The role of subtitled movies on students' vocabulary development

  • Alisa Sadiku South East European University (SEEU), Ilindenska n.335, Tetovo 1200, Macedonia
Keywords: Movies, Subtitles, Vocabulary, Incidental acquisition.


Learning new vocabulary compromises a significant factor for success within language learning since without the adequate knowledge of words and their meaning, learners are not able to use the target language efficiently. Moreover, vocabulary tends to be forgotten if it is not acquired and used through the right methods that will provide learners with language inputs in genuine target language environment.  In this regard, the increasing access to different multimedia and technology resources facilitate spontaneous vocabulary acquisition for the contemporary age learners. In particular, movies with subtitles can be a great tool in bringing students closer to authentic real life communication vocabulary. Previous studies have found several benefits of using subtitled movies by confirming that subtitles indeed improve vocabulary learning. The present research had the aim to confirm these findings by examining the usefulness of subtitles in different settings.  Specifically, to investigate the usefulness of subtitled movies in vocabulary gains, three groups of students were observed in three different conditions, one exposed to movies with interlingual (Albanian) subtitles, one with intralingual (English) subtitles and the third one without any subtitles, to determine which type of subtitles renders the best results. To collect the data, several instruments were administered such as: questionnaires, English proficiency test, direct observation, vocabulary knowledge scale test (VKS) and two movies. The results of this study indicate that interlingual subtitles facilitate better vocabulary acquisition for short and long term memory, specifically when they are shown to students in intentional learning environment, i.e. with the assistance and instructions from the teacher.


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