Let me teach you the powerful (and fun) technique I use with my students so they can stop translating in their head and THINK in English!
Today we’re taking scenes from TV and we’re using them to practice our English. You can train your mind to think in English so you can recall the words faster and stop translating in your head, so let’s do this.
First we’ll take a scene from Sex and the City. The scene is on mute because it’s not about watching the clip for fun, and the audio can be distracting. It’s about describing the clip in English. So as you watch it, you’ll be thinking in English.
First, you’re going to see 10 seconds of a clip. Think the word in English for the nouns that you see. If you see a plate, think ‘plate’. You’re just naming objects. We’re going to watch this scene later with a different focus, but this is just objects. Here we go.
There are so many things you could have thought. Let’s go over some of them. At the very beginning, maybe you thought
This is called a sugar caddy, did you know that?
I always ask for the sugar caddy when I order tea or coffee at a restaurant.
Or maybe the first thought you had was the location, a diner.
Or you thought, women, characters, server.
As the scene continued, maybe you thought jacket,
I see eggs,
Okay, let’s take a look again, and this time think adjectives, words to describe what you see, like colors.
In this first scene, I think ‘busy’,
I can’t help but notice the orange of Miranda’s hair and shirt, and the teal color of her other shirt.
maybe you thought open to describe the collar.
It’s kind of hard to tell what exactly she is feeling on mute, but we definitely know she isn’t happy!
We’re going over a lot of words here, and if your brain is moving more slowly, coming up with just one or two words, that’s not a problem. The thing we want to do is, recall the word in English without first thinking in your own native language. Even if you’re just thinking of one or two words without first translating, that’s building the skill we want. Now we’ll look at the scene, and I want you to think of verbs. What can you think of to describe the action that you’re seeing?
In the wide shot, I think eating, drinking,
Carrie is unfolding a napkin.
Miranda is looking,
the server is passing the plate in front of her face.
She’s placing the plate in front of Samantha, who is smiling.
The server has to lean over to do that, or reach.
Charlotte is frowning, she’s supporting her chin with her hands.
Lots of words and I’m sure some of you came up with totally different words. After you watch this video, try this yourself with a show you like. Go and watch a few seconds on mute. Pause it, go through all the words you know that could describe the scene. Try a couple times a day to just look around you and think in English describing what you see. It will help you not only think in English, but discover words you need to learn. Let’s do another scene. First, just think of all the objects you see. This is from the show Succession.
There is a lot going on here.
or maybe you thought ‘sofas’.
Now we’ve got a closer view.
Maybe you thought ‘old man’ or ‘white hair’.
Or maybe you know this show and you thought Logan Roy.
Let’s go through now and think of a couple of adjectives.
These big windows make me think light and airy.
The word luxury also comes to mind.
These people are Serious, formal. Things look expensive.
Brown, for the couches.
Here I’m thinking, serious.
Blurry, for the background.
What about verbs?
Making eye contact.
A smirk is when you smile in sort of a conceited way thinking you’re better or you’ve got the upper hand.
Let’s do two more scenes. Again, to start, just think of objects you see. This is from the show ‘Hard Knocks’.
Obviously, this is an American football practice.
It’s probably fake grass, also known as Astro turf.
Let’s come up with some adjectives now.
The colors really pop out at me: red,
This conversation, they’re laughing.
So, I’m thinking, happy, friendly.
Now, verbs, actions. How can you describe any of the movement?
or maybe you thought ‘showing’,
he’s showing them what to do.
Maybe you thought moving.
Let’s do one last scene.
Try to note all the objects in English in your head. This is from the show White Lotus.
or maybe you thought lounge or lounge chair or chaise.
Now, colors and other adjectives that describe what you see.
Open, the books are open.
their knees are both bent, not straight. Relaxed.
The sky looks kind of overcast, doesn’t it?
And now, let’s think of some verbs.
holding the books,
If a word comes to mind that you don’t know in English as you’re doing these exercises, take the time to stop and look those words up. It’s a great way to learn new words because you’ll have a visual to go with it.
Check out all my videos designed to help you think in English. They give you the tools and the training to increase your vocabulary and start thinking more in English. And please do subscribe with notifications. I love being your English teacher. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.