These Netflix shows are helping children learn a second language

Over 77% of language learners agree that tuning into non-native films or TV can help them learn additional languages, according to research by Preply

Brits are not so great at second language learning compared to their global peers. Unfortunately, languages are much less integral to the UK’s school curriculum than they are in other countries, with the disciplines suffering a significant lack of focus and “totally inadequate” funding from the government.

Putting this into perspective, research by the British Council showed that only 38% of Brits can speak a second language, compared to the European average of 56%. The Council even deemed the British population as the “worst” at language learning.

That said, it’s well-known that kids are far better at learning language than adults, largely due to having more time to dedicate towards mastery, as well as having less to learn, holding fewer inhibitions, and having a ‘sponge’-like brain that’s conducive to knowledge acquisition.

According to the critical period hypothesis, children are more adept at learning language because they’re still developing. The brain elasticity and rapid neural formation mean that babies and young children are able pick up languages at a faster rate. This is what’s referred to as the ‘critical period’.

There are many reasons to invest in learning an additional language; for example, a recent study revealed that fluency in more than one language can boost income by 15%, also opening brand-new avenues of opportunity in both personal lives and careers.

“Children who speak more than one language are better at problem-solving, critical thinking and improved memory” – Daniele Saccardi, Preply

With on-demand streaming services increasing access to international film and TV all over the world, tuning into video content in a non-native tongue can be a really great way for kids to pick up a new language. In fact, in a survey conducted by online learning platform Preply, more than 77% of respondents agreed that watching foreign language films and TV benefits the process of language learning.

Using data gathered from the streaming platform Netflix, Preply sought to uncover which TV shows have be translated most. Shows include Peppa Pig, which has been translated into five languages; and Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, which, again, has been translated into five languages.

Netflix TV Show

Languages Available

Pocoyo

5 (Portuguese, English, Spanish, French, Italian)

Little Baby Bum: Nursery Rhyme Friends

5 (Portugues, English, Spanish, French, German)

Tayo the Little Bus

5 (English, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Turkish)

Peter Rabbit

5 (English, French, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese)

Peppa Pig

5 (Cantonese, English, French, Mandarin, Polish)

Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom

5 (Arabic, English, French, Polish, Portuguese)

Alvin and the Chipmunks

5 (Arabic, English, French, Polish, Portuguese)

My Little Pony: A New Generation

5 (Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Polish)

Shark Dog

5 (Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Polish)

Spirit Riding Free

5 (Arabic, Cantonese, English, French, Polish)

Spongebob Square Pants

5 (Arabic, Cantonese, English, French, Polish)

Thomas and Friends

4 (Portuguese, English, Italian, Spanish)

Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse

4 (English, French, Hindi, Polish)

PAW Patrol

4 (Arabic, English, French, Polish)

Octonauts

3 (English, French, Polish)

Source: Preply

Some TV shows can even help young children learn to read in another language, with Preply’s study also identifying the shows that offer subtitles in different languages.

Netflix TV Show

Subtitles Languages Available

Tayo the Little Bus

5 (English, Korean, Cantonese, Spanish, Turkish)

My Little Pony: A New Generation

5 (Arabic, English, French, Polish, Traditional Chinese)

Spirit Riding Free

5 (Arabic, Cantonese, English, French, Polish)

Little Baby Bum: Nursery Rhyme Friends

4 (Portuguese, English, Spanish, German)

Thomas and Friends

4 (Portuguese, English, Italian, Spanish)

Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse

4 (English, French, Hindi, Polish)

Alvin and the Chipmunks

3 (English, Romanian, Turkish)

Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom

2 (English, Romanian)

Source: Preply

The study follows news that the government is planning to fund a £4m initiative to support language learning in schools. The Latin Excellence Programme, for example, aims to help students with learning French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

The next phase of the government’s language programme includes a £16.4m Mandarin Excellence Programme, and a £4.8m Modern Languages pilot.

Preply’s Daniele Saccardi told ET, “There are many benefits towards learning another language, especially for young children. Children who speak more than one language are better at problem-solving, critical thinking and improved memory.

“Watching TV shows in a foreign language is a great way for children to learn a second language, as they associate the pictures on the screen with vocabulary, making it easier for them to learn simple words and phrases.”


In other news: Sport England launches free video platform to drive PE participation among teen girls


 

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