Can you Learn a Language by Watching TV? Improve Your English Skills!

Try to watch 3 or more English programs on TV every day. Viewing four hours of regular television is enough for most people, but this number can really vary depending upon your interests in the program you are watching. A good sample daily viewing time would be a one-third hour at breakfast, lunch, and dinnertime with an additional two hours during evening primetime programming that features either film or drama shows. In this article, we will answer the questions “can you Learn a Language by Watching TV?”

Can you Learn a Language by Watching TV?

Here is what the research says about the question “can you Learn a Language by Watching TV!”

Use the Spaced Repetition Technique with Your Favorite English TV Series

Watch tv series could help improve my English skill and answers the question ” can you learn a language by watching tv”. Watching tv series can not only increase your vocabulary and pronunciation but also help to use correct grammar in conversation with native speakers. Therefore, you can improve your English.

Watching tv series is very easy. You just need to find the right one and start watching it. You don’t have to watch a lot of television in order to improve your English skills, but you do need to watch something that’s interesting enough that you’ll want to keep watching. See also learn English with tv series.

How to watch TV with the spaced repetition technique:

The learning process should focus on the length of episodes.
Here are some other ideas (by type) for watching TV:

Step 1: Half an hour before you plan to go to bed or take a nap, turn on an English-language TV show that you find interesting.

Step 2: Listen actively, taking notes or repeating what you hear out loud.

Step 3: Write a brief summary of the content as well as new things you have learned in English.

Step 4: Set the note aside and get to sleep. Let sleep work its magic.

Step 5: Review your notes the next day. Pay attention to your ability to recall new words. Keep a record of the new information you successfully recall and make flashcards or notes for the information you do not remember.

Steps to learn English from subtitled TV shows:

Subtitles can become your best friend in learning English skills, especially when you watch tv in another language. subtitles are perfect for improving English and answers the question ” can you learn a language by watching tv” through tv because they help improve listening comprehension and reading speed which is an important skill in being able to learn a second language. See also reading comprehension strategies.

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Some options for watching English subtitled shows:

Different countries have different tastes in TV programs. You may hear people saying that American television is lacking, or British programming is too simplistic and devoid of good stories.

  • Step 1: Before you go to sleep, set your DVR recorder so the tape will record the language of whatever TV show is interesting.
  • Step 2: Go to bed or take a nap after relating this experience with English listening/reading practice, listening is a skill. To see if you are at ease for focusing on non-language academic benefits from watching subtitling.
  • Step 3: Review your notes on how the TV show was bad or good after you wake up. Focus more on remembering new terms and pasting them into your vocabulary notebook so they can be coded later for practice in-class lectures.
  • Step 4: After watching the first half an hour of a series, watch it without subtitles. It will increase stress on listening comprehension skills whether English is spelled out or not, thus teaching you to enjoy passive learning.
  • Step 5: Find a TV show that is suitable for your English level and then learn to pay attention without the expectation of understanding all the words. Being able to watch TV in another language will hopefully improve your English listening/reading skills in a way that is better than “lingo bullet points”.
  • Step 6: Dream in English, because learning new vocab after watching tv can be much easier when dreams are not too internal or abstracted.

Best TV shows to improve English with this method

One of the best channels that play subtitled English shows is Cartoon Network. There are multiple programs on this site for all ages, including the older ones who have lived in Canada for several years. Many of these shows can be found online through databases or via streaming services if your country has access to them.

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Here are some English learning TV series I recommend watching when reaching phase 5:

Star Trek: Voyager Another Star Ship storyline but this time an English speaker is telling a story. Complete with jargon references, Big Damn Heroes and Captains who make speeches giving orders to subordinates. This could be a good show for learning because there are many plot points where something happens that dictates the characters’ actions. There is multiplayer gaming involved as well, which could also provoke conversations among classmates after watching each episode from beginning to end.

Deadwood is an HBO series, which was probably the most intense TV show I’ve watched to successfully learn English. It focuses on characters whose lives are corrupted by money and their interactions with society in the USA at the end of the 19th century. Deadwood contains stereotypes that suffer from cultural transfer but nevertheless can be used as starting points for your classmates because they like “realness”!

No matter what you want to learn and which skills you want to improve, you can learn a language by watching tv there is a technique for you.

Try turning on the subtitles for your favorite film or switch on the TV while cooking. Schedule language sessions before taking a nap and review what you have learned over a span of time. The best thing to do is to try out a new method, keep a record of your progress and draw conclusions about how it works.

To summarize, watching TV shows can be a good way to improve your English and answers the question ” can you learn a language by watching tv”. This is especially true if you want to watch series that are well-written and have interesting plots. You can also learn a lot about American culture from watching Deadwood.

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Because whether you’re sitting down to a movie or a Youtube series, consuming visual media in another language can significantly boost your conversation skills. It’s an important part of the learning process, and most experts agree, it’s on par with what you would learn through reading. 1

FAQ about the question ” can you learn a language by watching tv”

Is it better to watch BBC or HBO, and why?

Both BBC and HBO are excellent television channels with amazing content. However, the following are some key differences between the two:

  • BBC has a broad range of genres whereas HBO has a lot of crime drama shows.
  • BBC is more affordable for many people because it is not as expensive as HBO.
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Should I be using subtitles while watching TV in order to improve my English skills?

Subtitles can be a great way to improve your English skills and answers the question ” can you learn a language by watching tv” and make it easier for you to understand the language. However, there are some drawbacks of subtitles like:

  • They can take away from the enjoyment of watching TV by constantly having to read them.
  • Subtitles may sometimes be inaccurate due to translation errors.
  • Some people may not like subtitles as they take away from the experience and break immersion.

Which types of shows should I watch in order to improve my English skills?

The best way to improve your English skills and to answer the question ” can you learn a language by watching tv” is by watching shows that are targeted towards English learners. Some of the best shows you can watch in order to improve your English skills are:

  1. The Office (US)
  2. House of Cards (US)
  3. Friends (US)
  4. The West Wing (US)
  5. South Park (US)

In conclusion, the idea of learning a language by watching TV might seem like an unconventional approach, but it’s a powerful and effective method to enhance your English skills. As we’ve explored in this article, the question ” can you learn a language by watching tv” offers a dynamic way to immerse yourself in the language, improving your listening comprehension, vocabulary, and even cultural understanding.

Television provides a window into authentic, real-world language usage, making it an invaluable resource for language learners. Whether you’re enjoying English-language movies, TV series, documentaries, or even news broadcasts, each viewing session is an opportunity to grow as a language learner.



  1. Lee, M., & Lee, M. (2022, September 15). Can you learn a language by watching TV? – Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone.