Disney+ for Language Learning

I’m still on my language learning kick, trying to study Slovak once a day. (Well, Slovak on Mondly. Duolingo still doesn’t do Slovak, so I do Czech, instead.) I’m up to 250 days in a row, as of yesterday. Is it working? Um . . . definitely not as well as actually taking a class in it, speaking as someone who’s taken a number of languages. However, some of that is because I don’t devote an hour a day to the lessons. Usually it’s more like 10 minutes. On the other hand, it’s definitely teaching me the language better than the “nothing” I did for years before then. (Go figure.)

However, today’s post isn’t about those apps. It’s about how very impressive the subtitle and dubbing options are on Disney+. The other day, Denisa and MC watched Cinderella in Slovak with English subtitles. Last night, the whole family did the same with Princess and the Frog. We could also have done just Slovak subtitles. And it’s more than just Slovak. On the Lion King, they have 24 different languages for dubbing and subtitles. That’s a seriously impressive amount.

Do they have it for all languages and every movie? No. But compare this to what I used to have to do to watch movies in Slovak. It involved buying the DVDs in Slovakia, and then jailbreaking a DVD player in America to make it region-free. So that meant we had very few options to watch, and we could only watch them in one spot. As DVDs became more and more out of date, it also meant that I had to go to special lengths to make sure the DVD player I was using still worked.

Now? I just open the same app we use to watch the movies in English, and I press a couple of buttons to select the language. Easy. (And easy increases the odds we’ll actually do it.)

So, how well are my language skills coming along? Based on yesterday’s viewing, they’re actually better than I thought they’d be. I think it would be most useful for me to watch the movies in Slovak with Slovak subtitles, because a large part of understanding a language comes down to being able to tell what they’re actually saying. I could get a number of words and phrases, but there were many many strings where I could barely catch a word.

Anyway. If you’re interested in learning languages, I definitely recommend watching some media in the language of choice. These days, it’s so easy to do, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

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