A Comparative Study of “Subtitled” vs. “Auditory” Documentaries Comprehension among Persian Speakers of English

Masoud Raee Sharif, Maryam Ebrahimian


This study set out to compare the effect of modality of presentation (subtitled vs. auditory) on the retention of verbal content of documentary films among Iranian EFL students. To this end, 60 participants (30 male and 30 female students) of homogeneous English proficiency were volitionally assigned to one of the two experimental conditions: English soundtrack with no subtitles (ESONSU), no soundtrack with English subtitles (NSOESU). The sample was asked to watch five five-minute documentary clips with the presentation format varied in terms of the verbal information, which was alternatively given in soundtracks and subtitles. Thus, while one group was presented with subtitled documentary excerpts, the other group watched the same clips with the sound tracks. Comparison of the two groups on Mann-Whitney U test illustrated that there is not any significant difference between the rate of comprehension of subtitled documentaries as opposed to audible documentaries. However, females were found to outperform their male counterparts in both subtitled documentaries comprehension (median = 20 vs. male median = 13) and audible documentary comprehension (females’ median = 20.5 vs. males’ median = 13.5).


Listening comprehension, Reading comprehension, Subtitles

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.2n.2p.185


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