching!

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