Learning Languages With Netflix

Learning to speak a foriegn language is a challenging and rewarding experience, and technology has brought us a lot of new tools to help us learn. With the growth of streaming services that bring content from around the world into our homes, the question is now often asked: “Is learning languages with Netflix possible?” It is true that television has long been used to help add to the immersion element of learning, so naturally we should look at the added value these services add to the experience.

how to learn a language with Netflix

In this article we are going to look at some of the ways to maximize your learning experience as you learn another language while watching Netflix or other streaming services.

Education Through Entertainment 

We learn best when we are engaged in the material and if something is entertaining us, we are more engaged with it. When it comes to language, we used to have to seek out content from other countries by buying tapes or DVD’s with a limited option to choose from. The streaming revolution has brought us a new world of possibilities though, and it is now possible to learn another language while watching Netflix. While other streaming providers have great content too, Netflix specifically has added a vast library of options in various languages and subtitle options. This makes it easier for you to find something that will entertain you and keep your attention as you learn.

Television Can Provide Context To Your Lessons

When learning a language, we often end up focusing on the mechanics and phrases that are in our lessons. While effective for achieving the basics, true fluency requires knowing the context of how the words are used and why. By watching a TV show or movie, we can see how these words and phrases are used in everyday conversation as well as the responses to them. We can see the flow of a conversation from start to finish which helps to develop a more natural tone. 

This kind of content can also teach us a lot about the culture the language is connected to. Cultural context is important in reaching true fluency in a language. Getting a taste of the culture from which a language originates will provide insight into their beliefs and values, letting you see how those factors affect the language and its use. Soaking in the culture of the language will help you to understand it on a deeper level.

Can You Learn A Language From Only Watching Movies Or Television?

A short answer to the question at hand is yes, but the full answer is more complex. While it is possible for some people to be able to learn in this fashion, especially younger learners, for most it serves best to compliment an existing language learning program. Having some knowledge of the language means you can identify some of the words and phrases already, and you will be able to pick up on what is being said and how it relates to the subtitled words easier. So while you should not rely only on using Netflix and streaming content to learn, it has a place in a well rounded learning approach. 

learning languages with Netflix is easy

How To Watch Netflix In Other Languages

Watching Netflix in other languages is simple. The first option would be to watch something from the vast library of international content that they offer. The other would be to choose a show or movie that is in your native language and then choose one of the alternative audio or subtitle options that are offered. The exact process will vary based on the app platform you are using (Roku, computer, cell phone, tablet, etc.), but can be simply explained as going to the “Audio / Subtitles” option and just picking which options you want from the ones that are offered. 

How To Learn A Language With Netflix

We have established the benefits of learning a language by watching Netflix or other streaming services, now let’s look at how to get the most out of your experience. Just sitting down and watching a program is not going to yield the same quality results as taking a studious approach to how you engage with content. There is a wide variety of shows and movies at your disposal, so you can craft your own curriculum that will allow you to maximize both your results and your enjoyment. 

1. Using Your Existing Knowledge

One method for learning languages with Netflix is to jump in slowly by taking a show you know and using the options provided to experience it in a new way. You can switch the language to one of the alternate options and hear the conversations that you already know from the English version. English audio with subtitles in another language is another way to dip your toes in as well. 

2. Engage Content In Stages

Language learning with Netflix is made easier by the variety of content made available on the platform. Different types of programs need different levels of understanding to engage with. Starting with simpler content and then moving to more advanced ones will help you develop a better understanding. 

  • Kids Shows – Shows that are geared towards a younger audience use simpler language. Children are still developing their language skills, as are you, so by taking in content for younger audiences you can experience the language in those early learning stages. Educational shows are also a plus because they usually use a combination of words and images and are easy to understand.
  • Comedy – Sitcoms and other light comedies are usually designed to be accessible to the largest audience possible. They take advantage of simple language mixed with physical humor and big gestures, which all help in making the show more understandable. Some adult geared cartoons also fall into this category. 
  • Action / Procedurals – These kinds of shows use more a little more complex language, but are usually easy to follow along with. Many of the ones watched in America have counterparts in other countries, and they follow a familiar formula. Action movies also are usually more simple in construction and dialogue, and they use engaging visuals to keep you interested.
  • Drama / Complex Comedies – This type of content usually is the most complex. They use puns, double entendre, slang, and are very dialogue heavy. These are great for developing a more advanced understanding of a language. 

These categories give you a basic idea of what content will help you learn best, and how to effectively craft a plan for learning. You can even set goals based on wanting to be able to watch a program of a higher level with as little use of subtitles as possible.

3. Making The Most Of Your Time

People have different needs when it comes to learning, and so everyone needs to take their own approach to the amount of time they spend learning languages with Netflix. That said, there are two different approaches that can both be utilized to get the most out of your time.

  • All At Once This is the basic sit down and watch an entire movie or show in one sitting approach. One thing to remember when doing this is that learning is not a passive experience. You have to keep engaged and not “zone out” while watching so you can pay attention to the dialogue and subtitles, process, and understand.
  • Segmented – In this style, you watch in short bursts. You watch a segment of the show, and take your time processing what was said. Maybe watch a movie then come back and repeatedly rewatch some short segments that caught your attention. Splitting things into smaller segments allows you to focus on particular vocabulary or conversations that you want to focus on. You can even keep repeating it till you no longer need subtitles.

You might find one approach works best for you, or a mixture of them based on your goals. The important thing is that you stay focused on your goal of learning the language while making the most of your time, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself too. 

Combining Netflix With Encore!!!

Technology has made learning a lot easier, with a variety of apps and tools at our disposal we can craft an amazing learning experience for ourselves. If you are going to learn another language while watching Netflix, it makes sense to pair it with another app that will let you get the biggest benefit.

Encore!!! not only is a great language learning tool on its own, with immersive learning programs that you can use anywhere, but it also synergizes well with Netflix and other foriegn language content well too! Say you find a piece of dialogue that you find you want to focus on, you can record it into the app’s My Entries feature as part of your learning program. This lets you pick up on shorthands and slang that native speakers use and work them into your personal curriculum.

learn foreign languages with My Entries feature in Encore


Learning languages with Netflix and other streaming platforms is possible, especially when used to supplement a well rounded curriculum. There is a vast library of programming available in a variety of languages thanks to their many international offerings, giving you lots of options to choose from. You can even use programs you know that have been dubbed into other languages. Taking a studious approach to what you watch and how you engage with it will let you learn more. 

Combining an app like Encore!!! alongside learning a language with Netflix will give you a well rounded experience. You can learn with the app and supplement that education with streaming content for an even more immersive experience. Adding phrases and dialogue from movies, shows, and language learning podcasts into the app will let you focus on those segments and pick up on how to speak in a more natural way.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is language learning with Netflix free?

Netflix itself has a subscription fee to access its content. However, there is no additional fee to learn a language with it or any other streaming service.

2. How does language learning with Netflix work?

Language learning using Netflix can be done by watching shows in other languages and using the subtitles to help you understand. You can do this while watching an entire program, or by using small segments to focus on specific dialogue.

3. How do I change the content language on Netflix?

You can change the content language on Netflix by going to the options and going to the “audio / subtitles” section. From there, you can pick a spoken language as well as the subtitle language you wish to use.

4. Can you learn a language just by watching TV?

Some people, especially younger learners, are able to learn a language by just watching TV. However, it is best seen as a compliment to a language learning program such as the ones offered on the Encore!!! app.

Download Encore!!! and elevate your language learning to the next level

*The Android version is in the beta test mode - it is free for all the languages. Being in beta mode the version is still being worked on and may not work with all Android devices.