Entertainment for Education

By Emiko  Akama-Garren

Los Angeles is the center of the entertainment industry. The media that is produced here largely affects and creates the trends in American pop culture. Television and film are a universal social activity that brings people together. TV is such a mainstream form of entertainment that there is a show available for everyone’s liking.

Some people learn languages and accents just from watching English shows. The conversations on the shows can help explain social norms and give a better understanding of behavior. Constantly hearing the language not only can help with grammar and overall proficiency, but also pronunciation. It is an easy way to hear and help form more of an American accent.

American TV not only helps improve language development but also showcases American culture and current pop culture trends. Each show’s plot will include different scenarios and show how or what the typical way of reacting in those situations are. They can also portray the general standards and behaviors in America. For example, it is very common for shows to have an annual holiday special that show typical customs and common traditions. Shows will also include slang and common phrases that are not taught when learning traditional grammar.

Sitcoms, aka situational comedies, are some of the best shows to watch when working on everyday conversational language practice. They are usually light hearted, easy to follow, and include relevant topics to the time. They follow a group of people episode to episode, so you’re able to become familiar with each character and their personalities. The repetition and easy to follow plot helps advance your familiarity with English by giving lots of context and multiple different scenarios for everyday vocabulary.

Some of the most popular shows include:

  • Friends
  • Modern Family
  • Sex and the City
  • The Office
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Big Bang Theory

All of these shows use everyday and relatively basic vocabulary to have normal day to day conversations. The list above also caters to multiple different types of humor so there is a range of audiences. The shows are also available on different television providers (Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go) that provide English subtitles as an option in case the pronunciation is not familiar or the speed is too fast.

Celebrities are notorious for using television as a language or pronunciation coach, but I personally also have friends who have become fluent with the help of television series. Watching American TV shows and movies can really aid in and help with the process of learning English as well as adapting to American culture. So next time you are on Netflix (perhaps during the upcoming Thanksgiving break), don’t feel bad about binge watching the latest season of an American series and immersing yourself in English.

Emiko is a recent graduate from the Real Estate Development and Business Administration at the Sol Price School of Public Policy and Marshall School of Business. She was born and raised in the Bay Area, California up until high school, when she moved to Switzerland and then France. Emiko lived in Switzerland and Germany all throughout high school and then studied abroad her first year of university in Paris. While living abroad, she was involved with Model United Nations and was a figure skating coach for international students and local students looking to work on their English.