The long-running sitcom “Friends” about six single friends who live in New York City is more than entertainment … it is educational. According to The Guardian, “Friends” is the most watched show by those interested in learning how to speak colloquial English.
Liverpool soccer manager, Jürgen Klopp, stated in a BBC Radio podcast that “Friends” helped him with language comprehension: “The easiest to follow for Germans in English is Friends. It’s easy conversation. You can understand pretty much each word, pretty early.”
He is evidently not alone. Published in The Guardian, Luis Severino from the New York Yankees baseball team (originally from the Dominican Republic) and Venezuelan Wilmer Flores (formerly of the New York Mets) both stated they learning how to speak English colloquially from the TV show. Rap Monster from the Korean boyband BTS stated that South Korean mothers often encourage their children to learn English by playing Friends while they were playing and eating. He himself watched all 10 seasons of Friends at least five times, learning language but also expressions and gestures to communicate American emotion.
Education Publisher Pearson English discovered in a 2015 survey that many English learners watch movies and TV shows (60%) to improve their language skills. Leading English school Kaplan International English, discovered in a 2012 poll that Friends was by the most popular show for English learners by far due to its “comedy exploits,” catchphrases, and its international syndication.
The Vietnamese English learning company eJoy also praises the show for its relatable characters engaging in scenes of daily life. The company goes so far as to recommend that English learners practice speaking like their favorite character, citing specific episodes as especially helpful:
- How to use ‘nice to meet you’ (The One With Chandler’s Work Laugh)
- Having second thoughts (The One Where Ross and Rachel Take A Break)
- Going Out (The One With Rachel’s Inadvertent Kiss)