USING FILM SUBTITLES IN FLT IN CROATIA
It is a general belief that students need to receive substantial input of authentic materials in FLT. The combination of verbal information, along with full visual experience such as it can be seen in a film, has been found most appealing. Not only a large amount of natural language, but also a rich variety of cultural forms and expressions are mediated by this kind of “comprehensible input” (Krashen 1985). Various studies have demonstrated the ways in which intralingual subtitled audio-visual material can improve the effectiveness of general foreign language comprehension (Caimi 2002, Vanderplank 1988) and how it can be a useful tool in foreign language teaching and foreign language acquisition (Neuman & Koskinen 1992). Most foreign television and cinema programs distributed in Croatia have always been accompanied by interlingual subtitles; therefore the viewers are accustomed to them. Consequently, such a habit can be efficiently exploited in foreign language learning among Croatian students who will certainly more easily develop strategies to derive benefits from subtitled films. The main aim of this study was to examine whether and to what extent film subtitles (captions) increase language processing ability of the learners. Our hypothesis was that subtitles facilitate general comprehension of a film, provided that the linguistic difficulty of the authentic film material has been carefully selected in order to match the students’ overall competency in L2. Our research was conducted among students of B1/B2 level of English L2. Students were divided in two groups: one group watched a sequence of a feature film without subtitles, while the other was shown the same material with subtitles. Both groups were given a particularly designed test to assess their general comprehension of the viewed material. The findings revealed that the group of students viewing the subtitled film showed better results than the other group.
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