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Subtitling Matters

New Perspectives on Subtitling and Foreign Language Learning

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Elisa Ghia

Drawing on recent theoretical developments in second language acquisition, this book proposes a new approach to the learning of foreign languages through subtitled audiovisual input. Subtitled text is explored as a source of language acquisition, and its dialogue and subtitle components are focused on as sources of linguistic input. The primary focus of the research is subtitling and the impact it can have on learners’ noticing and acquisition of linguistic structures. The concept of translational salience is introduced, a phenomenon that can occur due to an accentuated contrast between L2 dialogue and L1 subtitles. Two experimental studies on the acquisition of English syntax by Italian learners are used to test the role of translational salience in both noticing and L2 learning. The results lead to a definition of salience particular to the audiovisual medium and raise challenging issues in the pedagogic applications of subtitling.

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Table 1 List of the films selected as experimental input 97 Table 2 Phases of the experimental procedure 127 Table 3 Descriptive statistics for the control groups 130 Table 4 Within-subjects ef fects for the control groups 131 Table 5 Between-subjects ef fects for the control groups 131 Table 6 Descriptive statistics for the experimental groups 133 Table 7 Within-subjects ef fects for the whole test 134 Table 8 Between-subjects ef fects for the whole test 134 Table 9 Summary of growth trends (in percentages) from pretest to posttest 135 Table 10 Descriptive statistics for the direct questions task 136 Table 11 Within-subjects ef fects for the direct questions task 138 Table 12 Between-subjects ef fects for the direct questions task 138 Table 13 Within-subjects ef fects for yes-no and wh-questions 139–140 Table 14 Between-subjects ef fects for yes-no and wh-questions 140 Table 15 Multiple comparisons between the experimental groups 141 Table 16 Descriptive statistics for the indirect questions task 143 Table 17 Within-subjects ef fects for time and time X treatment in the indirect questions task 144 Table 18 Between-subjects ef fects for treatment in the indirect questions task 144 Table 19 Descriptive statistics for the question tags task 146 Table 20 Within-subjects ef fects for the question tags task 147 viii Tables Table 21 Between-subjects ef fects for the question tags task 147 Table 22 Descriptive statistics for the cleft-production task 149 Table 23 Within-subjects ef fects for the cleft production task 151 Table 24 Between-subjects ef...

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