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Can I Learn Hebrew by Watching Movies

Learn Hebrew by watching movies, like ShrekThere are several ways you can use movies on DVD to improve your target language. There are three ways you can watch a movie in Hebrew, starting form the hardest to the easiest.

  1. Sound and subtitled in Hebrew
  2. Sound in Hebrew but subtitled in English
  3. Sound in English with Hebrew subtitles

1. Watching a movie with sound and subtitles in your target language
Movies are hard to follow if you don’t have any subtitles. Having sound and subtitles in the target language enables you to catch what you didn’t hear.  When you’re learning a language like Hebrew it’s especially important to be able to see how words are spelled.  A word like עכשיו can be easily misspelled if you’re going by sound alone.

2. Watching a movie with sound in your target language but subtitles in English
Most people prefer watching a movie in the language it was shot in.  Even the best movies are often awkwardly dubbed.   This is a great mid-level exercise that can allow someone who still isn’t 100% confident in all of Hebrew’s structures to immerse themselves in the language.  The advantage of having subtitles in English is that you can read English much faster than Hebrew but you still benefit from hearing spoken Hebrew.  Remember, for most people the ability to speak/hear are the most crucial abilities, not necessarily reading.

3. Watching a movie in English with subtitles in Hebrew.

Most people wouldn’t think of this as a valuable exercise, but it can be very powerful.  This option only exists for DVDs bought in Israel that are dubbed in English but still have Hebrew subtitles.  The advantage of this method is it’s ease.  You can still enjoy the easy to listen to English audio while scanning the subtitles.  You can walk away from an 1 1/2 long movie with tons of new real-world phrases and not feel exhausted from studying.

DVDs are a great language learning tool that shouldn’t be ignored if you are watching movies anyway.  We these through choices you can choose a language exercise that’s appropriate for language level and desired intensity.