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Wednesday, August 12 • 2:00pm - 2:50pm
An Approach to Analyze and Select Film Segments Based on Learners' Vocabulary Levels

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Video segments from foreign language films and TV dramas have appeared in language teaching, learning and testing for several years, especially since the advent of the digital format became popular. There are many advantages such as appeal and interest, authenticity of materials, dialogic discourse and natural context, real language settings, language with culture, better comprehension, student motivation, flexible teaching and learning activities, etc. However, the process is time-consuming and it can be difficult to find video segments from films or TV series to appropriately match lessons and students’ linguistic competence apart from the technological demands. Using 21 Chinese films, this presentation will reports at which level and how much of the foreign language films can be understood based on students’ vocabulary levels. Moreover, a practical approach applicable to all languages will be demonstrated that quickly match and highlight the words in the film subtitles using a list of vocabulary words by lessons, levels and textbooks. Additionally, a simple and free video tool will be demonstrated to extract exemplary segments quickly.


Digital video clips from films and TV series have appeared more frequently in language teaching, and learning, especially when video on demand technology became popular. These clips frequently appear on video hosting sites and in learning management systems. Educators have taken advantage of the video clips for teaching and learning as well as conducted studies on the effectiveness of multimodal learning such as text with picture vs. video clips (Chun & Plass, 1996; CISCO System, INC, 2008). Some institutions even developed their own video retrieval systems (Jeng, et al., 2008), MPEG-7 descriptors (Bertini et al., 2006), or online library of film clips (Kaiser, 2011). However, when examining actual usage, the presenter found that very few instructors took advantage of the video materials made accessible to his institution.

This presentation will report how many registered instructors requested foreign language film clips for actual instruction, how frequently they requested the films and/or clips, and what percentage of vocabulary words at a particular level matched the film subtitles based on corpus analysis. Because Chinese instructors attended an introductory presentation and an additional hands-on workshop, the presenter will explore their usage and further issues related to finding appropriate film clips. Even though the instructors had access to the online film clip library, it was not open to the public and few of the films are tagged in full length. The presenter will show a simple and practical method to match and highlight subtitles of 21 Chinese films available to his institution and students’ vocabulary levels based on a lesson or particular level. The method may benefit attendees who do not have access to video retrieval systems but wish to incorporate video clips into their curricula. Additionally, the audience will see how to quickly extract the selected segments with a free video tool.


Fuqiang Zhuo

University of California, Davis

Wednesday August 12, 2015 2:00pm - 2:50pm EDT
William James 105 33 Kirkland St Cambridge, MA