New Perspectives on Subtitling and Foreign Language Learning
Chapter 3 Salience and Translational Salience
3.1 Introduction: What is Salience? In the previous chapter, we explored subtitled audiovisual texts along a lan- guage acquisition perspective and we saw how their multiple components can dif ferently af fect learning. L2 input is mainly provided in audiovisual dialogue in a form that reproduces to some extent spontaneous conversation and is characterized by a set of simplified traits, which make it a suitable linguistic variety for L2 learning (Quaglio 2008; Pavesi 2012). Like real conversation, dialogue is contextualized within a specific visual setting, which is made up of scenes and all the nonverbal communicative cues provided by the actors (gaze, lip movements, body language). Interlingual subtitles are then added to the audiovisual product, contributing to making dialogue even more comprehensible by increasing informative redundancy and adding translation into the viewers’ L1. Depending on their graphic and linguistic characteristics, subtitles can further af fect the perception of audiovisual texts. In particular, we saw at the end of Chapter 2 how spe- cific subtitling strategies can facilitate speech comprehension or enhance given chunks of dialogue, creating perceptual salience. It is such salience that constitutes the focus of the book, and particularly of this chapter. In the study of language perception and language acquisition, salience is often mentioned as a broad notion liable to af fect both processes. But what exactly is salience? How can it be defined empirically? As a general trend, the concept of salience tends to be interpreted rather intuitively and is circularly described by reference to its...
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