The effect of films with and without subtitles on listening
comprehension of EFL learners_1004 181..192
Abdolmajid Hayati a...
ing comprehension; but this popular view has not been well tested (Robin, 2007,
p. 111). So, more and more English as a Fo...
pants were assigned to one of four treatment groups: captioned TV, TV without
captions, reading along and listening to the...
distracters). The tests showed that the availability of subtitles during the screening
significantly improved the students’...
participants were chosen from a group of 200 juniors and seniors majoring inTeaching
English as a Foreign Language on the ...
comprehension. Each question contained language that occurred somewhere in the
episode. A final comprehension test was also...
Table 3 illustrates the results of the one-way ANOVA for the listening comprehension
tests during 6 weeks. As can be obser...
facilitated recognition of English words by supplying the meaning of the content in the
students’ native language and led ...
benefits for subtitles in promoting a low affective filter and for unlocking accents and
dialects (p. 279).
Considering ESG ...
attention can alternate from the auditory to the visual format or be directed along
parallel visual and auditory routes si...
The sample population was intermediate level EFL learners. Therefore, we cannot gen-
eralise the findings to beginners or a...
Canning-Wilson, C. (2000). Practical aspects of using video in the foreign language classroom.
The Internet TESL Journal, ...
Copyright of British Journal of Educational Technology is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may
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The effect of films with and without subtitles on listening

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The effect of films with and without subtitles on listening

  1. 1. The effect of films with and without subtitles on listening comprehension of EFL learners_1004 181..192 Abdolmajid Hayati and Firooz Mohmedi Abdolmajid Hayati is associate professor of Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz. Firooz Mohmedi is MA student of Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz. Address for correspondence: Dr. Abdolmajid Hayati, Department of English, College of Literature and Humanities, Shahid Chamran University, Ahvaz, Iran. Email: majid_hayati@yahoo.com Abstract The present study represented a preliminary effort to empirically examine the efficacy of subtitled movie on listening comprehension of intermediate English as a Foreign Language students. To achieve this purpose, out of a total of 200 intermediate students, 90 were picked based on a proficiency test.The material consisted of six episodes (approximately 5 minutes each) of a DVD entitled ‘Wild Weather’. The students viewed only one of the three treatment condi- tions: English subtitles, Persian subtitles, no subtitles. After each viewing session, six sets of multiple-choice tests were administered to examine listening comprehension rates. The results revealed that the English subtitles group performed at a considerably higher level than the Persian subtitles group, which in turn performed at a substantially higher level than the no subtitle group on the listening test. Introduction With the increasing access to TV, video equipment and more recently, the computers, teachers have found more opportunities to use audio-visual materials at all levels of foreign language teaching, and they have frequently used them effectively in language classes (Kikuchi, 1997, p. 2; see also Canning-Wilson, 2000; Kothari, Pandey & Chudgar, 2004; Lewis & Anping, 2002; Meskill, 1996; Ryan, 1998; Weyer, 1999). In the same line, Richards and Gordon (2004, p. 2) maintain that video, as a medium, enables learners to use visual information to enhance comprehension. It allows learn- ers to observe the gestures, facial expressions and other aspects of body language that accompany speech. It also presents authentic language as well as cultural information about speakers of English. For many years, a widespread view on audio comprehension held that both target- language captions and native-language subtitles were anathema to developing listen- British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 42 No 1 2011 181–192 doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.01004.x © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.
  2. 2. ing comprehension; but this popular view has not been well tested (Robin, 2007, p. 111). So, more and more English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers have begun, in recent years, to use movies in their classes at different levels; however, what has unfairly remained unresolved is the use of subtitles in movies. Teachers of English are sometimes in a dilemma whether they should show a film with or without subtitles and in what language and, above all, which way will benefit their students most in relation to listening comprehension. A huge gap is observed between the use of subtitled films and listening comprehension in academic settings in Iran, too. In order to bridge this gap, the researchers took up this issue and conducted a study in order to determine the role of unsubtitled/subtitled films in language learning/teaching in the Iranian contexts. In fact, the study aimed to find out which of the following is likely to be more effective in developing listening compre- hension: bimodal subtitling (English subtitles with English dialogues), standard subti- tling (Persian subtitles with English dialogues) or English dialogues with no subtitle. Review of literature Markham (1989) investigated the effects of subtitledTV upon the listening comprehen- sion of beginner, intermediate and advanced learners of English. He used two subtitled videos on topics not known to the learners. Each group viewed both movies with and without subtitle. He measured the participants’ comprehension through multiple- choice questions based on the language of the video. Coming to a point where all three groups using the subtitles performed significantly better, he speculated that ESL (English as a Second Language) students might be able to improve their listening and reading comprehension simultaneously (see De Bot, Jagt, Janssen, Kessels & Schils, 1986; Holobow, Lambert & Sayegh, 1984). In a study, Garza (1991) compared Russian and ESL learners’ comprehension of video segments with second language captions to that of video segments without captions. Five segments of authentic American and Russian video on a particular genre of video (drama, comedy, news, animation and music), each between 2 and 4 minutes in length, were selected. A 10-item (multiple-choice) comprehension test was used to measure students’ comprehension of the video segments. A total of 140 students, with varying levels of proficiency in Russian, viewed the captioned or captionless Russian video segments. Comparison of the comprehension test scores of the two groups of students revealed that students who viewed the video segments with captions gained the highest scores. Garza’s data clearly showed that a textually enhanced visual channel, which presents information redundant to that presented by the auditory channel, facilitates students’ comprehension. In their study, Neuman and Koskinen (1992) investigated whether comprehensible input, delivered by captioned television programmes, affected the acquisition of vocabulary and of conceptual knowledge. The participants were children in immersion programmes, and the video material was of science lessons. They picked out 90 of the most difficult words from these video lessons as target words, 10 for each week. Partici- 182 British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 42 No 1 2011 © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta.
  3. 3. pants were assigned to one of four treatment groups: captioned TV, TV without captions, reading along and listening to the soundtrack, and reading only. Results for the vocabulary acquisition strand of their study, which used word recognition tests and tests of the words in context sentences, showed that the captioned TV group performed consistently better (see Danan, 1992). Danan (1992) investigated the effects of different subtitling conditions on vocabulary recall. She found, like Holobow et al (1984), that reversed subtitling not only produced the most favourable results, but that bimodal input also positively increased vocabulary recall. The results also showed benefits for beginners using such bimodal input, which was not the case in the study conducted by Holobow et al. She explains the success of reversed subtitling for vocabulary recall through the way in which translation facili- tates foreign language encoding and that it may help with the segmentation problems. She continues that students often have difficulty recognising word boundaries in the spoken language, especially if they are not familiar with some of the words. Listening to and reading the text at the same time can at least help students distinguish known from unknown words (Danan, p. 521). Automatic reading of subtitles, however, does not prevent the processing of the soundtrack. To demonstrate this point, d’Ydewalle and Pavakanun (1997, as cited in Kothari et al 2004, p. 29) carried out another group of cognitive experiments and relied on a double-task technique measuring reaction times to a flashing light during a tele- vision programme. Their findings confirmed the value of bimodal L2 input for intermediate-advanced levels of L2 learners. According to their study, the slower reac- tions in the presence of both sound and subtitles suggested that more complex, simul- taneous processing of the soundtrack and the subtitles was occurring. According to them, with both subtitles and sound, attention seemed in fact to be divided between the two according to the viewers’ needs, with more time usually devoted to subtitles for the processing of complex information. One study by Koostra, Jonannes and Beentjes (1999) focused on 246 Dutch children in Grade 4 (before any formal instruction in English) and Grade 6 (following 1 year of English at school) after they watched a 15-minute American documentary shown twice with or without subtitles. The study demonstrated that children acquired more English vocabulary from watching subtitled television, although even children in the condition without subtitles learned some new words. Children in the subtitled condition also performed significantly better on a word recognition test, consisting of words heard in the soundtrack and words that could have been used in the context of the particular programme. To examine the effect of captioning on aural word recognition skills, Markham (1999) designed another experiment involving multiple-choice tests administered orally. A total of 118 advanced ESL students watched two short video programmes (12 and 13 minutes respectively) with or without captions. In the subsequent listening tests, par- ticipants heard sentences directly taken from the script and immediately followed by four single words (one key word which belonged to a sentence just heard and three Subtitled films and listening comprehension 183 © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta.
  4. 4. distracters). The tests showed that the availability of subtitles during the screening significantly improved the students’ ability to identify the key words when they subse- quently heard them again. To test how subtitling affects listening ability regardless of semantic information, so as to assess recognition memory in relation to sound alone, Bird and Williams (2002) focused on the implicit and explicit learning of spoken words and non-words. Implicit learning pertained to auditory word recognition while explicit learning referred to the intentional recollection and conscious retention of aural stimuli. A first experiment with 16 English native and 16 advanced non-native speakers demonstrated that par- ticipants in the captioned condition were better able to implicitly retain the phonologi- cal information they had just processed. They also showed superior explicit recognition memory when asked to aurally identify words that had been presented in a previous phase. A second experiment with 24 advanced ESL students found that captioning had a beneficial effect on word recognition and implicit learning of non-word targets paired with two rhyming and two non-rhyming aural cues, especially in the rhyme condition. In all, various studies have demonstrated the positive effects of subtitling on productive skills such as verbatim recall and retention, reuse of vocabulary in the proper context, as well as communicative performance in specific oral and written communication tasks (Baltova, 1999; Borrás & Lafayette, 1994; Garza, 1991; Neuman & Koskinen, 1992; Vanderplank, 1988, 1990). However, while interest in subtitled materials is relatively growing, research in this field is still limited in Iran compared to those in other countries. In fact, the link between the availability of subtitles and listening compre- hension seems to be missing in the instructional setting and it needs to be searched for by a systematic study. In the same line, the main goal of the present research is to examine whether captions and subtitles can also improve listening comprehension. More importantly, it is hoped to find out which one is likely to be more effective in developing listening comprehension: English subtitles with English dialogues (bimodal subtitling), Persian subtitles with English dialogues (standard subtitling) or English dialogues with no subtitle. Research questions In order to examine the efficacy of films recorded in English with three different subtitle options on listening comprehension, the following questions are posed: 1. Do films with English subtitles help EFL students improve their listening comprehen- sion more than films with Persian subtitles or without subtitles? 2. Do films with Persian subtitles help EFL students improve their listening comprehen- sion more than films with English subtitles or without subtitles? 3. Do films without subtitles help EFL students improve their listening comprehension more than films with Persian or English subtitles? Methodology Participants This study was conducted with 90 students, with the average age of 22, studying at Islamic Azad University of Masjed Soleyman, a city located in southwest of Iran. The 184 British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 42 No 1 2011 © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta.
  5. 5. participants were chosen from a group of 200 juniors and seniors majoring inTeaching English as a Foreign Language on the basis of their scores on the English language proficiency test. The details of the test will be given below. Descriptive statistics of the mean scores were computed from the proficiency test to determine which students were entitled to participate in the study. Then, the participants filled out a background ques- tionnaire immediately after giving their consent to participate. Table 1 shows the details about the subjects participating in the study. Materials The materials used in this study were as follows: 1. English Language Proficiency Test (Sharpe, 2001): The test contained 70 multiple- choice items, and it was used to enable the researchers to select a homogeneous group.This test consisted of grammar (31 items), vocabulary (26 items) and reading comprehension (three passages with 13 items). The time allotted to answer the test was 50 minutes. 2. A Documentary Film: An English film on ‘natural disasters’ with authentic and contemporary language called ‘Wild Weather’, developed by BBC WorldWide Ltd. (2002), was prepared to be used for the study. The four-part series Wild Weather looks at the extremes of the earth’s climate and how man lives with and ultimately affects the weather. The total film is approximately 231 minutes long. There are four episodes, each one of which contained 10 parts. Two episodes were selected as the main source of the experiment. Out of these two episodes, only six parts (each approximately 5 minutes long) were chosen and the whole study lasted 6 weeks.The titles of the selected parts are given below: Part 1: An experience (4 minutes) Part 2: Jungle (5 minutes) Part 3: Desert (5 minutes) Part 4: Marathon of the sands (6 minutes) Part 5: Ice storm (7 minutes) Part 6: On patrol (7 minutes) 3. Comprehension test: Six sets of multiple-choice tests, with 10 items each, were derived from the video episodes (one for each video segment) to test the participants’ Table 1: Characteristics of the three groups Characteristics Group 1: English subtitle group (ESG) Group 2: Persian subtitle group (PSG) Group 3: without subtitle group (WSG) Gender Females 20 22 23 Males 10 8 7 University classification Juniors 16 20 18 Seniors 14 10 12 Subtitled films and listening comprehension 185 © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta.
  6. 6. comprehension. Each question contained language that occurred somewhere in the episode. A final comprehension test was also administered. 4. Participants used the computers with CD-ROMs to watch the films. (It is worth mentioning that through a pilot study conducted on 25 students in an interval of 2 weeks, the reliability of both tests, the proficiency test and the compre- hension test, was calculated by SPSS through the Kudar and Richardson’s formula (KR-21) and the results were 0.814 and 0.961 respectively.) Procedure The experiment, lasting for 6 weeks, was conducted at the language laboratory of Islamic Azad University of Masjed Soleyman. The following three steps were taken in this study: Step 1: After drawing out 200 junior and senior students who had passed language laboratory 4 with the score of at least 12 or above on the scale of 20, a proficiency test was administered. The allotted time for answering the questions was 50 minutes. After correcting the papers, 90 students whose scores fell between 26 and 48 out of 70 were selected as the intermediate group. Step 2: Based on their score in language proficiency test, the participants were ran- domly assigned to three groups, that is, English Subtitle Group (ESG), Persian Subtitle Group (PSG) and Without Subtitle Group (WSG). Step 3: At this stage, all three groups were asked to watch one part of the episode on the same day, and in order to increase the reliability of the study, each group watched the same segment with the assigned condition, namely ESG, PSG or WSG. By the end of each session, immediately after watching the film, a multiple-choice comprehension test was administered in order to evaluate their listening comprehension and provide grounds for comparison. Step 4: After the final test, the students in each group were asked to write their view- points about the effect of subtitled and/or unsubtitled films. To make it easier and stress-free for the students, they were allowed to give their comments in their first language. Finally, analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine whether the differences between mean scores of ESG, PSG and WSG were statistically significant. Scheffe test was also administered to specify the possible priority of one of the mentioned groups (ESG, PSG, or WSG) over the other. Results A subject was given 1 point for each correct answer, with the highest possible score being 10 and the lowest possible score being 0. From the total average scores obtained by the groups, the mean of ESG condition was substantially higher than PSG condition, and PSG condition in turn got significantly higher score than WSG condition. These results verified that students receiving the episode with English subtitle outperformed the other groups (PSG and WSG). Table 2 illustrates descriptive statistics on the perfor- mance of the students on the listening comprehension tests. 186 British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 42 No 1 2011 © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta.
  7. 7. Table 3 illustrates the results of the one-way ANOVA for the listening comprehension tests during 6 weeks. As can be observed, there is a significant difference among the performance of the three groups [F(2, 15) = 41.897, p < 0.05]. In order to determine which group is superior to the other, a post hoc test was run. The results of the Scheffe test revealed that differences among groups were significant. As shown in Table 4, ESG had a better performance than PSG followed by WSG condition. The level of significance was set at 0.05. In sum, all participants who were exposed to English subtitles reacted very positively compared to Persian subtitle or without subtitle in this study, and they believed that the subtitles not only assisted their understanding of the video but also helped them do the tests.This is consistent with the results of the study by Borrás and Lafayette (1994) who argue that subtitles have potential value in helping the learners not only to comprehend the authentic linguistic input better but to also produce comprehensible communica- tive output. More specifically, students commented that the subtitles enhanced their ability to notice, comprehend, spell and recall new English material. The test outcomes and the comments suggest that under similar circumstances, students who are learning both vocabulary and content in English will benefit more from watching English videos subtitled in English than from watching English videos subtitled in Persian. As a subsidiary effect of the study, regarding listening comprehension, it was also indicated that compared to films with no subtitles, those with Persian subtitles Table 2: Descriptive statistics of listening comprehension tests Groups Number of tests Mean Standard deviation Standard error 95% Confidence interval for the mean Lower bound Upper bound ESG 6 6.6367 0.53646 0.21901 6.0737 7.1996 PSG 6 5.0867 0.51771 0.21136 4.5434 5.6300 WSG 6 4.1033 0.38077 0.15545 3.7037 4.5029 Total 18 5.2756 1.16514 0.27463 4.6961 5.8550 ESG, English subtitle group; PSG, Persian subtitle group; WSG, without subtitle group. Table 3: ANOVA of the listening comprehension tests Sum of squares df Mean square F Significance Between groups 19.574 2 9.787 41.897 0.000 Within groups 3.504 15 0.234 Total 23.078 17 0.38077 ANOVA, analysis of variance. Subtitled films and listening comprehension 187 © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta.
  8. 8. facilitated recognition of English words by supplying the meaning of the content in the students’ native language and led to better understanding of listening materials. Discussion Based on the findings of the present study, intermediate students benefited from bimodal L2 input because the proficiency level of intermediate students in terms of the range of vocabulary items and listening skill was high enough. Therefore, the interme- diate students, as acknowledged by the participants, can understand the spoken lan- guage better and refer less to the subtitles except when they do not know the meaning of some key words, which are essential for comprehension. Only then do they take a quick glance at those words while listening to the text; thus, there is no translation process. That is, there is no need to switch from one language to another since it takes time, and the learners may lag behind and lose the track. Besides, from the point of view of language learning, students might not benefit much due to the overwhelming depen- dence upon their native language subtitles. The participants in the survey also com- mented that the Persian subtitles distracted their attention and prevented them from concentrating on the spoken language. It is hypothesised that Persian may not only have been used to comprehend the general message but might also have allowed sub- jects to bypass the English completely. With regard to the benefits of text-supported video for listening comprehension, Vanderplank (1988, p. 278) suggested that subtitles unlock television for intermediate level or higher learners who are literate in English and increase the redundancy in the language and in bringing down the level of ungraded, authentic language. Therefore, like Holobow et al (1984), there is an indication that subtitles are of benefit to compre- hension for those who already have a certain level of L2 knowledge and skills. Although acknowledging the need for further research, Vanderplank (1988) dismisses the impli- cation that learners are in fact merely reading while watching a video. He, however, believes that learners were doing more than reading and that they were matching the sounds with the text and comparing their match for correctness. He sees additional Table 4: Scheffe test of listening comprehension tests (I) VAR00001 (J) VAR00001 Mean difference (I–J) Standard error Significance 95% Confidence interval Lower bound Upper bound ESG PSG 1.5500* 0.27905 0.000 0.7927 2.3073 WSG 2.5333* 0.27905 0.000 1.7761 3.2906 PSG ESG -1.5500 0.27905 0.000 -2.3073 -0.7927 WSG 0.9833* 0.27905 0.011 0.2261 1.7406 WSG ESG -2.5333* 0.27905 0.000 -3.2906 1.7761 PSG 0.9833* 0.27905 0.011 -1.7406 -0.2261 *The mean difference is significant the 0.05 level. ESG, English subtitle group; PSG, Persian subtitle group; WSG, without subtitle group. 188 British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 42 No 1 2011 © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta.
  9. 9. benefits for subtitles in promoting a low affective filter and for unlocking accents and dialects (p. 279). Considering ESG (L2 subtitle) and PSG (L1 subtitle), it seems that the subjects in PSG have to perform an additional process and that is translation. With L1 (Persian) sub- titles, Iranian EFL students grasped the meaning by reading L1 subtitles and simulta- neously translated the L2 (English) information for chunking the flow of L2 audio. Because the translation process is difficult to manage and exceeds the learner’s process- ing capacity, factors such as the presentation speed or the difficulty level of the text may lower the effectiveness of L1 subtitling. This might be due to limitations in their reading ability or overloading information input due to three media: audio, visual and subtitles. Accordingly, the benefits of Persian subtitles are less than those of English subtitles and ‘the additional process of translation may sometimes hinder understanding’ (Markham, 1989, p. 40). It might also be observed that while Markham found that subtitles significantly improved students’ ability to identify key words when hearing them again, this study showed that students with good vocabulary, listening skills and ability to understand the spoken language, needed only to glance at subtitles to confirm their understanding of keywords without losing track of what was being said. The results of the study indicate that subtitles in the target language facilitate student listening comprehension and give the students the opportunity to receive visual as well as auditory messages. It seems that reading and listening to messages simultaneously enhance learning of foreign language. Moreover, grounded upon the data collected from the survey, most students mentioned that video subtitles in the target language did help them associate the aural and written forms of words more easily and quickly than did videos with Persian or without subtitles. However, few students expressed a need for subtitles in their mother language.They also noted that the presence of Persian subtitles distracted their attention from audio; there- fore, they did not pay attention to the soundtrack. So, the researchers concluded that the subjects of this study were more experienced in reading English than in listening to it. This is in line with Guillory’s (1998) study that the PSG performance was attenuated by the degree to which reading the subtitles interfere with attention paid to the linguis- tic message. Conclusion The purpose of this study was to investigate what kind of film is more effective in developing listening comprehension: ESG, PSG or WSG in the context of intermediate EFL students. All three groups were exposed to three different treatments. ESG watched the movie with English subtitles and English soundtrack. PSG viewed the same movie with Persian subtitles and English audio, and WSG watched the same film without subtitles but with the same soundtrack. The present study has found that bimodal L2 inputs generally strengthen the verbal message, suggesting that the double modal input may be processed more deeply because Subtitled films and listening comprehension 189 © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta.
  10. 10. attention can alternate from the auditory to the visual format or be directed along parallel visual and auditory routes simultaneously. Rather than being a distraction, the double modal input appears to enhance comprehension better than simply processing subtitle through silent reading. Perhaps reading would be improved if readers were encouraged to read aloud so as to provide themselves with an accompaniment, although it is an area that needs further research. The results proved the hypothesis that the video programmes with English subtitles will help EFL intermediate students improve their listening comprehension more than the other programmes. However, watching a film with L1 subtitles is claimed to be appro- priate for beginners due to their limited range of vocabulary items, and they can use their native language for better comprehension of the film.The third condition, WSG, is but claimed to be beneficial to the advanced students because immersing students in a flow of foreign utterances without any preparation may be of little help for intermediate EFL students. On the other hand, the proficiency level of advanced students is higher, and they may have little problem in understanding the films. Another claim is that students who practise listening a lot and spend too much time listening and watching films, can watch unsubtitled English films with less difficulty because they are accus- tomed to this way of watching and their ears are tuned to English spoken language. Pedagogical implications With respect to second language comprehension, this study has found that L1 subti- tling is less effective for L2 listening comprehension than bimodal L2 input. Bimodal L2 inputs generally strengthen or enhance the verbal message, suggesting that the double modal input may be processed more deeply because attention can alternate from the auditory to the visual format or be directed along parallel visual and auditory routes simultaneously. Rather than being a distraction, the double modal input appears to enhance comprehension better than simply processing subtitle through silent reading. Perhaps reading would be improved if readers were encouraged to read aloud so as to provide themselves with an accompaniment. Finally, this study suggests new ways of teaching that might incorporate certain fea- tures of the bimodal L2 input procedures. For instance, judging from the results, it would apparently be beneficial in L2 instruction to have the intermediate students follow the subtitles of the materials while the teacher reads the same materials aloud to them in L2. Because beginners do not have native-like command of L2, they might be discouraged from reading aloud in L2 until their listening skill is improved. Similarly, taped material could be played in L2 while students follow the same texts in L2. Limitations of the study This study examined the effects of three versions of subtitled video programmes on listening comprehension of intermediate EFL students. One programme consisted of English audio and English subtitles. The second programme consisted of English audio and Persian subtitles, and the third programme consisted of English audio and no subtitles. 190 British Journal of Educational Technology Vol 42 No 1 2011 © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta.
  11. 11. The sample population was intermediate level EFL learners. Therefore, we cannot gen- eralise the findings to beginners or advanced students in second or foreign language study. For example, the bimodal L2 input procedure obviously requires a certain level of skill in L2, and to test its generalisability, studies are required with pupils who have conventional levels of skills in L2, eg, as can be found in EFL programmes. The result of the study can be applied only to institutions such as schools, colleges and universities that have intermediate-level EFL students. Assessment of the learning outcome was measured only with multiple-choice tests. The problem lies with the need to devise alternative assessment techniques that tap various aspects of listening comprehension. Suggestions for future research This study represents a preliminary effort to empirically examine the efficacy of sub- titled movie on listening comprehension of intermediate EFL students. There is a hypothesis against the results of this study that over an extended period of time, sub- titles may prevent learners from developing listening comprehension skills. When stu- dents become accustomed to subtitling, they may become overly dependent upon the printed information (subtitles) to understand the contents that they no longer focus on the audio information. Future research, therefore, should be directed towards investi- gating the use of subtitles with students of different proficiency level over longer periods with video materials of varying difficulties. Since the study has evaluated on documentary films in three versions, replication of the study with different kinds of movies in other genres would also be advisable. Since ESG has proved to be a highly motivating and effective tool for listening comprehension, curriculum designers, programme developers and educators should incorporate English subtitled educational programmes into English language curriculum. Further research could employ different videos of different contents such as news reports, feature films, academic lectures or interviews. It is also cautioned that varying the length of video may produce different results. Moreover, the means of measurement employed, such as multiple-choice items, short- answerquestions,andtrueorfalse,couldbeimportantfactorsaffectingtheresults.Also, how to present these test items, orally or in writing, is a critical point needing consider- ation. In addition to examining students’ listening comprehension, investigating the recall success rate after a long time lapse may be a good topic for further investigation. References Baltova, I. (1999). Multisensory language teaching in a multidimensional curriculum: the use of authentic bimodal video in core French. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 56, 1, 32–48. Bird, S. & Williams, J. N. (2002). The effect of bimodal input on implicit and explicit memory: an investigation of within-language subtitling. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23, 4, 509–533. Borrás, I. & Lafayette, R. C. (1994). Effects of multimedia courseware subtitling on the speaking performance of college students of French. The Modern Language Journal, 78, 1, 61–75. Subtitled films and listening comprehension 191 © 2009 The Authors. British Journal of Educational Technology © 2009 Becta.
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