Prof. van Heuven from University ofNottingham delivered a lecture on incidental acquisition of foreign languagevocabulary on the afternoon of Dec. 7th, 2017.
He hTheeHH He first introduced the audience to theadvantages of subtitles as an information-rich resource for vocabularyacquisition studies. Subtitled films, videos and programs were easily availableand constituted a multi-modal situation with sound track (auditory modality),subtitles (visual modality) and dynamic images (visual modality). Researcherscould vary the language in the soundtrack and subtitles to suit differentlevels of learners. There were three variations concerning the matching of thesoundtrack and subtitles: 1) the standard one with foreign language as thesoundtrack and native language as subtitles; 2) intralingual/(closed) captionswith same language for the soundtrack and subtitles; 3) the reversed conditionwith native language as the soundtrack and foreign language as subtitles.Although a large number of studies in the last 30 years had found the impact ofcaptions (intralingual subtitles) on foreign language learning and teaching,there were few studies using meta-anlaysis and delayed post-tests. Theunderlying mechanism of the impact remained unclear. Addressing these problems,Prof. van Heuven used eye tracking technique and found that subjects processedsubtitles under different subtitling conditions (standard, reversed andintralingual) and foreign language vocabulary learning occurred during theprocess. In the second part of the lecture, he continued to present a series ofexperiments that investigated incidental learning of foreign languagevocabulary in a multi-modal situation. Processing of the foreign languagemulti-model inputs (pictures, spoken words and written words) resulted in anincidental learning effect. This incidental learning advantage happened with asmall number of exposures and could remain after a time delay. The incidentallearning effect was originally observed in a study using Welsh and laterreplicated in Korean and Greek studies.
During the Q & A session. Prof. vanHeuven discussed at length with the audience the pedagogic application of theincidental word learning findings and directions for future studies.