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Learning Bangla – Movie Scripts

During this quarter, we have been using the script for the film Agantuk (“The Stranger”) for practicing the six skills – listening, speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary building and grammar. Below is a brief description of the process with some commentary.

First, watch the entire film without subtitles and without the script. It does not matter if you do not understand anything. It helps to listen to Bangla at real speed while listening for words or phrases you can understand and to get a basic sense of the story from the images before trying to read the script.

Then, silently read a chapter of the script. Identify vocabulary words that you do not know, and identify sentences with grammar you do not understand. It does not matter if you understand the story or can read the material. However, if you are finding that more than half of the vocabulary is unknown and you have many grammar questions, then you should look for easier material or continue with the understanding that it going to be more difficult in the beginning for you.

After that, look up the words you do not know in a Bangla dictionary and make vocabulary cards. Learn the vocabulary.

Get clarification of the grammatical points you do not understand either by looking them up or by asking about them in class or during office hours.

Then, try silently re-reading the chapter. Again, look for grammar points you might have missed the first time through and any additional vocabulary. It should be much easier this time. Learn any additional grammar points or vocabulary words you discover.

Once you know the vocabulary, then return to the film with script in hand. Play small segments of the film and alternate between (1) listening and repeating, trying to mimic the pronunciation of the speaker in the film, and (2) reading the dialogue aloud first from the script and then checking your pronunciation against the pronunciation of speakers in the film.

If there are sections that are not as useful to practice – such as reading of letters, monologues, extensive English, and so forth, then skip them. It may also be easier to do this on a computer.

Once one chapter is complete, move to next chapter and repeat the process.

This technique helps with every aspect of learning Bangla, except for original writing composition in Bangla—which you should find a way to include. This approach is working for me. However, your mileage may vary. If you have tried other things and found something that works for you, please mention it in the comments.

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