Watching DVD films with foreign subtitles playing alongside an English soundtrack is now the most popular way to learn a second language amongst British adults.
Of those questioned recently at Manchester Airport, 55% of English speaking holidaymakers admitted that they had learned the language skills for their sunshine breaks by repeated watchings of Hollywood films, matching what was spoken by the actors on screen with the foreign subtitles displayed below, and then reversing this by playing the films with foreign audio and English subtitles. With movie-moguls aware of this so-called trend in ‘edu-tainment’ – a hybrid of education and entertainment – several multi-million dollar blockbusters have recently been tailored to cater for the lucrative growing market, and ‘language placing’ is set to become a major feature of many films and DVD releases in the future. As well as new movies in production that offer a wide-range of phrases useful for foreign traveling, certain scenes from Lord of the Rings installment, The Return of the King, originally filmed between 1999 and 2001, have been re-shot to include such sentences as, ‘I want a beer’, ‘How much does it cost?’, and ‘I’m itching, do you think I need some cream on it, Master Frodo?’
The most popular choice for film aficionados who wish to become bilingual is the Star Wars franchise. The films are favoured for their usefulness in dealing with foreign cultures, especially in a haggling situation. An entire scene inside the ‘Star Wars Bar’ at the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine have been digitally re-shot to include a an exchange between Obi Wan Kenobi and two Aqualish lap dancers where the old Jedi negotiates a price for a private lesbian show which allows him and Luke Skywalker to finger the multi-orificed aliens as they perform.