It’s April, meaning, as I’m sure you all know, that it’s Animation Month! Animated things are of course amazing (speaking as a Disney lover and occasional Japanese anime watcher), but did you know that animation, besides being enjoyable, can actually help you practice a language?

Animation is entertaining even if you don’t understand it, and usually uses simple, easy-to-understand words.

Animated films or shows are one of the easiest and most entertaining ways to learn. They’re usually geared towards kids, so unless you’re watching South Park or something similar, there won’t be too much advanced vocab. Since you’re watching something, like you would during leisure time, your brain is tricked into feeling like you’re not actually learning. This helps prevent the boredom that occurs when one thinks of learning. But, where can you find these animated treasure troves?

Netflix offers alternate language modes, or shows in other languages all together!

There are several places to look for cartoons not in English. Do you have Netflix? If not, I highly recommend it, because besides have awesome English shows (Orange is the New Black, anyone?), it’s a language learner’s gold mine. First, if you live in the U.S., many Disney movies on Netflix have the option of Spanish audio, as well as English or Spanish subtitles. Starting with a movie or show you know makes the learning process easier, as well as giving you nostalgia for when you watched these features in the past.

Spanish not your thing? Never fear, because Netflix also has a large selection of Japanese anime as well! I personally suggest Hunter X Hunter or Fullmetal Alchemist. These shows tend to be only in Japanese, with English subtitles, of course.

A little drawing I did of Vinni Puh and Piglet.

A little drawing I did of Vinni Puh and Piglet.

Are you interested in Russian? Well, I have the perfect thing for you! If you enjoy cuteness, go to YouYube, type in “Vinni Puh with English subtitles”, and enjoy! You may have guessed by the name, but Vinni Puh is the Russian version of Winnie the Pooh, with all the characters you know and love. Plus, Vinni Puh sings his own little ditties. Even if you have no interest in Russian whatsoever, I still suggest watching this.

Check out YouTube and Google for popular songs sung in another language, like Disney songs!

None of these seem quite right for you? Well, I’ve saved the best and easiest for last. If you don’t have time to watch a whole movie or show, simply go to YouTube and type in the Disney song of your choice, as well as whatever language you’d like it to be in. There’s a good chance it’ll be there, and because it’s a song, it’s easy to remember the words. Plus, it’s just fun.

I hope these ideas helped you in some way, and that you can now enjoy a language and anime filled month!


Around the World is a feature about global geekery, exploring other cultures, and much more. To submit a post idea, simply leave a comment!