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Keywords:

  • beginning learners;
  • captioned video;
  • listening comprehension;
  • processing strategies;
  • Spanish

Abstract: This study is an examination of the use of captioned video with beginning students of Spanish. Two groups of students watched a Spanish-language video with or without Spanish captioning and the groups' comprehension scores were compared. Students in the captioning group described how they used the pictures, sound, and captioning to understand the video. To test for differences due to the length of Spanish study, the data were divided into first-year students versus those with 3 to 4 years of study. Students with more study outscored those in their first year in the captioning session, but not in the no-captioning session. The strategy measure indicated that more first-year students than third-year students found the captions distracting and had difficulty attending to all three channels of sound, image, and captions. Nevertheless, students in both sessions expressed unsolicited positive attitudes toward the captions. The issue is raised whether, with exposure and practice, captioned video can be a valuable aid to comprehension for beginners.