How Best to Use Audio/Subtitle Combinations in the Use of Films for Nonnative Learners of English

How Best to Use Audio/Subtitle Combinations in the Use of Films for Nonnative Learners of English

Buğra Zengin (Namık Kemal University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7876-6.ch003
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Abstract

Use of movies and TV shows for foreign language learning purposes pervades informal settings where viewers enjoy the multiplicity of soundtracks and of subtitles. However, this is not an integral part of formal language education policies. Hoping to inform policy making processes, this study aimed to investigate the most efficient use of audio/subtitle combinations for specific purposes. As a result, reversed subtitling was found to be effective for vocabulary learning whereas, generally, bimodal subtitling was considered to benefit accent-related problems. The participants self-reported preferrence for non-subtitled version in case of listening comprehension in general, which was due to the subtitle effect in the case of students at lower levels. Considering that mostly interlingual subtitled content is the only version in most platforms, these findings make it necessary to prefer a platform presenting a variety of alternative combinations in terms of soundtrack and subtitles.
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Background

The study of Ashcroft, Garner and Hadingham (2018) suggests that as a resource for meaning-focused audio-visual input movie watching can lead to incidental vocabulary gains indicating the potential of movies to boost language learners’ vocabulary acquisition rates. Confirming the benefits of captions in their study, Başaran and Dilber (2013) recommend learners to study the captions of the English TV shows before watching them to aid their comprehension and enhance their motivation. They state that repeated studies of captions lower the learners’ affective filter. They also add that memory works most effectively with the stimulation of both auditory and visual registers. Vahdami and Azaraki (2015) share a similar view in terms of memory stating that L2 learners’ vocabulary comprehension is enhanced with simultaneous exposure to text, sound, and picture. They argue that even inexperienced language learners’ vocabulary is promoted with authentic English captioned videos.

Danan (2004) believes that whether it is captioning or interlingual subtitling, listening comprehension skills are improved. Language learning is facilitated with captioning in that it aids the learners’ zvisualization of what they hear especially considering the kind of input that is beyond their linguistic ability. In subtitling, the increase in language comprehension is reached with the cognitive benefit of deeper processing. However, Danan (2004) stresses the learners’ need for development through training of active viewing strategies to use captioned and subtitled material efficiently.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Interlingual/Standard Subtitling: The kind of subtitling in which the soundtrack/audio language and the subtitle language are different. For instance, the soundtrack language is English and the subtitle language is Turkish for viewers whose native or first language (L1) is Turkish.

Intralingual/Bimodal Subtitling: The kind of subtitling in which both soundtrack and the subtitle are the same language (in this case subtitles are captions).

Reversed Subtitling: The kind of subtitling in which the soundtrack/audio language and the subtitle language are different, but in this case the former is the L1 and the latter is L2. For instance, the soundtrack language is Turkish and the subtitle language is English for viewers whose L1 is Turkish.

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