This article is to help people who are interested in Chinese culture and language to learn Chinese from movies or any videos in Chinese effectively.
Audio and video materials have been used to help students to learn a second language ever since the existence of audio cassette tapes and VHS tapes. In twenty-first century, audio and VHS tapes are gradually being forgotten. With the wide-spread of digital media, people are given the technology to access the digital media with unprecedented convenience. We could watch movies on DVD, Blu-ray players and computers, and listen to songs on MP3, MP4 players or Mobile phones. These new technologies have brought new dimensions to second language learning.
Movies are better than audio media material as it provides vivid visual scenes with near-reality audio effect which audiences could try best to understand from both audio and visual information. Movies are very much global now, thanks to the broadband internet and digital video compression technology. A two-hour movie can be compressed to MP4 with less than 1GB and maintains very good picture quality. A movie with 1GB size can be downloaded through broadband within 30 minutes.
Chinese movies are becoming more and more popular in non-Chinese speaking countries. Films with martial art contents are their favorites. Films such as Hero, House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon are well known word-wide. These films and many others are available for purchase online and in local stores.
If people are interested in Chinese TV series, then download free software programs such as PPLive, ppstream. They will give people instant access to thousands of TV programs.
Access to Chinese movies or TV programs is not much of an issue. The key is how to choose movies for your learning. Some movies are very enjoyable to watch, but they may not be suitable for learning. First, you need to consider how much of the conversations you can understand without turning on subtitles. Too many new words in a movie could hurt your confidence. To learn means you need to build up on what you already have learnt. Secondly, you need to know the purpose of learning from a particular movie. Is it for daily conversation or understanding Chinese Culture better? Movies set in different backgrounds are rich in showing cultures of a particular period in China. You won’t be able to understand a lot of daily conversations in Chinese without knowing Chinese cultures and some histories.
DVD or Blu-ray players are great as they enable you to repeat a section and turn subtitles on and off. However, DVD players could not repeat sentence by sentence. They could only repeat sections which you have to set. Many Chinese films sold online and in local stores may not come with Chinese subtitles.
Watching and learning from Chinese movies is easier with a computer media player such as VLC and GOM players which could play SRT format subtitles placed in the same file folder. You can search for SRT subtitles on the internet. Most of them have Chinese and English subtitles, but not Pinyin subtitles.
The most effective and easiest way to learn from movies is to have a software program which enables to have full control of Chinese-English-Pinyin subtitles. You can navigate to and repeat any sentence with a mouse click. You can turn on and off any subtitle you want. If it could record your own voices, that would be ideal.