Learning English With “Friends”: Features and Pitfalls
Cult English series are a great way to improve your English and have a great time. One of the most famous Friends series. It tells about the life, love, and adventures of six inseparable friends. The original title looks like F.R.I.E.N.D.S., where each letter is the first letter of the character's name.
Friends in English is a whole encyclopedia of dialogue. The show raises a large number of topics and issues, from the most mundane (laundry and shopping) to global issues of friendship, love, and relationships between friends. Believe us, it is pleasant and useful to watch this series in English. After watching it, you probably won't pay for essay in English anymore.
Let's take a look at the pros and cons and decide if you should choose this series to improve your English.
The advantages of learning English with the TV series “Friends”
So, the series is about six friends who get weird together, banter with each other, try to achieve something, and somehow progress in a variety of aspects of life, including work, self-development, romantic and friendship relationships, family, and fighting bad habits. This all leads me to point one:
1. Realism. "Friends" shows both the good and the bad, from an unexpected dismissal to a spontaneous crush on a friend's girlfriend. This means that a huge amount of vocabulary from there can, without hesitation, be immediately transferred to everyday realities.
This is, of course, not counting the accent. It's no secret that in English, as in other languages, pronunciation will depend on the area in which one lives. Therefore:
2. Thanks to "Friends", you can train your listening to understand the pronunciation of different people. After all, the show not only features a difference in timbres and a whispering guy, but also a girl from London with a distinctly British accent, and even a longtime "friend" Monica and Phoebe, who eventually acquired a "fake British accent".
What about annoying constructions that change meaning or usage depending on the context? Or with prepositions that can be classified in a million different ways? Think of all those cases where you can explain the general rules, but in reality, there are 1000 and 1 exceptions to each! Word order in a sentence, there is/are, phrasal verbs, prepositions...
3. The ability to hear and recognize in the speech of speakers all the incomprehensible things that in context somehow miraculously become understandable. At the same time, other phrases and words, which must simply be memorized, because logic cannot live there, sound so frequent, clear, and pure, that they are imprinted in the brain of the beholder once and for all. In the right way, please note.
4. The show very clearly shows the characters' way of thinking, especially when it comes to jokes (oh, Chandler!). Yes, the large number of jokes is a sign of not only good work by the writers but also a high level of intelligence. Plus, in real life, the hosts often make jokes in similar ways. In what way? We won't tell you, go watch “Friends”!
“But how can we understand the way these people think if we know nothing about their culture and traditions?"
5. Numerous holidays, work etiquette, "small talk," the traditions of specific families, and corporate ethics are all depicted in the show and more. All one has to do is pay attention and mentally try these conditions on oneself, just in case life takes a tailwind to America.
And to be fair, let us now consider the arguments against it.
The disadvantages of learning a language with “Friends”
Let's start with the fact that to watch the show, you need to have certain skills. Without knowing at least some grammar rules and not having at least some vocabulary, you can watch it except with subtitles in your native language. And from experience, subtitles are often made up and translated very far from what is actually happening. Therefore:
1. The "Friends" series is not suitable for learning English at the most elementary level. We won't say that it is impossible, but it is so difficult that you quickly get a feeling of helplessness, which is usually followed by a desperate "that's it, I'm quitting, English is not for me" on the heels of it.
The series ran from 1994 to 2004. As of this writing, it is 2022. Of course, much has changed in the spoken language, some words and phrases have gone out of use, while others have rushed into it. Language is a living creature, regularly growing and evolving, and therefore:
2. Some of the words and expressions used in the show are indeed obsolete and are no longer used. They can still be found, but the frequency of their use has definitely decreased considerably compared to what it was ⁓16 years ago.
And, of course, you don't have a professional interpreter or tutor by your side while you're watching, which means you have to stop, rewind, write out/hear the word, find a translation, or better yet, several... And what if there's a whole phrase?!
3. Watching TV shows for the purpose of learning English involves tons of independent work, which can be sad and disorienting.
So, to summarize, let's list the main reasons why "Friends" is the best series for learning English:
In general, there are more advantages than disadvantages, so you can safely choose "Friends" for learning English.