This pandemic has been rough on us all. Last spring, I was inundated with news articles about bread baking, getting in shape, and how to cope with being quarantined indefinitely.
While these articles were interesting and no doubt helpful for some, I was working all over the US with Covid patients. When I'm not learning languages, I'm working as a paramedic, and this year has been unbelievably stressful and hectic. I've Had no reliable schedule to go by, I've been in multiple time zones, and I've been living out of a suitcase for the better part of a year.
This means that I don't have access to the same resources that I've become accustomed to, and I have been relying a lot more on apps and online immersion.
One of my favorite tools for online language learning is Language Learning With Netflix.
Netflix and Chill (or not)
Language Learning with Netflix is a free Google Chrome extension that gives you the transcript in both a wide variety of translation languages (so English for me) and the original language of the show you're watching. These subtitles are clickable as well, so you can get definitions of single words in addition to full sentences without ever clicking into a dictionary.
Another cool feature of the extensions, which I admit I didn't know about until I started writing this article, is that you can right-click a word or put a star by a phrase, and it will be saved within the app itself for later review!
All these features are super helpful, but how do you choose whether to listen extensively or intensively?
Which Kind of Listening?
Extensive listening is a very broad type of listening where you are trying to get the gist of the situation, but you're not too fussed with catching each individual word.
Extensive listening is helpful across all levels, but at the beginning of learning a new language, extensive listening is vital to get your ears accustomed to the language's pronunciation, tone, and rhythm. Later on, it's still helpful to gain more passive vocabulary and build cultural understanding and appreciation.
Intensive listening is the opposite. This is where you listen specifically for gaps in your knowledge and make sure you understand every word and phrase. This kind of listening can be painstaking, but it's a great way to build vocabulary.
Sentence Mining with Netflix
Language Learning With Netflix is a great tool for either type of listening, but it seems designed with intensive listening in mind. I use it primarily as a vocabulary builder and grammar builder, and I lift words and sentences from the transcript and put them into flashcards. This method is called sentence mining, and it's a fantastic way to learn a language in context.
Whether you use Language Learning with Netflix for extensive or intensive listening, it's a great tool that can help you start watching native content, give you a bridge from native language to target language subtitles, or simply to enjoy a good Netflix binge.