How much of your audio consumption is in English?

I’m convinced that you can learn English only if change your habits, especially your media consumption habits. So the question is how much of your daily audio is in English? I mean, do you hear the news in English and do you watch movies in the original version? I find it strange when people tell me they want to improve their English and then they watch American films in their mother tongue instead of the original version. How much time do you spend in your car, and how much of it do you spend listening to audio books?

I have said this many times here on the forum, your level of English reflects your ability to change your habits because a language is nothing else than just a habit or a set of habits you have acquired over a certain period of time. How many of your habits do you have under control and how many of them are you are willing to change?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between a professor and his student[YSaerTTEW443543]

How about this, Torsten:

In one neighborhood where I teach, it is hard to learn English, because almost everybody speaks Arabic all the time. I am frequently approached there by Arabic Muslims who ask me how they can improve their English. I ask them questions about how they live, and then my answer is often tha they can’t improve their English beyond their currrent level unless they end their isolation and mix with the English-speaking community. Once in a while, one will take the suggestion. Most of them won’t. Some of them even get angry at the idea that they should mix with non-Muslims.

Hi Torsten

My love for English was first stirred by Hedy Lamarr! Many, many years ago I was watching the movie Samson and Delilah, by Demille, and could not understand what Lamarr was saying to Victor Mature. Since Lamarr was a real beauty I instantly developed a crush on her (I still have that crush). I wanted to understand what was going on but could not get a word. Thus, I thought learning English was a must in order to understand H.Lamarr.

The irony of fate is that it is one of the very few movies which still have not come with English subtitles. I like to listen to Madonna but Michael Jackson is BEYOND me.



Yes, I saw it on TV when I was a teenager, and I also got a horrible crush on Hedy Lamarr, whose real name was Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler.

You may or may not know that Hedy Lamarr invented a torpedo guidance system that was decades ahead of its time. If you don’t believe me, check this out:

Stranger things have happened. The inventor of the artificial heart was Paul Winchell, a funny ventriloquist who was on TV every Saturday morning when I was a little kid. When he wasn’t working on medical inventions, he did cartoon voices in Hollywood.

Thank you, Jamie for sharing the crush! :smiley:

Can you tell me how she knew English? I mean, her mother tongue was German and as soon as she entered the US(Hollywood), she started working in English movies…how come? And, I suppose she was speaking pretty fine English in Samson and Delilah.

What do you think?


A lot of German- and French-speaking actresses landed in Hollywood and spoke English with varying degrees of mastery. Marlene Dietrich is another example. There were also Swedes, like Greta Garbo, and a Norwegian named Sonia Hennie, who had been an Olympic skater. I suppose they had English training as time went on, but I’ll bet that some of these actresses memorized their lines phonetically at the beginning, maybe without understanding them, just as some singers do.

Hedy Lamarr’s English wasn’t bad. She had an exotic accent, which made her all the more desirable a vamp.

Time spent on audio english? Well, i can’t give an accurate answer here. Maybe thirty minutes or more, of course everyday. Just like follow BBC or VOA online , watching english channels, doing some listening exercises and so on. But to get a full understanding of english movies is still a little hard for me. Sometimes they will give the original captions while watching the movies, it is helpful for me to know what they are talking about. But i am trying not to read those subtitles, it works. But i think all time spent on movies may not be helpful, because you prefer enjoying movie itself to learning english, i’d like to watch some shorter programms, like" Friends" , " Everybody loves Raymond" , they are situation comedies which don’t take much time and i am willing to learn what they are talking about , not like a 90-minutes movie that may cause me to lose the final interests. :lol: That is all.



Wow FangFang, I?m impressed. Beside of your improved vocabulary you spend lots of time with listening to English. 8) I must admit having started listening just recently. Thus my listening skills aren?t surely as well as your?s are. I envy you the time you started listening before I did.


Most language learning happens through passive absorption while doing other things. In other words, you can learn as much when you are enjoying a movie as you can when you’re studying, sometimes more. So time spent enjoying movies in English is productive and helpful.

Hi, Jamie
Thanks for your corrections!!!
Maybe you are right, I say that partly because it is not helpful for me, :stuck_out_tongue: I’d like to spend 30-45 minutes on English audio programs , it isn’t so long and my passions would last till the end, :lol: , A movie is a kind of good material to others, I think. I can’t watch movies so often , only at weekends I will be free to "enjoy " one, but the problem is that , you probably would be interested in the plot of the play rather than English . That isn’t very effective for me , so I choose to watch shorter programmes which save my time to learn English, thirty minutes everyday are enough and workable, I like this way.


Hi, Michael:
Generally speaking, I spend two hours on english everyday. How about you??


Hi FangFang

I’d like to congratulate and commend you on your determination to learn English, the obvious success you’ve had and also on the fact that you’ve actively looked for a system that’s workable and appropriate for you.

But, I disagree with one of the words you used in your post: maybe. I think Jamie is just plain right. :wink:


I also think that the only way to learn any language is absorb as much of it. For example, if 50% of your daily media input is in English, you will start communicating in English at some point sooner or later. The more language you put into your head, the better you will be able to reproduce it. Jamie is absolutely right in saying that you can probably learn more by watching a movie than by reading ESL text books, provided you enjoy the movie and like the story.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: Why doesn’t the young man want to assume the family business?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Anyone who has exposed himself to a lot of unfocused input in the language he is studying will notice a very strange thing happening. Sometimes some very good, completely correct language comes out of your mouth, and you don’t know where or how you learned it. This is because your subconscious picked it up while you weren’t paying attention.

Maybe you heard this language on the street while you were passing by but were unaware of what you were hearing. Maybe it came in while you were enjoying a TV show and not “studying”. It could have come into your ears while you were concentrating on maneuvering a canoe. A large part, maybe most, of a person’s language learning comes from language acquired while not studying.

Once, when I was learning Czech, I sat at my landlord’s breakfast table and gave my opinion about something. Suddenly I thought, “Hey! That sentence was above my level! It must have been wrong!” So I tried to “correct” myself. My landlord and landlady said, “No! No! You were right the first time!” My correction was wrong, but my original sentence was right. How did I learn to say something that was above the level of the language I had studied? It came into my ears while I wasn’t paying attention, and my brain kept it. Now I sometimes teach the Czech language, and when I teach the students how to say something correctly, I often wonder, “Where did I learn that?” I realize that a lot of what I know and teach didn’t come from anything I studied.

The cool thing about language immersion is that, while studying is usually a matter of 2+2=4, language you learn while you’re not paying attention seems to adhere to a formula of 2+2=352 or something like that. Your mind processes everything in such a way that what you come out with is much more than what came in.

Jamie, I have to agree with all the words you said about this subject.
I always let this autopilot do the driving, but I have to admit sometimes my subconscious comes up with some words that don’t exist, just made up words to help me out. Because I speak fast, noone corrects me (they must think they missundestood something),therefore I might use the word again from time to time, and whenever I use it I hear it myself too, so it becomes more real every time.
That’s how I make up my own language :slight_smile:
These made up words are usually sound close to the real words I should use in those matters, but sometimes not.
Anyway, the best anyone can do for learning is always fun.
You have to distract (if this is the right word here) your mind in order to let your subconscious do the real work.
Watching movies, listening to radio (Torsten’s right, while you’re focusing on your driving the 95% of your mind is ready, and open for information) reading books in English are the best ever. Knowing the grammar, and speaking the language are two different things. If you want to walk, you don’t need to know how much the force of gravity you’ll have to fight with, or count the speed of wind that will come against your chest, to know how much of your strength you’ll have to use to start walking on Earth.
You just stand up and go.
If your subconscious is that smart to count all the things you need for being alive, then why should you force the other 5% to learn this language thing at all?
I myself make a lot of mistakes all right, but I have never actually learnt English, went to school, or read a grammar book.
If you don’t like to study, (just like me)
you better stop suffering, and take out your best movie in English.That’s my way of learning and I like it.

This is one of the points I was trying to make.

This is what I’ve noticed. Because in the US we can get a lot of really comprehensive audio programs from the government for learning almost any language (includng Igbo!), I have always wound up doing a lot of my language learning while driving. I find that the language gets absorbed well while I’m paying attention to something else. The other advantage of learning in the car is that the mechanical and highway noise encourages you to talk louder.

Another time I’ve always learned is while walking at night. For some reason, I find that practicing the language using audio programs while walking around my neighborhood at 11:00 p.m. or so helps me learn. In this case, again, most of my conscious attention is not devoted to the task of learning.

And it’s funny how the same practices have spanned the technology eras. I started out doing all these things with cassettes, skipped over the portable CD player era, and now I’m using an MP3 player. The technology has completely changed (for the better!) but my practice is the same.

Hi, Amy:
Thanks for your compliments! :oops:
I will consider your advice____to watch more english movies when I have much free time. In fact, Jamie’s study experiences make me recall those days spent on english listening, I took the buses with my walkman on hands, It was very noisy so I had to turn the tune high. It was really useful to me, because I felt happy to listen to my tapes while watching the outside . Everything seemed to become nice immediately.
So that is , everyone has his way of learning English. The point is that it is suitable for you and you are loving it! :wink: