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Enhancing Vocabulary Learning through Captioned Video: An Eye-Tracking Study

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Modern Language Journal Volume 99, Number 2, ISSN 0026-7902


This study investigates the effect of two attention-enhancing techniques on L2 students' learning and processing of novel French words (i.e., target words) through video with L2 subtitles or captions. A combination of eye-movement data and vocabulary tests was gathered to study the effects of Type of Captioning (full or keyword captioning) and Test Announcement, realized by informing (intentional) or not informing (incidental) learners about upcoming vocabulary tests. The study adopted a between-subjects design with two independent variables (Type of Captioning and Test Announcement) resulting in four experimental groups: full captioning, incidental; full captioning, intentional; keyword captioning, incidental; keyword captioning, intentional. Results indicated that learners in the keyword groups outperformed the other groups on the form recognition test. Analyses of learners' total fixation and second pass time on the target words revealed a significant interaction effect between Type of Captioning and Test Announcement. Results also suggest that second pass as well as total fixation duration and word learning positively correlated for learners in the full captioning, intentional group: The longer their fixations on a given word, the more likely correct recognition became. Results are discussed in relation to attention and word learning through video.


Perez, M.M., Peters, E. & Desmet, P. (2015). Enhancing Vocabulary Learning through Captioned Video: An Eye-Tracking Study. Modern Language Journal, 99(2), 308-328. Retrieved February 23, 2020 from .

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