We at Kaleela are big fans of immersion. “What is that?” you ask. In very simple terms, living in, engaging in and interacting with the world through another language. When being asked the question “Do you watch TV?” most people will answer in the affirmative. So, why not learn another language through TV? In fact, watching TV programs in your target language is a great method of learning a language through immersion, and here’s why:
It gives your listening skills a boost
It helps you sound more like a native speaker
You won’t fall off the language-learning wagon
When people think of learning a language through watching TV, they sometimes imagine learning it through osmosis – the idea that, if you listen to a stream of undecipherable syllables for long enough, it will eventually start to make sense. However, it doesn’t work like that. To learn, you have to first understand. Once you get to a level where you can pick out a fair amount of what the characters/presenters/hosts, etc. are saying, you can learn a lot from just sitting back and listening.
So, what if you’re not there, yet? Well, if you want to learn a language by watching TV and films, it’s important you do a bit of studying that’ll help you understand the dialogues before you start. The hard part is that a small amount of effort needs to be made in order to maximize learning potential, meaning you cannot go and sit the couch, stare at the screen, switch off your brain and expect to instantly understand the language. Nor is it particularly useful to watch something where you understand only 10% of what’s going on. That’s why we advise to check the articles with basic Arabic words and common Arabic phrases (link here ) that we previously wrote.
Some have suggested that, ideally, in order for it to be useful, we should be listening to material where we understand 90% of what’s said. However, we don’t think this is useful at all because we would just be reaffirming what we already know. What’s the use in that? We should give our brains some credit, because our mind works by context. We do not need to know every single word and 60-70% is enough to get what’s going on. So,
So, where do we go from here? Well, it can be daunting at first, but once you have a basic bank of words, then you can start watching TV. Here’s a list of Arabic TV channels to get you started:
Dzair TV / دزاير تي في
This is an Arabic language satellite television channel broadcasting from Hydra, Algeria. It broadcasts various programs including series, news, cartoons and sports.
This is a fairly new channel founded in 2011 in Algeria with the slogan “The Channel for the Whole Family!”
Another new Algerian TV channel and founded in 2012. If watching news is your cup of tea, then this is the channel for you.
ENTV was the only television channel in Algeria until 1994 when French-speaking Canal Algérie was created.
Rotana / روتانا
The Rotana Group (Arabic: روتانا, Rōtānā), also known simply as Rotana, is the Arab World’s largest entertainment company. This large, pan-Arab media conglomerate includes a film production company (Rotana Studios), a magazine (Rotana Magazine), television (Rotana TV), seven music channels (Rotana Radio), a record label (Rotana Records), and others. The TV channel offers a broad spectrum of entertainment.
If you want Arabic music, Melody Hits is a top rated music channel from Egypt featuring all the latest hits from the Arab world as well as international artists. It airs non-stop video clips as well as fashion and lifestyle programming. It also features an interactive component that allows viewers to request their favorite music videos.
Al Jazeera / الجزيرة
This has to be one of the most famous TV channels in the Arab world. Al Jazeera, literally “The Peninsula” (referring to the Arabian Peninsula), is a Doha-based, state-funded broadcaster owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network and partially funded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages. Al Jazeera is among the largest news organizations with 80 bureaus around the world. Al Jazeera is owned by the government of Qatar.
If you want to watch a movie, MBC 2 was the first 24-hour free-to-air movie channel in the Arab world. The channel has been broadcast as a satellite TV channel since 2003. During its debut, it broadcasted movies and television programs subtitled in Arabic, but after the launch of MBC 4 the channel specialized in movies only. The channel is based in Dubai Media City located in United Arab Emirates, and is owned by the Saudi broadcaster MBC Group. The channel mainly broadcasts American films produced in Hollywood, but it also sometimes features British, Canadian, French, Indian, Chinese and other foreign films. MBC 2 has managed to negotiate long-term deals with the top Hollywood studios, securing first-run right and ensuring a steady flow of the top box-office movies. Even though this channel broadcasts movies in English, Arabic subtitles are always present and you can read while watching and contextualize what you read in case you don’t know a word.
Have you ever tried learning a language by watching TV series and films? Are there any other ways of using TV and films that you can add to the list?