Great Demand for Film Subtitling

Learning foreign languages with help of films and serials from different resources is becoming more popular. Perception of English speech by ear for a Russian-speaking audience is understandable — the main problem. Contrary to logic, «more English» (sound + text) doesn’t mean its more effective assimilation. Below are the advantages of Russian subtitles in comparison with the original language.

1. We are forced to listen more attentively to the speech. Conversational aspects — tempo, rhythm, intonation, reduction, reservations and corrections — receive your undivided attention. You watch movies in a foreign language for that, don’t you?

2. We better learn the sound of individual phonemes, which means that we begin to understand the coherent speech by ear sooner. If you read English subtitles, then brain easily (but not exactly) reconstructs the sound of the phrase, rather than perceiving it through hearing. Having deprived brain of this, you will not allow it to interpret English sounds through letters, as we used to do in Russian. In addition, over and over again recognizing the same sound by ear, you get an idea of the variability in its pronunciation. Brain will not bother with this, if you already understand from the substring what sound «should» sound in this place.

3. We get weaned from literal translation. When we see the English text, in shortage of time our brain is limited to literal translation. It seems that the main thing is that they have got the sense, but you should spare your brain. This is a rather pernicious habit from the point of view of fluency and naturalness of your speech. In this sense, a direct correspondence between whole phrases and phrases with preservation of the context is much more effective.

4. You will get more pleasure from watching the movie. Since in Russian we read much faster, we still have time to follow what is happening on the screen. Again, the context, emotions and actions accompanying speech — help us to correctly perceive and better understand what we hear.

Of course, you shouldn’t completely abandon the subtitles in the original language. It all depends on what you are currently working on. If your priority task at the moment is to expand the vocabulary, then perhaps you really remember more words when you see how they are written. Although in this case it can be argued that the word has more chances to be remembered if it is first learned by ear, since for brain this is a priority speech channel compared to reading.

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