5 Fascinating Documentaries that will Teach You English

You’ve probably already learned a few English words from watching TV and movies, but have you ever tried using documentaries to give your language skills a boost?

Documentaries can be a great way to learn English. There’s usually a narrator who speaks slowly and clearly, and when other people speak, you can hear a variety of accents from many different places.

Below, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite documentaries about a variety of topics: animals, people, places. They’re all in English and some have subtitles in your language to help you understand! Give these a try and see how much you learn by the end!


This is a documentary about an American fashion icon, Iris Apfel. Throughout her life, Iris has been a businesswoman, interior designer, and fashion designer. Now, she’s over 90 years old and lives in New York City, still working and still being fabulous.

This documentary would be a great help to learn clothing vocabulary, hear New York City accents, and listen to how English sounds in the voices of different aged people.

or watch it on Netflix!

“Planet Earth”

“Planet Earth” is probably one of the most well-known documentaries in English —  although it’s actually a docu-series with multiple episodes. It’s quiet and calming and is about different natural parts of the world, with each episode focusing on mountains, caves, jungles, or another ecosystem.

This is a great documentary to watch for people of all ages. The narrator speaks slowly, and there’s just one narrator throughout the series who speaks in an English accent. Because the series consists of speaking and pictures, it’s a great way to learn the names of animals, plants, and other nature words.

or start the first episode on Netflix!

“The Lion In Your Living Room” and “A Dog’s Life”

Do you love cats? Watch “The Lion in Your Living Room” to learn about how cats were domesticated and why they do all the funny things they do that make us laugh.

Not a cat person? “A Dog’s Life” explores how dogs view the world, delving into what they literally see in addition to how they process information and perceive time.

These documentaries will help you hone in on your cat and dog words, which you can practice everyday with your furry friend!

“The Lion in Your Living Room”: 

or watch it on Netflix!

“A Dog’s Life”: 

or watch it on Netflix!

“Prohibition: A Film By Ken Burns and Lynn Novick”

There was a period of time in America between 1920 and 1933 when the American government made it illegal to sell and drink alcohol. This docuseries goes into the reasons why people wanted to ban alcohol, what life was like for Americans during this time, and how Prohibition eventually ended.

This documentary is great for those of you who enjoy learning about history. It will teach you about a very unique time in American history, along with all kinds of words about society and government in America.

“Prohibition: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick” :

or watch the first episode on Netflix!

Expand Your Knowledge

Documentaries can be a great way to learn about parts of the world that you’ve never even thought of before. They can take us around the world, back in time, and even forward in time! But they can also use words and phrases that are very specific to certain cultures, so watching them with a certain amount of English knowledge can be extremely helpful. Fortunately for you, at ABA English, we’re here to help with that.

ABA English can set you up and get you familiar with English vocabulary, sentence structure, and accents so you can get the most out of these documentaries. With over 144 videos to help teach you, as well as teachers to give you a hand when you’re confused, ABA English will set you up for success.

Wherever you’re going and whatever you want to learn, we’re here to make it easier for you. Get started for free today!

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One comment

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