When Watching is not Enough: The Effects of Captions on L2 Pragmatics Acquisition and Awareness


  • Yashar khazdouzian Universitat de Barcelona
  • M. Luz Celaya Universidad de Barcelona http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6821-5492
  • Júliia Barón Universitat de Barcelona



The present study explores the possible effects of captions to enhance second language pragmatics acquisition and awareness when watching TV series. Twenty-eight undergraduate English as a Foreign Language (levels B2 to C1) learners who volunteered for the study were assigned to two groups (captioned/non-captioned conditions). The participants were exposed to one season of a TV sitcom as part of out-of-class activities and not as a task in the classroom; neither of the groups had received instruction on pragmatics in class. To test the acquisition of the second language pragmatics (requests and suggestions), a written discourse completion test was used following a pre/post-test design. Results show an overall positive effect of the audiovisual support on the use of some of the request and suggestion strategies and on certain aspects of pragmatic awareness. However, there was no clear effect of captions versus the non-captioned condition. Findings are discussed considering previous studies in foreign language contexts.

Keywords: L2 pragmatic acquisition; L2 pragmatic awareness; captions; EFL; out-of-class activity

El presente estudio explora los efectos de los subtítulos para potenciar la adquisición de la pragmática y la conciencia pragmática de la segunda lengua al visionar series de televisión. Veintiocho estudiantes voluntarios, universitarios de inglés como lengua extranjera con niveles B2 a C1, fueron asignados a dos grupos (con y sin subtítulos). Los participantes vieron una temporada de una serie televisiva como parte de sus actividades fuera de clase y no como una tarea en el aula; ninguno de los grupos había recibido instrucción sobre pragmática en clase. Para valorar la adquisición de la pragmática de la segunda lengua (solicitudes y sugerencias), se utilizó una prueba escrita de compleción de discurso siguiendo un diseño de pre/ post- prueba. Los resultados muestran un efecto positivo del apoyo audiovisual en el uso de algunas estrategias de solicitud y sugerencia y en ciertos aspectos de la conciencia pragmática. Sin embargo, no hubo un efecto claro de los subtítulos versus la condición sin subtítulos. Los resultados se discuten a la luz de estudios previos en contextos de lengua extranjera.

Palabras clave: adquisición de la pragmática de la L2; conciencia pragmática de la L2; subtítulos; inglés como lengua extranjera; actividad fuera del aula.

Biografía del autor/a

Yashar khazdouzian, Universitat de Barcelona

Yashar khazdouzian

Licenciatura en Filología Hispánica, Universidad de Teherán. Master, Universitat de Barcelona. Estudiante en programa de doctorado Ciencia Cognitiva y Lenguaje (Universitat de Barcelona).

M. Luz Celaya, Universidad de Barcelona

Mª Luz Celaya

Departamento de Lenguas y Literaturas Modernas y de Estudios Ingleses. Profesora titular.

Júliia Barón, Universitat de Barcelona

Júlia Barón

Profesora asociada Departamento de Lenguas y Literaturas Modernas y de Estudios Ingleses. Coordinadora del Programa de Doctorado en Lingüística Aplicada (Ciencia Cognitiva y Lenguaje, Universitat de Barcelona). Profesora permanente Universitat Internacional de Catalunya


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