YOU: Dani, is this another plug for watching K-dramas?! ME: Umm yes? This isn’t ONLY about K-dramas though… watching subtitles is a USEFUL SKILL that can also be applied to anime and foreign films!
Or How Reading Subtitles is like Driving a Car…
Many people don’t watch foreign films, NOT because they aren’t good movies but because they are too bothered to try to read subtitles!
This is a travesty! And it’s very easy to apply all those reasons to K-dramas too…
The fact is that reading subtitles is something you LEARN to do and it’s one of the EASIEST skills you can acquire…
and it can become as important as driving a car! #kiddingNOTkidding
It’s too HARD to read subtitles AND watch!
While it is true you are reading AND watching at the same time… it IS NOT stressing your brain to do two things at once! In fact we all multi-task everyday and the brain is VERY used to doing so. Just as we can process where to turn and when to stop when driving home we can also watch the other drivers and keep from hitting them (for the most part!)
Truth! Your brain does need time to get used to reading and taking in what is happening. So the first time you watch an episode will be a little like the first time you drove. You’ll feel a little anxious, not because its hard but because its NEW! The second episode will be easier and by the end of the 16 episode series you’ll be totally comfortable!
Because you’re reading you miss too much!
Due to reading subtitles being a NEW skill to you, it won’t be comfortable to do at first. Because of this you feel like you may be missing things, like there isn’t enough time to take in expressions, movements PLUS read the dialogue! When we drive we may notice a dog watering a bush but it isn’t important, it’s okay to miss even though it is within our view.
Truth! Subtitles for K-dramas are especially easy to read as they are on the screen for plenty of time… even slow readers won’t have trouble. They are on the screen for so long as it gives you enough time to also take in expressions and movements. I’ve watched MANY shows and I’ve only had trouble during 1 or 2 shows with the speed of the subtitles.
Anything with subtitles is TOO foreign…
Well this one is true to a point. (You didn’t expect me to say that did you?!) It is true that we don’t generally watch American TV with the closed captioning on so ANYTHING you watch with subtitles is bound to be different than the typical fare. In the same manner that some drive Hondas or Hyundais and some drive Fords or Chryslers foreign TV has many commonalities too! A car is a car after all.
Truth! You are experiencing another culture so there will be differences in the way the people live their lives, but their will also be many things you can relate to! And in fact you will find there are many themes that Asians still prize that are missing from American television. Plus it’s FUN! Yes… you’ll find there are some words you start to pick up and stars that you fall for!
You know EXACTLY what was said!
When we read a book we get this sense of being inside a character. You know their thoughts and you don’t have to guess or intuit. When we listen like with a television show there is A LOT that we miss. When you need to read subtitles you’ve had contact with EVERYTHING! Driving Mariokart is NOT the same thing as driving a real car… while both may be enjoyable its hard to pass on the real thing.
Truth! You no longer can multi-task blogging or book reading while you watch a K-drama because frankly you’re already multi-tasking, but when you do watch you feel the same emotional punch as when you read a book!
You’re MORE engaged with the story!
A back seat driver may FEEL like they are driving and may try to tell you what to do but they aren’t the one with 2,000 pound weapon in the palm of their hands. As you read subtitles you connect to the emotions behind the words. Much like reading a book you get sucked into the story. You connect to the characters and what is happening to them! Since there is still sound you reap the benefit of tone and intonation, it’s the best of both the visual and word filled worlds. In a way you feel like you BECOME the characters!
Truth! You CAN’T be passive reading subtitles like you can watching American TV. Yeah, it’s easy to get bored when you’re absentmindedly listening to what is playing on your screen. You don’t even have to look up, you can move around the room and even leave for a minute or two and not feel like you missed a thing. In truth you’re slowly slipping away from caring about watching more…
Subtitle addiction is a real thing!
As you learn this wonderfully easy and fun skill it quickly becomes natural to read subtitles. Just as you started reading picture books, then chapter books, then 300 page books and now you read 500 page YA books without blinking an eye reading subtitles will develop the same way! You’ll more easily pick up on what is happening and read the subtext in events. Just like how driving is a part of you… a skill you CAN’T live without reading subtitles will improve your daily life!
Truth! Now when I watch American TV (crime dramas!) I watch with closed captioning on. I miss the concrete knowledge of what is being said, my eyes feel odd not having more than one thing to do and it helps me focus my wandering attention. It’s the best feeling when something you thought you’d NEVER be able to do has become something you couldn’t live without!
Have you watched Foreign Films with subtitles? Do you avoid subtitles?
Did I dispel any of your myths about subtitles? Do you have a concern I didn’t mention?
Is reading subtitles similar to driving a car or being a bookworm?