Edited by Stuart Webb
[ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics 169:1] 2018
► pp. 191–211
The images in television programs and the potential for learning unknown words
The relationship between on-screen imagery and vocabulary
Previous studies have indicated the potential for incidental vocabulary learning through viewing television. The assumption has been that the imagery in television helps learners acquire vocabulary because when they hear an unfamiliar word, the on-screen images provide semantic support. However, the extent to which imagery in authentic television supports learners in this way is unclear. This study examines 90 target words occurring in single seasons of television, and the degree to which their aural occurrence matched the presentation of a potentially supporting image. Results indicate differences in the way imagery supports potential vocabulary learning in documentary television compared with narrative television, and that this supporting imagery occurred concurrently with the aural form more often in documentary television. Research and pedagogical implications are discussed in detail.
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