Are subtitles useful for language learners?




captions , subtitles, redundancy effect, foreign language listening anxiety, language learning, multimedia learning


Despite the seemingly commonsensical view that captions or subtitles aid comprehension, empirical research is less certain about their recommendation for all language learners. This review article introduces some of the theoretical foundations of multimedia learning before examining recent studies investigating the facilitative effect of L2 captions, L1 subtitles and dual-language subtitles. Qualitative insights from research are then presented, with implications for both research and teaching practice further discussed.  The article concludes by underlining the importance of learner perspectives due to the complexity of factors affecting the pedagogical value of captions and subtitles.

Author Biography

  • Calum To, University of Oxford

    Calum To graduated from St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford in 2012 with a BA (Hons) in History before completing the Cambridge CELTA and moving to Vietnam as a fledgling teacher and heritage language learner. Having taught across a range of educational contexts in Vietnam, China and Japan, he decided to pursue an MSc in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching at St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. His research interests, drawn from his own background and teaching experience, are related to Global Englishes, listening instruction pedagogy, sociolinguistics and accent varieties.


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To (2024)







How to Cite

To, C. (2024). Are subtitles useful for language learners?. Journal of Language Teaching, 4(2), 1-6.

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