How ‘Friends’ Helps People Around the World Learn English

“Friends” could have endured as a educating device partially as a result of the web has made it accessible to new generations of followers. YouTube, particularly, permits nonnative audio system to observe clips with out having to, say, purchase pirated DVDs below a bridge, as Ms. Ouyang did in China 12 years in the past.

Another purpose, mentioned Ángela Larrea Espinar, a professor in the division of English research at the University of Córdoba in Spain, is that individuals who educate overseas languages have progressively shifted over the final twenty years from a “communicative” method that emphasizes grammar to 1 that encourages cross-cultural understanding and reflection.

“Culture is a difficult thing to teach, and if you rely on textbooks what you get is stereotypes,” she mentioned.

To keep away from the textbook lure, Ms. Konus, the English instructor in California, constructed lesson plans round the sitcom’s 1994 pilot episode. In addition to the query about whether or not Monica, performed by Courteney Cox, was invited to Rachel’s wedding ceremony (reply: false), there are workouts that ask college students to investigate scenes, idioms and character motivations.

Why, for instance, does Rachel breathe right into a paper bag? And what does Monica imply when she tells Joey Tribbiani, performed by Matt LeBlanc, to “stop hitting on” her buddy? (Answers: “She is scared of her decision about living on her own” and, “to try to start a conversation with someone that you are interested in.”)

Ms. Konus mentioned that her college students — who’re from Brazil, China, Colombia, Japan, South Korea and Turkey — typically like the “Friends” classes and find yourself binge-watching the present on their very own. They additionally slip strains from it into dialog, together with Joey’s signature “How you doin’?” greeting, and mimic the depressive approach during which David Schwimmer’s character, Ross Geller, says “Hi.”

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