Edited by Stuart Webb
[ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics 169:1] 2018
► pp. 169–190
Examining incidental vocabulary acquisition from captioned video
Does test modality matter?
Previous comparisons of vocabulary uptake from captioned and uncaptioned audio-visual materials have almost consistently furnished evidence in favour of captioned materials. However, it is possible that many such comparative studies gave an advantage to the captioned input conditions by virtue of their use of written word prompts in the tests. The present study therefore examines whether aurally presented test prompts yield equally compelling evidence for the superiority of captioned over uncaptioned video. Intermediate EFL learners watched a ten-minute TED Talks video either with or without captions and were subsequently given a word recognition and a word meaning test, with half of the test prompts presented in print and the other half presented aurally. While the results of the word recognition test were inconclusive, the word meaning test yielded significantly better scores by the group that watched the captioned video. However, this was due entirely to their superior scores on the printed word prompts, not the aural ones. This suggests that evaluations of the benefits of captions for vocabulary acquisitions should take input-modality – test-modality congruency into account.
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