How to,  Language Learning

12 Mistakes to Avoid When Learning a Language through TV & Movies

Dear Emerson,

Today on the blog we are pleased to bring you a guest piece written by Milena, a Speech Language Therapy graduate, a language enthusiast, and a Korean food lover. She is also a blog writer for Lingopie, a language learning platform that allows you to “bingewatch your way to fluency” through the use of original language TV and movies. As such, she knows a thing or two about using these sorts of tools for language learning and we trust you’ll find her insights on the topic of common mistakes useful.

Without further ado, we bring you Milena…


Learning Spanish through TV and movies can be an exciting and effective way to learn a new language.

With the rise of online platforms that integrate language learning with entertainment, mastering a new language has become more accessible than ever. However, many language learners often stumble upon common mistakes that hinder their progress.

In this article, we’ll delve into 12 mistakes you can avoid when learning a language through TV and movies, and how Lingopie can help you sidestep these pitfalls, making your language-learning journey easier and more enjoyable.

Table of Contents

  1. Relying Solely on Passive Watching
  2. Neglecting Speaking Practice
  3. Overlooking Cultural Understanding
  4. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
  5. Focusing Solely on Vocabulary
  6. Not Utilizing Available Tools
  7. Avoiding Making Mistakes
  8. Not Seeking Feedback
  9. Underestimating the Importance of Pronunciation
  10. Getting Discouraged by Lack of Immediate Results
  11. Overlooking the Importance of Listening Skills
  12. Not Incorporating Variety in Learning

1. Relying Solely on Passive Watching

One of the biggest mistakes language learners make is relying solely on passive watching.

Simply watching TV shows or movies in your target language without actively engaging with the content won’t significantly improve your language skills.

Instead, actively participate by pausing, rewinding, and engaging with the context and subtitles (in the original or in your native language), creating other scenarios where that sentence could be used to reinforce your understanding and memorizing.

Need some movie recommendations to start your binge watching sessions? Lingopie got your back:

2. Neglecting Speaking Practice

Many language learners focus heavily on listening comprehension but neglect speaking practice. While watching TV and movies can improve your listening comprehension skills, it’s essential to practice speaking regularly to become fluent.

Lingopie provides tools like flashcards and word lists to reinforce vocabulary, but don’t forget to practice speaking aloud to enhance your pronunciation and fluency.

3. Overlooking Cultural Understanding

Language and culture are deeply intertwined. Ignoring cultural nuances while learning a new language can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications.

Lingopie not only offers authentic TV shows and movies but also provides cultural context to help you gain a deeper understanding of the cultural background of the foreign language you are learning.

4. Setting Unrealistic Expectations

Setting unrealistic expectations can demotivate language learners and hinder progress. Fluency takes time and consistent effort, so be patient with yourself when tackling a foreign language. Take the opportunity to enjoy the process of your small achievements and have fun!

Lingopie encourages setting achievable goals and tracking your progress, making your language learning journey more manageable and rewarding.

5. Focusing Only on Vocabulary

While building vocabulary is crucial, focusing solely on memorizing words and phrases can hinder language acquisition.

Learning vocabulary is the most obvious way learning a language online can work for you but only focusing on translating a few new words you have come across is not among the most effective ways to learn while watching foreign content.

Try to understand the story beyond the subtitles. Use all the context clues from the environment, body language and intonation to understand the meaning of the sentence before trying to translate everything at once. The more you practice understanding the language without translating, the more your brain will get used to thinking in the target language. Only after that, try to translate what is stopping you from fully understanding the sentence.

Lingopie emphasizes the importance of recognizing patterns, understanding grammar concepts, and practicing sentence structure to improve overall language fluency.

6. Not Using Available Tools

In today’s digital age, language learners have access to a plethora of resources and tools to aid their learning process.

Lingopie offers built-in features like instant translations, clickable subtitles, and personalized flashcards to enhance your learning experience.

Take advantage of these tools to start learning grammar patterns, chunks of language and key phrases to make your language learning journey more efficient.

7. Avoiding Making Mistakes

Making mistakes is a natural part of the language learning process. Avoiding mistakes can inhibit your progress and prevent you from learning and growing. Practicing and reviewing your mistakes strengthen the neuropath ways of the language, making it easier to correct yourself.

Lingopie creates a supportive learning environment where making mistakes is encouraged as an essential step towards improvement and fluency.

8. Not Seeking Feedback

Feedback is invaluable in language learning. Without feedback, you may continue to reinforce bad habits or incorrect pronunciation. Additionally, searching for feedback can be a great way to get introduced to natives or language exchange pals, creating new opportunities for knowledge sharing.

Lingopie offers opportunities for language exchange programs, where you can interact with native speakers and receive feedback on your language skills, helping you refine your abilities and become more confident in your target language.

9. Underestimating the Importance of Pronunciation

Clear and accurate pronunciation is vital for effective communication with native speakers and understanding spoken language. Underestimating the importance of pronunciation can lead to misunderstandings and hinder your ability to be understood.

Lingopie provides audio clips and pronunciation guides to help you master the nuances of pronunciation, ensuring that you speak with confidence and clarity.

10. Getting Discouraged by Lack of Immediate Results

Language learning is a gradual process that requires patience and perseverance.

Getting discouraged by the lack of immediate results can derail your progress.

Lingopie encourages consistency and regular practice, reminding language learners that every small step forward contributes to eventual fluency.

11. Overlooking the Importance of Listening Skills

Listening skills are fundamental for language learning and effective communication in any language.

Overlooking the importance of honing your listening skills can hinder your ability to understand native speakers and engage in conversations.

Lingopie’s extensive library of authentic TV shows and movies provides ample opportunities to practice and improve your listening comprehension skills in a fun and engaging way.

12. Not Incorporating Variety in Learning

Sticking to one method or source of learning can lead to boredom and stagnation. Incorporating variety in your learning routine keeps things fresh and exciting, preventing burnout and maintaining motivation. Experiencing a language in many contexts can help your brain fixate it better, while also allowing a more global perspective.

Lingopie offers a diverse range of TV shows and movies in multiple languages, allowing you to explore different genres and topics while expanding your language skills.

FAQs on Mistakes to Avoid on Your Language Learning Journey

Here, you will find answers to common questions that people ask about using TV series and movies to learn a foreign language.

What are the 5 causes of errors in language learning?

Errors in learning a new language can stem from various factors. These include insufficient practice, misunderstanding grammar concepts, limited exposure to native speakers, overreliance on translation, and fear of making mistakes.

These factors can impede progress and lead to inaccuracies in pronunciation, comprehension, and usage.

What are the do’s and don’ts in learning a language?

When learning a new language, it’s crucial to engage regularly in practice, interact with native speakers, use diverse resources, watch movies and TV shows in the original language, and seek feedback.

Conversely, whether you are learning by yourself or with a language tutor, avoid relying solely on translation, overlooking pronunciation, ignoring cultural understanding, getting discouraged by mistakes, and skipping practice sessions.

Is it better to use subtitles in your native language when watching foreign TV shows?

Using subtitles in your native language can aid beginners, but transitioning to subtitles in the original language enhances listening comprehension and reinforces vocabulary and grammar when learning a new language.

Lingopie makes it easier to Learn Spanish with TV shows and movies with original language subtitles followed by translation subtitles.

How can films help me with my language skills?

Films serve as valuable tools for improving your skills by enhancing listening comprehension, expanding vocabulary, recognizing grammar patterns, providing cultural insights, and maintaining engagement and motivation.

Watching films exposes learners to authentic language usage in context, making the learning process both enjoyable and effective.

Lingopie provides access to a plethora of films, facilitating immersive language learning online. By practicing regularly and engaging with diverse content, learners can steadily progress towards fluency.

Summing Up: Mistakes When Learning a Language through TV/Movies

Learning a language online through TV and movies can be an enriching and enjoyable experience, but it’s essential to avoid common mistakes that may hinder your progress.

By actively engaging with content, practicing speaking regularly, and utilizing available tools and resources, you can make your language learning journey easier and more effective.

With dedication and perseverance, fluency in your target language is within reach.

Take the next step in your language learning journey by signing up for a free 7-day trial with Lingopie.

With access to authentic TV shows and movies, interactive tools, and personalized learning features, Lingopie offers the perfect platform to immerse yourself in the language of your choice.

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