In writing, Sam is still not average, but in speaking, since he watches his TV series in the original, it is night and day. “Even my English teacher can’t believe it,” smiles the 14-year-old who has just swallowed eight episodes of One Piece in Shakespeare’s language. Like him, there are more and more teenagers who, often under parental coercion, have adopted VO. And to be more comfortable expressing yourself in a foreign language. In English of course, but also in Spanish, German and even Japanese!
“I was angry at first,” Sam admits, “but I didn’t have much of a choice, otherwise my parents would cut off Netflix!” on the advice of his Spanish teacher, who was upset that Elias, 14, wasn’t fluent in languages even though he spoke Fluent in Arabic, his mother subscribed to him a year ago on the American platform.
Khadija smiles, saying: “Thanks to her, my son is back on the right track.” He has already progressed in English and Spanish, and is even considering learning a third language in high school next year to later become an interpreter and live in the United States.
“My eldest daughter even watches it with English subtitles to improve her writing skills!”
With the arrival of live streaming platforms in France less than ten years ago, VO has increasingly established itself in the daily lives of young people. “It’s no longer reserved for the elite like when I was a teenager,” says Sabine, who turns 50 at the end of the year. But not all parents impose it on their children and this is a shame. Look at the Northern European countries, there are no subtitles on TV, and all the children are bilingual from a very young age! »
O’Reilly, 45, a mother of three, is convinced of the benefits of Netflix, Disney+ and other OCS services for learning a foreign language. “I spent my adolescence in Loiret, and it was impossible to watch a film in the original language unless you traveled 50 kilometres. When I was younger, I spent hours pirating American series like… friends or Emergency casesBecause I didn’t have the patience to wait for it to be broadcast in France, she remembers. But it was clearly not translated and soon became bilingual! » In her house, the series is unlimited but never in French. “My eldest daughter, who is 13, even watches it with English subtitles to improve her writing skills!”
“Netflix Workshops” in progress
As for foreign language teachers, we agree with this trend. “We must encourage students to watch series in the original language!” insists Elena, an English teacher at a Parisian college in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. She herself uses it as a support for her lessons.
“I organize Netflix Workshops (Netflix workshops), in which I use excerpts from a series to work on comprehension and oral expression, she explains. During Halloween, for example, we worked with third graders Weird things. They had to imagine the episode continuing. They loved this! Many then watched the rest of the series at home, if they hadn’t already. » They also encourage children to watch, when they can, with English subtitles. “To better understand pronunciation and enrich vocabulary,” she explains.
“Hearing the language, even if they don’t understand everything, can only be helpful,” agrees Adrien, a high school teacher in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), who sometimes mentions “La Casa de papel” or “The Elite” with his troops. “And the sooner we start, the better!” » He also relies on TV series in his lessons. “It is important to connect with students and their world to take pictures of them. Let them see that even in high school, we can have moments of fun,” analyzes the teacher who worked with his high school students on the series “Isabelle,” about the story of Isabella of Castile, Queen of Spain. At the end of the season. 15th century.
But Corentin, who teaches Spanish at a college in Clichy (Hauts-de-Seine), has some reservations. “Soap operas in their original form are good,” he insists, “but you must first have a solid foundation in vocabulary and grammar, otherwise they will not be relevant. The danger is that the student will stumble and feel overwhelmed. This should be avoided at all costs.”
Those who do not feel more comfortable are advised to start watching the series in French first, before switching to the original language. “There are also a lot of Spanish-speaking YouTubers and influencers on topics that might be of interest to teens. Short formats, to begin with, are better. “And what matters is everyday life,” the teacher says.
Chrome browser displays viewing at slow speed
Four years ago, Google Chrome launched a free “Learning Languages with Netflix” extension that lets you watch series, movies or documentaries with dual subtitles in English and French. It is also possible to switch to slow speed to better understand the dialogue. “It’s very practical,” admits Felix, 15, who has just started the German fantasy series “Dark.” “At normal speed, I didn’t understand much.”
If English and Spanish speaking teens don’t need their parents to find what they’re looking for, as for German or less common languages like Japanese or Arabic, feel free to go for a walk to help them find the right series that will make them quit orally. !
On Netflix, the “Explore by Language” icon with about thirty options, from Mandarin to Portuguese to Japanese, lets you find that rare gem! Justine, who will receive her bachelor’s degree at the end of the year, is passionate about Asia in general, and South Korea in particular. “With my father, we watched and loved Glory In Korean. He promised to take me to Seoul if I do well on the oral exam, so I’m very excited! »