Reversed Subtitling and Dual Coding Theory: New Directions for Foreign Language Instruction

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The purpose of this study was to examine how subtitled video programs could enhance foreign language learning. Three viewing methods were compared in a pilot study: French audio only, standard subtitling (English subtitles) and reversed subtitling (English dialogue with French titles). In two subsequent experiments, standard subtitling was replaced with bimodal input (French audio with French titles). The beginning and intermediate French college students selected for the study were tested on vocabulary recall after watching a five‐minute video excerpt of French in Action. The success of reversed subtitling, which proved to be the most beneficial condition, can be explained by the way translation facilitates foreign language encoding. Retrieval is also enhanced by the multiple memory paths created by the visual and bilingual input (Paivio's bilingual dual coding model, 1986). Dual processing in the bimodal input condition also gave positive results. Based on the results of this study, a model integrating both reversed subtitling and bimodal input into a complete curriculum is advocated. © 1992 Language Learning Research Club, University of Michigan

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Language Learning