Learn English with Star Wars

Last week, I took my son to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He loved it, and so did I. My son and I are not alone; people all around the world love Star Wars. If you’re one of Star Wars’ many international fans, you can use your love of this film series to improve your English. (As I’ve mentioned before, language study is most effective when you can combine it with your interests.)

Here are some fun ways to study ESL with one of the world’s most beloved English language movie series:


Listen for famous lines in the movies

One fun thing about the Star Wars movies is that certain lines of dialogue are repeated in different movies. For instance, the lines “I have a bad feeling about this” and “It’s a trap!” are said in almost every Star Wars film.

Aside from listening for repeated lines, you can also listen for quotes from the many lists of cool lines from Star Wars that can be found online. I especially recommend this list from the Thought Catalog website. I love their list not only because it has a ton of my favorite lines, but also because many of the lines are short—so listening for them is a good challenge for Star Wars loving English learners.


Use ESL resources that focus on Star Wars

Many ESL websites have Star Wars themed lessons. The BBC’s Learning English website has a lesson about the premiere of the newest Star Wars movie. Fluent U gives a summary of the Star Wars series in its guide to learning English through movies. Elllo has a listening activity based on a short conversation about the Star Wars episodes 4, 5 and 6. And Engvid has a full 20-minute lesson on this popular series.

There are even some Star Wars ESL resources for specific groups of language speakers. Saber Inglés offers a Star Wars English lesson for native Spanish speakers. And there’s a Star Wars themed English-Japanese dictionary for ESL students from Japan.


Participate in English-language Star Wars fandom

If you’re not sure what fandom means, don’t feel bad. “Fandom” is a pretty new word in the English language. In recent years, it’s become a popular term for communities of fans—people who love a certain move, book, video game, TV show, etc… The community of Star Wars fans is HUGE. Star Wars fandom offers tons of websites, videos, and online message boards for people who love these movies.

You can easily search for Star Wars fan videos on video sharing sites such as YouTube and Daily Motion. Videos include reviews of the movies and discussions about the series. Some of these video discussions actively encourage people to post comments and response videos. This gives English learners chance to practice writing and speaking English in their responses. For an example of a video that invites response, check out Trae Dorn’s latest Star Wars video discussion on the Nerd and Tie website.

And of course there are quite a few online forums where you can write Star Wars articles or post about Star wars, sites like Wookiepedia, the Jedi Council Forums, and the official Star Wars fan page.


The takeaway

With its simple dialogue, straightforward plots, and extremely famous characters, Star Wars provides an understandable and enjoyable context for English study–including TOEFL Listening prep. Through various websites and online communities, you can use these movies as a medium to practice reading, writing, listening, and even speaking.

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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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