The effects of subtitles on language acquisition The second part of this paper will discuss what effects subtitles have on language acquisition by focusing mainly on the work of one of the leading researchers In the field of subtitles, G©rye van Torture Delaware. 1. 1 Types of subtitles Technically-speaking, there are two types of subtitles: – Open subtitles (not optional) which include cinema subtitles, being a physical part of the film, and on television, being broadcast as part of the television picture. 0 – Closed subtitles (optional).
These include television subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DUH), which the viewer can select by remote-control and which are generated by a decoder In the television set; Interlingua television subtitles transmitted by satellite, allowing different speech communities to access different versions of the same program simultaneously Linguistically-speaking, we can distinguish between two types of subtitling: – Interlingua subtitling (In the Orlando language) and referred to as Vertical’, In that the subtler changes mode, from speech to writing, but not language.
It is used on domestic programs for the DUH and on foreign-language programs for language learners. Interlingua subtitling. This type is referred to as ‘diagonal’ in that the subtitles moves from spoken text in one language to written text in another, changing mode and language. (Rutledge 2004: 247). Since the interlinguas subtitles’ language is not changing, and we cannot rely on CLC or language distance, we will from now on focus on interlingua’ subtitles. 1. The effect of subtitles in movies To see whether subtitles added to any audio-visual content will change the watching movie is presented in the native language of the viewer, considerable amount of time as spent, reading and processing the subtitles, equally by two different nations (one being used to subbed movies and the other one not being used to subtitles at all [preferred dubbed (synchronized) movies]). This is due to the efficiency in following and understanding the movie. Delaware and Van Reengages (1989) also found that children prefer subtitles for efficiency reason.
In addition to that d’ Headwall and Gillie (1992) found that with news broadcast, the viewers had a greater need for subtitles as they started to look at the subtitles at a faster pace and dead them for longer periods, even when the spoken news broadcast was In their native language. 1. 3 Incidental foreign-language calculation through subtitled television Since Don sun t TTL less (In teen native language) Ana soundtrack (In teen Torrent language) are processed almost in parallel, there may be possible language acquisition.
Simultaneous reading of the subtitles and listening to the soundtrack may lead to language acquisition. Can watching subtitled television program incidentally lead to foreign-language acquisition? To proof this hypothesis, Vaughan and Delaware (1992, 1995, 1997) investigated incidental foreign-language acquisition in the context of watching subtitled television programs. The participants were shown 1 5 minute-long cartoons in several combinations of native and foreign language, with or without soundtrack and with or without native or foreign subtitles.
The final results showed that there is considerable amount of foreign-language acquisition simply by watching subtitled movies. It was also found that the biggest language acquisition effect comes from reverse subtitles (NIL in soundtrack and TTL in subtitles). Another interesting finding was that language acquisition was almost exclusively limited to vocabulary. To find out, why grammar and syntax take an inferior position in language acquisition, Van Loomed, Lawmen and Delaware (2006) lead another study on foreign-grammar acquisition while watching subtitled television programs.
Children from primary and secondary school were tested for acquisition of grammar rules. Some of the participants received explicit grammatical rules of the TTL. Younger children were predicted to outperform older children in acquiring a foreign language (due to the assumption that younger children acquired languages better in an implicit way). However, older children will take more advantage of explicit instruction compared with younger children. The results showed that the performance of both groups improved considerably when the grammatical rules were presented in advance. This means that presenting the rules in advance affected not only correct choices on items which appeared in the movie (old items) but also allowed applying those rules to new items; clearly, the presented rules were acquired at a level allowing also their application on new cases” (Van Loomed, Lawmen and Delaware, 2006: 254). No evidence of grammatical acquisition was provided by the study and this is simply due to the fact, that grammatical rules are too complicated to acquire in an implicit way. One of the assumptions is that language consists of grammaticality lexis, not localized grammar; that is, learners do not first acquire rules, and then vocabulary to apply it to. Rather, they learn collections of complex but initially unleashed chunks of language, which they then progressively analyses, and thus extract grammatical regularities. ” (Van Loomed, Lawmen and Delaware, 2006: 255) This is why vocabulary acquisition is an important step prior to grammatical rules. 4 The difference between standard and reverse subtitles in terms of language acquisition As mentioned at the beginning of the section, there is more than one type of subtitles. As for the language acquisition factor of watching subtitled audiovisual content, it is of big importance in what combination the subtitles and the soundtrack are presented, meaning in the standard (NIL in subtitles, TTL in soundtrack) or the reversed way (NIL in soundtrack, TTL in subtitles).
To find out, which combination of settles Ana soundtrack Is most receive In terms AT language calculation, Headwall and Gillie (1992) ran a research on how younger children and adults process subtitles by measuring and recording their eye movements. They found that basically more time was spent on looking at two-lined subtitles than on one-lined subtitles. This is due to the fact, that one-lined subtitles typically do not add any important information to the information already provided by the audio-visual message on the screen.
Reversed one-lined subtitles get even less reading time, especially by children, since they are written in the foreign language. On the other and, two-lined subtitles generally try to give more purchasable content that cannot be taken from sound or picture. According to De Bracket and Delaware (2003) this concludes that: “typically, there are no significant differences between one-line subtitles with standard subtitling and one-line subtitles with reversed subtitling.
Accordingly, we conclude that there is more word-by-word reading in two-line subtitles than in one-line standard subtitles, and less word-by-word reading in two- line than in one-line reversed subtitles, while there are no differences between standard and reversed one-line subtitles. This means that attention is tuned to the information available. ” (p. 679) Furthermore, the study showed that standard subtitles are fluently processed, one- lined and two-lined subtitles even more, since they contain more vital information.
Two-lined reversed subtitles on the other hand, suggest that only occasionally some foreign language words in the subtitles are processed (mostly by older children or adults). In addition to that, the research showed that older children and adults have sufficient resources available to process standard native subtitles and the foreign language soundtrack simultaneously. Younger children on the other hand, ignored the foreign language soundtrack when native subtitles were shown on the bottom of the screen. Similar finding have been made with reversed subtitles.
Adults and older children had no difficulties with processing the native language and reading the foreign language in the presented subtitles. Again, younger children “do not have enough information processing capacities, and therefore concentrate almost exclusively on the information source that is easiest to process, the native language soundtrack, while paying less attention to the foreign language beetles” (De Bracket and Delaware, 2003: 681). This proofs again that incidental foreign language acquisition is indeed possible, when watching subtitled audio-visual content. . Advantages and disadvantages of subtitles Since subtitling is some sort of translation and translation being one of the most efficient learning strategies in language acquisition, researchers have found that subtitles can also turn into a learning strategy. For subtitling to turn into a language acquisition strategy, it has to be present for a great amount of time, meaning decades. In countries (northern Europe) where subtitles are preferred over dubbed movies, Nell competence In teen Engel’s language can De crossover t .
I Is also Know that the proficiency in a language can go down over time, when not in contact with that language over a longer period of time. It was found that the exposure to foreign language subtitles or the soundtrack of foreign language movies can help to maintain the current level of proficiency in that language, even if it is only provided in an implicit way. Although, this will only work if a certain level of proficiency in the TTL is already reached. In early stages of language acquisition, explicit input is mandatory.
Finally, the exposure to native content in foreign movies can be extremely helpful to language acquisition in terms of phonology and context. Viewers can get direct input of how words are pronounced, the speed of language and intonation. In contrast, subtitles can also lead to information loss to a certain degree. Haiti and Mason (2000) refer to four broad kinds: * – Certain aspects of speech (non- standard dialect, emphatic devices such as intonation, code-switching and style- shifting) will not automatically be represented in the written form.