Watching TV shows and other videos is a great way to improve both your English listening skills and your overall fluency because you can hear English being used by native speakers. You’ll hear not only what they say, but how they say it. It allows you to step inside another world without having to be worried about speaking. No matter what your level, there is a resource that can help you. For how to use videos to improve your English, check out Listening Practice: 4 Steps to Fluency
If you are a beginner, one of the best places to start is English Central. Their videos have lots of tools, including vocabulary and subtitles that you can use even with free access. There are many to choose from and you can watch for free.
For intermediate and advanced learners, there are lots of videos on YouTube. You can search based on your interests or find a recommendation here on Apoven.
Kim’s Convenience is a Canadian TV show about a family of Korean immigrants who run a convenience store in Toronto. You can find many full episodes on YouTube.
What is Kim’s Convenience about? 2:15 – This video features both brief clips from the show and the actors talking about the show. It has subtitles.
The Impact of Season One: Kim’s Convenience 4:39 – This features the actors talking about the show and has subtitles.
Modern Family is a popular show about a very diverse family living in suburban Los Angeles.
Modern Family – Restaurant Scene 2:42 – This clip has cultural references and involves some misunderstandings related to diversity and culture. In fact, the actor who plays Lily, a Vietnamese girl adopted by two men, is actually Korean American. The waitress in the scene is her mother IRL (in real life).
Friends is an oldie but goodie (something that is old but still likable) for English language learners. It’s about 3 men and 3 women living in the same apartment complex in New York. Some are roommates.
Friends – Joey doesn’t share food 4:48 – This clip is about Joey not sharing food, especially when he is on dates with women. Pretty different culturally, isn’t it? You’ll hear rejoinders (and more) used naturally in this one.
Friends – Will hates Rachel [Brad Pitt] 4:37 – This clip has a guest appearance by a very young Brad Pitt. There are also some misunderstandings based on tone and implicit meaning that Rachel doesn’t pick up on.
Motivate Korean is a YouTube channel that I love for understanding differences between English and Korean.
Learning Korean Means Learning to Think Backwards? 3:35 While this is talking about learning Korean, it explains a difference in thinking that affects conversations in both Korean and English and the relationship between words, sentences, and thoughts. It might be a little difficult to comprehend, but once you do, it’s quite interesting. Reading the comments on this video is also interesting and helpful.
The Ellen Show is a talk show with comedian Ellen DeGeneres as host.
Bill Gates Chats with Ellen for the first time 6:34 (just half is enough)There are some great natural expressions, vocabulary, and rejoinders in this conversation with Bill Gates. It has subtitles too. They also don’t speak too fast.
Ellen Makes ‘Friends’ with BTS 4:21 RM talks about how he taught himself English by watching ‘Friends’. There is also an interpreter that translates some of the conversation.
Ellen’s Favorite Presidential Moments 3:33 – Clinton, Bush, Obama and more all having fun with Ellen! I found it a bit touching :).
I absolutely love TED Talks. They offer thousands of videos on hundreds of different topics.
Try something new for 30 days 3:21 A short TED Talk by Matt Cutts.
Overwatch – 1:33 Heroes Dialogues Part 1 This has subtitles. There is at least one error in the subtitles, but most are okay. It even has a tag question with a reduction.
Having a Meal with the President 4:26 Wow! I hadn’t heard about this, but there are a few videos like this. From what I can tell, if you made a donation to his 2nd campaign, your name was entered to win a dinner with him. Guess I missed my chance :(. The CC subtitles work pretty well on this one and you can hear some common reductions and relaxed speech in it from Obama.
English in a Minute – Lots of 1 minute videos about common idioms with visuals and explanations to help you understand and remember them.
More recommendations can be found in the What TV Shows Do You Recommend?
Newly posted videos can be found in Watch YouTube Videos to Hear Natural Spoken English.
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