"Willst du die suchen gehen, Leo?" I called out to the kitchen walls. Two seconds later a disembodied voice from the tablet echoed my question. "I'm getting good at this," I thought with a smug smile.
What I'm now finding is that snatches of text pop randomly into my head long after the cartoon has ended, and I can change the verbs and nouns to create sentences of my own. But am I going to sit down with a notepad and a pencil when my son is asleep and study his cartoons? Probably not. The language isn't challenging and, let's face it, cartoons simply aren't entertaining enough. I'm really not that invested in what Leo will build next. But as long as they are on in the background, cartoons are helping me fine-tune my pronunciation, soak up some fixed expressions and reinforce (and question) my understanding of articles, separable verbs and sentence structure.
6 ways to use cartoons to learn:
1. Choose one aimed at little kids - these tend to have less dialogue and limited language variety. Switch it on and just listen. See if you can understand what's happening with sound only. If not, try watching it, too, next time.
2. Repeat what you hear. Sure, it might be easy to understand, but how is your pronunciation? Does your voice go up and down in the same way as the characters' voices on the screen?
3. If there's a question, try to guess the answer before you hear it.
4. Play the role of a character. While you watch, ask the questions or give the responses.
5. Turn off the sound and try to narrate what you see happening on the screen.
6. Label everything you see in the cartoon. It can be quite a shock to realise how many words there are still left to learn!
Words from the text
Willst du die suchen gehen, Leo? Do you want to go and look for them, Leo?
smug feeling pleased with yourself for something you have done (negative meaning)
suds the foam or bubbles created by the cleaning product when you wash dishes
anticipate expect (here it means 'guess')
justifiable when there's a good reason for something
there's more to sth than meets the eye there is more than you think at first
intonation part of pronunciation - changes you make to sounds (rise/fall) when you talk
rolled into one combined
dollop of a small amount of soft food (like sauce or cream) that you eat with sth else
snatches of short parts of sentences or conversations
pop into my head occur to me / I think of
fine-tune to make small changes to (here it means 'perfect')
soak up absorb
to narrate to tell the story