Graduate from subtitles faster, watch these 5 high-context video types

When context wins over subtitles

Chris Eubanks


Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash

When reading subtitles, our brain tends to focus on the reading and not the listening part. Reading subtitles works, but doing so all the time is very inefficient. The workaround for this is watching high-context videos, where the vocabulary can be intuited by the scene itself. Dramas typically have little context, since the plots are complicated and things are happening behind the scenes. Choose these types of videos to turn off the subtitles faster:

Cooking videos

小高姐的 Magic Ingredients YouTube Channel with Language Reactor dual language subtitles

Cooking videos are loaded with context, not to mention that food is a common topic shared by everyone. For example, they might say “add 2 eggs” or tell you the temperature to set the oven. Cooking videos have so much context that you can get to a place where you can turn off the subtitles very quickly. The chef is describing everything they’re doing in that exact moment.

Gamer streams

Roni Back YouTube Channel with Language Reactor dual language subtitles

I have found gamers on YouTube building Sims houses in Finnish, Mandarin, and Dutch. Listening to them describe the rooms as they’re decorating them and describing the families actions is taking context to the extreme. Also their reactions to surprises in the game (screaming “oh no,” for example) represent real life scenarios.

City tour / apartment tour vlogs

Столица Мира YouTube Channel with Language Reactor dual language subtitles

Phrases like “welcome to my home” and “this is my kitchen” are high context scenarios that help you graduate from using subtitles. Make sure you pick a video that is dialogue dense, because you lose the language benefits when they pan to a landscape for 30 seconds. City tours are excellent too, and have the added benefit of learning cultural differences. You get to…



Chris Eubanks

Language learner. Rapidly learning the Finnish language. Follow me for specific knowledge that can't be found anywhere else on the Internet.