Watching Movie Strategy (& Numbers)

Hello all,

  1. This post explores two specific resources in order to get the most out of them that perhaps something like a super high powered organized reader falls short. Specifically a watching video strategy and a numbers strategy. I feel like Du Chinese and Chairman’s Bao are a great platform to be your main focus outside classroom. But there are a couple more modalities/resources I think could supplement them well.

Number Strategy

I believe it is critical to hear numbers and immediately be able to recognize them like they are second nature. One app I feel does better than anything I’ve encountered is an app called “Foreign Numbers” by Jason Funk. Within a time frame that you set, a lot of either clock times OR 2 digit, 3 digit, 4 digit, etc. numbers are read back to you and you enter as many as you can using your phone. I like this too because theoretically you can slowly add digits and it becomes almost like dual n back training but in your target language (up to the point you become fluent :)).

Movie Strategy
The best thing I’ve heard so far is take a 90 second clip of a movie. Watch it in English subtitles, then, watch it in Chinese subtitles, then watch it without subtitles. One flexible service that comes to mind is the “Netflix language learning plugin.” I don’t know another resource with high quality control and subtitles


  1. How do you use movies to improve your language. Do you do a strategy similar to the one above? What kind of parameters do you set? I like the one above because the 90 second clip will provide the animation you need that Reader’s lack. And it’s a way to put it into a “Chunk” which you could perhaps space rep or do whatever you want with it. But it would definitively become more memorable that just reading and listening.

  2. Do you have a numbers strategy?

  3. Any video platform resource/ favorite video resource with a comparable user friendliness as Netflix language learning plugin? (User friendliness = intermediate friendliness) (I suppose as long as a pop up dictionary is compatible with it, )


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Thanks so much for these suggestions!

I tried the numbers app and it’s great. The phone numbers and numbers above 10,000 need the most practice.

I’d love to try the Netflix 90 sec idea. Do you mind saying how you get the plugin?

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No problem - it’s literally a website called “language learning with Netflix” and you just sign up. Then you do everything through their portal (it’s not really a plugin).

The numbers app is great. I really want to process numbers much faster than everything else so I can naturally extract numbers from passages without effort.

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Also any resources that has English AND Mandarin subtitles.
Even better would include pinyin (which netflix language learning I believe does),

I like even the idea of some classic shows with both English and Mandarin subtitles. And possibly even transcripts. That way you could easily convert transcripts to pinion for unknown characters.

Has anyone done something like this?

Regarding counting fast, I wrote a bit about that years ago, including some actual numbers (though I haven’t tried this recently, so I don’t know if it has changed):


I watch, it has a lot of series with Chinese subs. And my tv has a app for it so super easy. And it’s free. :smiley: :heart_eyes: :beers:


Does it have pinion subtitles? How would you deal with characters you don’t know quickly/efficiently? What are top 3 series from viki you would recommend for someone just getting into movies? Pretty nice you can toggle both english and Chinese subs seamlessly though

Thanks, I like the layout of this site.

Thanks - What kind of routine would you advocate?

  1. Count to 100 using odd numbers, then even numbers and time yourself to try and beat your time?
  2. And Do a random string of numbers and try to beat your previous times?
  3. If you were to set aside say 15 minutes everyday, how would you organize a drill that would help you achieve the most progress with numbers?

The most important point is that the number needs to be meaningful on its own, otherwise it becomes just a sequence of sounds. This becomes very obvious when teaching beginners, because they learn to count to ten very fast. But they still have think about how to say individual numbers!

Regarding a routine, I would try to incorporate counting in Chines into other activities. Count steps in staircases in Chinese. When that gets easy, count backwards. Skip one, two or three. And so on.

Apart from that, making practice more communicative is nice. In beginner classes, talking about phone numbers, dates and the like works well for basic numbers.

If you want to focus on bigger numbers, I gave some advice for speaking in the article, but listening is harder, as it needs contexts. I wouldn’t use a specific routine for that, but rather try to pay more attention when listening to Chinese in general, or deliberately try to listen to Chinese that is number-heavy (finance, maybe).


If I don’t know a character I just write it on my phone in translate. Right now I’m watching Sometimes it’s pretty funny, and the dialogue isn’t that complicated.


There is a Chrome Extension with the exact same name: “Language Learning with Netflix”. In Chrome, click the three vertically stacked dots in the circle in the upper right of the browser window. From the drop down menu select “more tools” and then “extensions.” The search box at the top of the page should take you there if you type the name of the extension and installing it should be a snap. It works smoothly. I like how it gives me larger subtitles which are easier to read. I haven’t used all the bells and whistles for drilling down into words that much, but it is impressive. I used it most recently while watching “The Legend of Bruce Lee.”

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Thanks - looks really good!

The same team has a Chrome extension for “Language Learning with YouTube” for any that might be interested.


Thanks - this is a very helpful suggestion. I heard a lot of content is on youtube. I had just subscribed to “tencent video” - I don’t know how much the youtube videos are compatible with these ones - but I was surprised to see how organized and complete some of their playlists are.

This helps make watching videos earlier on in HSK level even more accessible. Hopefully, I can come up with a good system.

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