Why Netflix May Be the Next Internet Revolution for Language Learning

01/08/2018 - 12:03 | bryantt

netflix logo


The internet has been a big deal for language learners since the beginning.  I remember in the mid 90’s being able to read newspapers from around the world for the first time.  It’s easy to forget, or if one is younger, not consider how revolutionary that was at a time when even finding national newspapers required a trip to the local library, assuming you were lucky enough to have one.  As bandwidth increased, we were soon listening to music and watching videos from around the world.  For teachers, this meant an emphasis on “authentic language materials”.  No longer were we bound to the painfully bad dialogues that came on CDs or cassettes with the textbook.

Then came “Web 2.0”.  Photo-sharing sites like Flickr and social networking sites like MySpace and later Facebook became the largest sites on the web.  Whereas before the world wide web was a content resource for most of us, now it became a platform for communicating and sharing.  Our students could blog, leave comments, and best of all smiley, have a language exchange with another learner across the world.


I think we’re now seeing what will be the next wave for those interested in foreign languages, the ability to be able to choose your content agnostically, meaning you’ll first decide what you’d like to read, watch or hear, and then you’ll select the language.  Some of this is still a little ways off from being practical with things like Google Translate for web pages and Skype’s realtime translation for conversations. With Netflix, however, this is already becoming mainstream.


Netflix has plans to become the first truly global TV station.  They’ve expanded to 190 countries and are trying to do so as rapidly as possible to compete with local competitors in each market.  At first Netflix was a purchaser of content, but this meant reaching license agreements for each owner within each market, a major hurdle in their expansion.  Increasingly, they’ve focused instead on creating their own content such as “House of Cards”, “Stranger Things”, “Orange is the New Black”, and many others.  It only makes sense for them to make this content available in as many languages as possible.  This also means there is likely to be an increase in competition.  Although streaming services from Amazon and Hulu are still largely English only, already niche streaming services are appearing including Pantaya for Spanish language movies.


If you have Netflix  and are learning a new language, it’s an incredible resource.  When you start any of these shows, you’ll notice an icon in the bottom right that allows you to choose the language of both the audio and subtitles.  If you’re a beginner, maybe you’ll want to keep one in your native language or even toggle the subtitles on and off.  More advanced learners may want to have both audio and subtitles in the language you are learning.  One word of caution, the translations of the audio and subtitles are clearly done separately, so if you miss a word in the audio, you may not see the exact same word or phrase in the subtitles even if they’re both in the same language.


Hope this helps.  If you have other online video resources you’ve used to practice your listening, leave them in the comments below.

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#3 My note for Wild strawberry (Smultronstället) - directed by Ingmar Bergmans

01/08/2018 - 11:56 | thuykobo


There is the fact that Bergmans himself wrote this script when he was hospitalized, perhaps it explained why thoughts of death and meaning of existence haunted the protagonist in this film.

For me, this work is more of a diary of an aged dying man rather than a movie. The work reveals how the stream of consciousness mixed with unconsciousness as the protagonist, Professor Isak Borg has weird dreams during the day he travels to receives his honorary degree.

The film opens with the confession of the storyteller that he wants to withdraw from all the so-called relations as he thinks relying on human’s behavior no longer makes sense to him. Following it is a series of peculiar events which started with a bizarre dream. In Isak’s dream, he is lost in the empty street among ruined house, just before he is frightened by the corpse who has his face. After waking up, he rushed for leaving the house and starting his journey.

And not quite relevant but I am not a fan of this film, Kubrick and Tarkovsky are.

I do enjoy the part when Sara, the girl in the present with curly short hair, jumps into the journey of Isak and his daughter in law. Present-Sare makes the scene so lively as she conveys her honest feeling about her two boyfriends, and how she and her friends express their love for the old professor with flowers and goodbye. But I do not appreciate this film much as I think it’s boring. I am not particularly lost for the scenes but I am not into this kind of self-exploration, it feels like I am watching masturbation.

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I am looking for Russian or English native speaker

12/25/2017 - 16:27 | karm

I don't know why I can't make any change on the comments of my profile, so if possible I update it here. Maybe people interested in learning Chinese will find it here. Now, I am trying to learn Russian and improve my English. For Russian, I am really just a beginner; I need some help on spelling words and making basic conversation. For English, I am working on building a better vocabulary. 

If you want to learn Chinese, I highly recommend you to download Wechat on your phone, a Chinese chatting App. You will have a better chance to meet more Chinese people there, comparing to Skype. I miss Skype message and forget password all the time, for no Chinese friend using it. If you are ready and serious about learning Chinese, feel free to send me a message, and I will send you my Wechat account. I hope we can do the language exchange maybe once or twice a week, for a steady progress.   smiley

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12/24/2017 - 18:06 | FlagellvmDei


Меня зовут Даниэль, мне 29 лет, живу в Будапеште, столице Венгрии и работаю делопроизводителем в международной компании. Прежде чем я там начал работать, я работал  государственным служащим в парламенте. Я зарегистрировался на этом сайте, чтобы найти кого-нибудь, с кем я могу практиковаться на русском или английском языке. Так как очень много людей спросили, почему я изучаю русский язык, я вам должен ответить. Я знал кое-кого, которая приезжала из России и которую я обожал. Мы больше не соприкасаемся, но я ещё хочешь усвоить её родной язык. Думаю, что у меня нет практической цели с этим языком. Я просто не хочу видеть все мои усилия напрасно. Это просто моё хобби. Иногда я опасаюсь, того я не буду использовать этот язык за ничего полезного и цель тяжело. Иногда я чувствую, я как маленькая, тихая птица, которая клюёт крошки с земли...

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12/24/2017 - 16:25 | jim.111213

Hier, au groupe de conversation française à Minneapolis, une femme m'a dit qu'elle avait trouvé une régime qui marche très bien. La régime s'appelle "the Starch Solution". Chaque jour, elle mange beaucoup du riz et des pommes de terre. Je lui ai demandé si elle n'était pas soucieuse sur le manque du vitamin B12 dans la régime. Et toute la sucre, cela n'était pas un problème aussi?

On a parlé pendant dix minutes. J'ai utilisé le mot, "starch", plusieurs fois. Je l'ai prononcé, "s-t-a-a-r-s-s-h", comme un vrai français.

Plus tard, quand je suis rentré chez moi, j'ai trouvé le mot pour "starch" dans le dictionnaire. <<amidon>>.

Je m'ai regardé dans le miroir. << Tu es vraiment bête >>, j'ai dit.

Cela arrive tout le temps.


Greetings from the land of Spam, Prince and Sinclair Lewis. I'm a database administrator. My wife and I live in Saint Paul, the capital of Minnesota.

I'm currently following events in Catalonia by the hour. I listen to Franceinfo a lot just to avoid hearing the name of a certain poliTician. I like to bring home old copies of Paris Match from the library. And I promised myself I would start reading a novel by Amélie Nothomb today. But after seeing her interviewed on Youtube, I'm having second thoughts. Her book was selected this month for the Alliance Française book club, so I suppose I should buckle down and get to it.

And I need someone to please explain to me what the deal is with this Macron-comme-Jupiter thing. I don't get it.

Ok, I'll cut to the chase now.

If you would like to speak French for precisely 30 minutes and then switch to English for another 30, please send me a note.

A little work on grammar is ok, but not too much because I find it rather boring. I'm more interested easy, relaxed, open conversation about anything. But just for the record, I have zero interest in sports, hollywood or investing.

I'm easy to talk to. I don't care about mistakes. I used to be a teacher. I'm certain I could help you improve your English. And I could certainly use your help with my French.

Perhaps we'll talk.

In any case, Happy New Year


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Meine Lieblingsdeutschpraxis- My favourite German practice

12/17/2017 - 14:38 | ab.bas

Hallo Leute, ich bin Abdul Basith. Ich komme aus Tamil Nadu in Indien. Meine Muttersprache ist Tamile und lerne ich Deutsch sehr lange. 

I've been learning German for a long time and am quite familiar with the online sources for learning German. I would like to share my experience with fellow German learners. Like so many people out there, I started with Duolingo. It was so exciting to feel the fact I am learning German and can understand phrases. I was transcending the tree at a good pace. I started using a notebook and practiced some sentences. Though I felt learning German, I wasn't, which I realized at a later point of time. Because of the shifts in interests, there was a long gap in my German-learning. 

However, I started successfully again from scratch. Again the same Duolingo. I came to know of the German learning communities spread over the Internet. My first go was Facebook where I got to read posts by members of the group. It was quite a new feeling when I read people's experiences. It informed me of the other methods and sources of learning. 

Now, let me squarely come to the point. I planned to write this to let German learners know of one of the most beautiful and efficient way of learning German. It is the radio podcasts. There are so many podcasts out there. 'Deutsch warum nicht?' was the first of that sort I listened to. It was such a nice experience. Recently, I bombarded myself with Youtube videos by various channels like Easy German, smarter German, Learn German etc. They were good of course. But the feeling I got with 'DWN' is something different.

Learning through listening is more effective than videos. We use only our ears and give life to the characters in our own way. This is a crucial aspect of learning a language, I think. This imagination helps to grow stronger memories than lectures and videos. Especially, when there is a plot in the course it makes the process more interesting. One need to be cautious, not to expose too much of ourselves to content as they are available in complete. i.e. All the podcasts that were aired one by one in certain frequency are now available as a single package. So, we tend to consume them straight away till they are used up. We should remind ourselves that Language learning is not anything kind of race. It is a practice and its efficiency depends upon how we do?, how often we do?, how well we do? 

Now, few words about DWN. It revolves around a young man who is working part-time alongside studying. The plot goes like, What are the situations he face at his workplace? How he makes a living? and lot more stuff. So far, there's been four set of podcasts released. I have completed listening the first part twice and am feeling better than before. I wish to listen to the other parts from the series too. So, I ask you people here to try this if your schedule permits and share your thoughts. 

There is another wonderful source for learning German from DW- Nico's Weg. Do check out this. May be I'll write my thoughts on that. Vielen Dank. Tschüss..

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12/08/2017 - 11:32 | Ablert

My name is ji.I want to make friends with people who can speak English to improve my spoken English.Besides,I can teach you chinese.

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The magic around us

12/05/2017 - 23:47 | Gregory-light

It's all about magic.
In Russia, there is a holyday, that's celebrated every 23th of February. I's called Day of the Defender of the Fatherland. At this holiday women give gifts to men. Some years ago I was working as a network administrator in small Magadan company. And our women have gifted us teacups. They printed on it our names and our positions  in old-fantasy style. For example, the Director's cup was named "King", the driver's one - "Cabman". My cup was named "Wizard". This was the best compliment in my work:)

So then I thought, that it's not far away from the truth. The magic is around us, we don't mean our lifes without it.
The modern technologies is real magic.
Think about it: 
-You can talk to your friend from other side of the Earth just by pressing some buttons with telecommunication.
-You may light up your house, heat up your food with electricity.
-You can move over hundreds kilometers on your vehicle and all you need to know - what to press and how to drive. The other things are just happening by themselves, without you.

And there are magicians, sorcerers who know this magic. They studied it in universities, know it's laws. They use some magic instruments to make miracles happen. They build magic things, fix it when they broke up and make it do what it's needed to do. Engineers

There is also some magic energy, that is extracted in special places and/or from special materials. Without this energy there will be no magic. You need to power magic things up to make them work. Electricity

When you have two IP phones in different countries connected to the internet, they are just a bunch of plastic and metal. But power it up with electricity and find someone who can configure them and you will have miracle happen. A man from Russia can hear and talk to man in USA as he would be in the same room. 

If you try to think about it seriously, you may find out that almost everything around you is like magic. You have just got used to it. You consider it quite common, and simple. But the truth is that magic is around us and we cannot live without it for a very long time.

Thanks for reading.
Be well

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Free Language "Courses" MOOCs for Winter 2017-2018

12/01/2017 - 16:10 | bryantt


(image from Wikimedia.org)

This list is in response to a question for free language courses on the Mixxer site Facebook page.  When people ask about free courses, they're usually referring to MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses).  MOOCs are pretty amazing.  They are like traditional online courses in that they have quality content that is structured by a qualified instructor (often some of the best-known professors in the field).  In addition to the content, there are usually quizzes each week allowing you to do some self-assessment.  Finally, you are able to connect with other students interested in the same material.  If you get stuck, hopefully there's a way to get help via other members of the course.

That being said, MOOCs lack some qualities of a traditional course that are important, especially in the languages.  First and foremost, there is virtually no contact with the instructors.  They usually post videos that you can listen to, but you are unlikely to communicate with the instructor directly at all.  While there is hopefully some means of contact with other students, you will not have the frequent opportunity to practice communicating in the target that you would in a quality traditional course.  Second, while taking the course is free, receiving any kind of certification is not.  Even if you are willing to pay a fee, very few MOOCs lead to any kind of degree that would be recognized by an employer or an academic institution.

My suggestion is to treat MOOCs for that they, an excellent content resource for your learning.  If you're an active Mixxer user, hopefully you also have a language partner as well.  In addition to giving you an opportunity to practice communicating in the target language, your partner can also hopefully help with questions and other challenges you encounter in the course.  In regards to assessment and accreditation, language learners are also fortunate that there are well-recognized exams that can be taken to measure proficiency.  For English there is the TOEFL.  In the U.S., ACTFL provides exams in a number of foreign languages.  Elsewhere, there are organizations that provide an exam for a single such as the Cervantes Institue for Spanish, Goethe Institute for German, France's Ministry of Education for French, Confucius Institute for Chinese, the Japan Foundation for Japanese,  etc.  While these are not free, they're much cheaper than a degree and provide a way to certify your language skills that is broadly recognized.

Hopefully I haven't killed your enthusiasm.  If you're still game, the major players in MOOCs that I have had some experience with include:

Some other famous providers that I have not tried include:

With most of these courses, they will strongly encourage you to pay for the certification when you sign up.  Sometimes it's even hard to find the free version.  Choose the option to "audit" the course or be an "auditor" if you're looking for the free version.

These are the language courses I was able to find.  Keep in mind as well, though, any course in the target language will be helpful to language learning if you're interested in the topic.  It may seem daunting at first, but if you can read the content and follow the videos (even if slowly), you should give it a try.  I also listed the course start date when there is one, but since you're mostly interested in the content, I wouldn't let it deter you if the course is old.












Not quite a MOOC - content structured as a course, but is only content.  There are no quizzes or tools to interact with other students

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A safe base called " some other place "

11/29/2017 - 11:56 | Neem Saj


How has everyone been here at the Mixxer? I am glad to read more posts, but I would love to be able to chat to you foremost. That's why I am here - I want to know, is online exchange of languages, possible ?  It does feel strage to talk to someone that you do not know, and to plan around having conversations in second or even third languages. As long as we have a safe base, somewhere like this place, or other places in the internet, as long as they are " free"...

Mi experiencia aprendiendo Farsi o Inglés, fue siempre bastante solitaria, en el sentido de que cuando estudiaba no conocía a personas nativas con las cuales poder practicar tales idiomas. Por supuesto, siempre fue bastante senzillo encontrar a alguién con quién poder intercambiar algunas ideas básicas, algunos contenidos muy del día a día, o alguna canción molona. Pero, pronto se descubre que eso no desemboca al mar que los nativos navegan. Es tan complicado llegar a un nivel en el cual uno se siente que puede expresar libremente lo que piensa. 

That´s why I believe that one needs to sail away and land in a safe coast, before any learning can take place. 

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