Volume 1, Issue 3 December 2018, pp. 135–147 Download PDF

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Incidental vocabulary learning through watching movies

Robert J. Ashcroft https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8595-955X1, Joseph Garner https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8086-12942, & Oliver Hadingham https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3220-414X3

1 Tokai University, JAPAN bob.ashcroft1971@gmail.com
2 International Christian University, JAPAN joe_garner2003@yahoo.co.uk
3 Rikkyo University, JAPAN oliver17h@gmail.com

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v1n3.89


It is thought that in order to comprehend general conversation at the native-speaker level, it is necessary to know thousands of word families. Vocabulary learning is therefore a vital component to attaining proficiency in a language. The revolution in digital and information technology has dramatically transformed the landscape of resources available to language students. Learners increasingly have access to audio-visual, meaning-focused input, such as DVDs and streamed video material. Studies indicate that such materials can be used as linguistic input to facilitate incidental vocabulary learning, in the same way extensive reading (ER) uses graded readers have traditionally been used for the same purpose. The current study sought to measure the effect of watching a single movie in English, with English captions, on the ability of Japanese students to recall a selection of words taken from the movie script. The results revealed a significant increase in students' ability to recall the words directly after watching the movie. From a list of 42 target words, the mean number of words recalled increased by 1.7 (4.05%) words after viewing. The result suggests that meaning-focused audio-visual input such as movies are a valuable supplementary resource for language learners, which can help provide a welcome boost their rate of vocabulary acquisition.


© Robert J. Ashcroft, Joseph Garner, Oliver Hadingham

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Ashcroft, R.J., Garner, J., & Hadingham, O. (2018). Incidental vocabulary learning through watching movies. Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(3), 135–147. https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v1n3.89

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