There are many ways to improve your French, and one favoured by many is to switch on the subtitles while you’re watching TV. Not only will this give you a better idea of what’s going on, it should also help understand the phonetics of the language a little better (provided you have the volume up); all the while improving your vocabulary too.
Unfortunately for us – the electric gold-fish bowl in our living room, although SECAM compatible, does not stretch to the ultra-modern functionalities of teletext and subtitles. So we have had to look elsewhere to try out this method of language learning.
Now, call me naÃ¯ve but I had assumed that the DVD (or Digital Versatile Disk if you will) was invented for just such an eventuality. However, it seems that even if a disk is chock-a-block with all sorts of language options, that doesn’t mean it has French as one of those options.
For example, Gattaca can be listened to in English or German; with subtitles in English, German, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Icelandic, Hindi, Hebrew, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Greek and Norwegian … but not French.
One supposes that this is because the distributors know a cash cow when they see one, and so release a French version seperately – presumably at an inflated price.
But there do appear to be some exceptions: now that our DVD collection is divided along the lines of language, it is noticeable that if you want it French – then it can only be a Chick-flick or a Horror movie!?
So what shall we watch tonight darling? Four weddings and a funeral or James Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’?