'The Friends Effect' on Learning the English Language

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

On September 22, Friends turned 25 years old. The show has endeared itself equally to Gen X and Millennials, as well as to people in other countries, who may not speak English. “The Friends Effect,” as it’s known, refers to non-native speakers learning American English from watching the sitcom. Variety recently reported on how over the years, foreigners have learned English through the show's subtitles.

“I was so in love with their accents,” Matt Ainiwaer, a native of China’s Xinjiang region, told Variety about the show. “I love American accents a lot. So I just tried to copy them—like, imitate them. I decided to tape-record it myself and get as close as possible to their accents.”

RM, the leader of Korean boy band BTS, told Ellen DeGeneres he learned English because his mother forced him to watch episodes of Friends. “All the Korean parents make their kids watch Friends,” he said. “I thought I was kind of like a victim at that time … Firstly I watched with Korean subtitles, and then next time I watched with English subtitles.”

In 2017, The New York Times reported on how several Latino Major League baseball players—from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the U.S., and Mexico—learned English or improved their English from watching Friends every night.

“It’s funny, because it’s such colloquial English,” Friends co-creator David Crane told Variety. “We actually wrote in the script all the times they say ‘like’—that’s on us. Those are in the scripts, all the uhs and the likes. We actually scripted all of that, so the idea that someone’s learning English with all of our weird inverted sentences—we certainly didn’t write it as a grammar primer.” But Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman told Variety, “The fact that it has taught people English is just amazing icing on the cake.”

Friends is far from the only television show people use to learn English, however. In 2012, a Kaplan International survey found 82 percent of respondents said TV helped them learn English. Although 26 percent—the highest percentage—said it was Friends that helped the most, that was followed by The Simpsons with 7 percent.

Melissa Baese-Berk, associate professor of linguistics and director of the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching program at the University of Oregon, told CNN three tips for learning a language from a TV show: The program should be engaging, it should have subtitles, and it should have repetitive storylines, like Friends. And learning a new language works for both English and non-English speakers alike—watching telenovelas, for example, is a great way for people to learn Spanish.

[h/t Variety]

This Course Will Teach You How to Play Guitar Like a Pro for $29

BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images
BartekSzewczyk/iStock via Getty Images

Be honest: You’ve watched a YouTube video or two in an attempt to learn how to play a song on the guitar. Whether it was through tabs or simply copying whatever you saw on the screen, the fun always ends when friends start throwing out requests for songs you have no idea how to play. So how about you actually learn how to play guitar for real this time?

It’s now possible to learn guitar from home with the Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle, which is currently on sale for $29. Grab that Gibson, Fender, or whatever you have handy, and learn to strum rhythms from scratch.

The strumming course will teach you how to count beats and rests to turn your hands and fingers into the perfect accompaniment for your own voice or other musicians. Then, you can take things a step further and learn advanced jamming and soloing to riff anytime, anywhere. This course will teach you to improvise across various chords and progressions so you can jump into any jam with something original. You’ll also have the chance to dive deep into the major guitar genres of bluegrass, blues, and jazz. Lessons in jam etiquette, genre history, and how to read music will separate you from a novice player.

This bundle also includes courses in ear training so you can properly identify any relative note, interval, or pitch. That way, you can play along with any song when it comes on, or even understand how to modify it into the key you’d prefer. And when the time comes to perform, be prepared with skilled hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, bends, trills, vibrato, and fret-tapping. Not only will you learn the basic foundations of guitar, you’ll ultimately be able to develop your own style with the help of these lessons.

The Ultimate Beginner to Expert Guitar Lessons Bundle is discounted for a limited time. Act on this $29 offer now to work on those fingertip calluses and play like a pro.


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Which Friends Character Would Earn the Most Money in the Real World?

Warner Bros. Television/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Warner Bros. Television/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Although Friends went off the air in 2004, the iconic sitcom continues to attract new fans who've discovered the show via re-runs and streaming networks like HBO Max.

To play into this devoted fan base, the professional resume writers at StandOut-CV conducted a fun experiment: They asked more than 3000 fans to predict where Joey, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, and Monica would be today, career-wise. They also took the time to figure out how much each character would earn in their respective fields in the real world. Could we be more curious?

Bringing in the highest salary is Joey, whose acting exploits are projected to earn him approximately $61,022 a year. Next comes Dr. Ross, whose career as a paleontologist brings in an estimated $59,023. After that comes fashion designer Rachel, earning $54,563 a year, followed by Chandler's writer/editor salary of $47,039 annually. Phoebe comes next, with her musical career bringing in an annual salary of $43,604 (although the site doesn't mention how her massage therapy business might factor into her life today). Surprisingly, Monica would bring in the least amount of money; she'd earn an average of $43,165 per year as a head chef.

As far as where fans think the Friends gang would be today, the answers are pretty great: They believe Joey would have expanded his acting career to include his own reality series called Keeping Up With Joey Tribbiani. Monica, meanwhile, would have taken the next step in her culinary career by opening up her own restaurant, and her husband Chandler would have continued his passion for writing at a comics magazine. The last season of Friends follows Rachel as she works as an executive for Ralph Lauren, and fans theorize that she would have used her breadth of experience to start her own fashion brand. It's believed Phoebe would have continued her music career, perhaps even becoming a music teacher, while Ross would have spent time writing dinosaur-themed children's books.

Hopefully, the upcoming Friends reunion special will give fans a final answer on what the characters would be up to today.