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language learning at the kinoteka

6 February, 2012

Instead of watching the Super Bowl, I spent Sunday hanging out with a friend of mine.

After weeks of seeing posters around town advertising the movie W ciemności, I made plans to finally go see it.

bilety do kina

My friend and I chatted, in English, while waiting in line to buy our tickets, and when we arrived at the counter, the cashier asked if I wouldn’t rather see another film that had English subtitles.  I do want to go back and see the other movie, but I wanted to see W ciemności, even though it has neither spoken nor subtitled English, and my Polish is abysmal.  I purposely chose to see a movie in this format because I wanted to see how much I could comprehend.

I lost out on a lot of the subtleties of the film, but I definitely got it overall.  And it helped that my friend is also my Polish tutor, and could feed me pieces of plot line as I needed it.  All in all though, I’m pleased with not only what I figured out language-wise, but that I was able to pay attention for the entire 145 minute run time.

Living in Warsaw, I obviously have multiple opportunities a day to be immersed in the language, but staying present and focused during all of these instances is harder, for me anyway, than it may sound.  I have a tendency to daydream, and I rarely feel particularly motivated to understand the conversation of the two girls next to me on the bus, etc.  After I purchase a ticket and settle into my theater seat, however, I feel much more engaged and eager to try to figure it out.

I liked the movie, and enjoyed this language learning activity; it was successful both as entertainment and as language practice.  I would like to continue to see movies with Polish subtitles, both because I know research suggests that watching programs with subtitles in your target language may result in gains in comprehension and retention (over no subtitles, or using subtitles in your native language), and because my firsthand experience has shown me that it’s not just helpful, but it’s also a fun way to learn.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 20 February, 2012 02:17

    Your insights are so interesting, especiallyfor those of us who get to just relax surrounded by our own language!

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