Intralingual subtitles, interlingual subtitles, and L2 vocabulary: developments from an exploratory study

Rafael Matielo, Roberta Pires de Oliveira, Luciane Baretta


 This paper examines the effects of intralingual and interlingual subtitles on Brazilian English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners’ L2 vocabulary learning as a result of their processing and comprehension of a North-American sitcom. Thirty-six intermediate-level EFL learners, enrolled in the Extracurricular Language Courses at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), were evenly divided into two experimental groups (intralingual subtitles and interlingual subtitles) and one control group (no subtitles). Participants’ performance was measured based on an L2 vocabulary test (pre-test, test, and post-test), considering factors influencing word learnability (Laufer, 1997). Regarding the effects of subtitling availability, statistical tests and analyses performed revealed that experimental conditions were not found to substantially foster L2 vocabulary learning, and no statistically significant differences among the experimental groups and the control group were found. Across time, the results obtained point out to more positive growth in performance by the intralingual subtitles group, followed by the interlingual subtitles group, and then the control group. These results are discussed in light of the possible different processing mechanisms employed as well as some of the potentials and drawbacks that both intralingual and interlingual subtitles may offer for L2 learning/instructional purposes.



intralingual subtitles; interlingual subtitles; L2 vocabulary learning.

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ISSN 1983-4675 (impresso) e 1983-4683 (on-line) e-mail:


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