Get inspired!

TED is an incredible organization that brings some of the most intelligent and passionate people in the world together to give lectures and inspire the rest of us with their ideas.  They also have subtitles in many languages and an excellent interactive transcript tool for every video.  For a taste of the amazing minds who participate in TED lectures, watch neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran talk about some very unusual things he has discovered while studying the brain, or watch Michael Pritchard explain his invention: a handheld device that can turn contaminated water into safe clean drinking water, something desperately needed by millions of people every single day.  There are hundreds of videos on this site, all with transcripts and each one showing a different genius at work.

Watch your DVDs again

Practicing English by watching films is good for improving your stamina, but there are other things you can do as well.  Take a film that you know very well from watching it in your mother tongue.  Now watch this movie in English (with English subtitles if you like) and you will learn all kinds of language because you know what they will say so you can pay attention to how they say it.

When you’re watching a film for the first time, after a conversation you understand that he’s mad at her, she wants a divorce, there’s not enough money… the basics.  When you watch a film that you know, you know what will happen–he’s going to tell his mother-in-law that he hates her and then she’s going to tell him that she’s going to ruin his life (I’m afraid I’m not very good at writing movie scripts)–so you can really pay attention to how he tells his mother-in-law that he hates her and how she says she will ruin his life.  You’ll be able to remember much more vocabulary this way and learn lots of new and exciting ways to express yourself!

Watch the news in English

The news is another situation where you usually know some of the context.  Just by looking at a few pictures, you can usually guess what the story is, so it’s easy to listen and connect what you hear with what you already know.  Euronews provides a transcript with each video in their “OUR LATEST VIDEO NEWS” section so you can listen first and then read if you’d like.


The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has some fantastic resources online:  Catalyst is a 10 minute documentary programme with transcripts, and Foreign Correspondent is a 30 minute news documentary programme with transcripts.  Both shows have a short introduction before the transcript begins.

Short films from the United Nations

The United Nations has short videos with transcripts on their UN in Action site.