19 July 2008


I do not have any English-speaking television channels. Usually, my slingbox would provide the background noise I need (I find that mindless English in the background is more comforting than silence right now), but I have no internet access. So I have no slingbox. I still sit down in front of the tv and flip through the channels. It's ridiculous!! WHY do I do this? It's nuts.

There are some shows that were originally in English that have been poorly dubbed into Russian. These are the shows I try to find. The ones that are well-dubbed are useless to me. But, on the poorly dubbed shows you can hear the English underneath the Russian dubbing. It's actually maddening to listen to and I can't last much more than 10 minutes. If they speak in short sentences, I can hear the English before the Russian starts. But, if it's wordy, I'm lost.

I've watched part of two episodes of Buffy this way (never was a Buffy fan...) and part of three X-files. On X-files they have one man and one woman doing all the dubbing. This is okay if it's Mulder and Scully, but the scene with Mulder and Skinner was impossible for me to follow. Unfortunately, it looks like the movie will be well-dubbed. I'll just have to wait until a copy shows up on the streets here in English.

I have many friends who say they learned English by watching films. HOW? I have a pretty good ear, but I am not learning any new words...or very few. I am able to clearly hear words I know, but my vocabulary is not increasing.

I've finished all the X-files. Again. And am ready for an intellectual discussion of the last two seasons. (But Carla's a little busy right now and she's my kindred xfilesian spirit here so I'll wait.)

Meanwhile, I started The House by the Dvina and it's excellent. If you're looking for a good read, give this a whirl.


votemom said...

i hadn't thot about tv in another country. specifically, OUR new other country.


so do you watch the same movies over and over and over?

Maggie said...

When Peanut was here, I always thought it must have been really frustrating for him to watch shows in English. One day we went to rent a movie and he sees a cover and blurts out "Mama! Spy Kids!" It was obviously a movie he had seen in Russia. So we rented it. He was so confused when it was in English. That didn't stop him from watching it roughly 500 times, though. And, believe it or not, he did learn some English from it.

Anonymous said...

You need to start drinking, Kate. TV may be a lot of fun with a margarita in tow.

Anonymous said...

I hope your internet is set up soon!
Love, Nif

Deb said...

I know when I was in Guatemala we had some kids learn English by watching cartoons. It's simple words that made it easy, I think. And it does help if you watch shows that you know well.

Bummer that you have no internet for the slingbox. That's tough. I'd send you a box of DVD's but by the time they get there you'd have internet again (I hope).

InventingLiz said...

My career is in English as a second language, and I always recommend that if students want to learn more English quickly, they should watch TV. And especially things like sit-coms. You don't learn vocabulary that way, you learn a lot of idioms and slang and expressions that are hard to teach without context. TV makes the context obvious, so you can see how real people really use the language. Try just watching TV shows without concentrating on the individual words or translating in your head and see if you can just get the gist of what people are communicating.

Jim said...

What an interesting post! You are immersed in Russian TV and can't get English TV. I am immersed in English TV and have to pay a premium for the one Russian-language channel I can get (Channel 1). I have been watching a lot of old Russian movies from that channel in an effort to help me learn more Russian language. While I think it has helped me develop a better ear for the language, it certainly hasn't done anything to improve my vocabulary, either.

I hope your Internet is installed soon.

Annie said...

Now, I have heard of learning a language by watching CARTOONS (in fact, my kids practiced this way). That might work better than movies because the vocabulary is simple and they aren't "talky".

I know about the "background". I get so much more housework done with public radio behind it!