Short-term and Long-term Retention of Vocabulary through Authentic Subtitled Videos

Nader Asadi Aidinlou, Alireza Moradinejad


The current study made an attempt to compare the impacts of teaching authentic materials through traditional techniques with teaching authentic materials through authentic use, where students in the experimental group were taught new vocabulary items of subtitles through watching subtitled videos, and control group were taught the same vocabulary items from subtitles using traditional instruction of vocabulary. The participants of the study consisted of 36 Iranian students from both genders. In order to ensure the homogeneity of the participants, Oxford Placement Test (2004) was administered. Then they were randomly put into two groups (18 students in each group).  Immediately after the study and three weeks after the study vocabulary tests were administered to the both groups. The results indicated that the students of control group outperformed in short-term retention. However, the experimental group outperformed in long-term retention, indicating the superiority of learning vocabulary through watching subtitled videos in long-term retention of vocabulary. As many learners do not develop long-term mastery of the vocabulary, teaching vocabulary items through watching videos with subtitles can help them store and retrieve vocabulary items better.

Keywords: Authentic materials, Subtitled videos, Subtitles, Long-term retention, Short-term Retention

Full Text:



Al Azri, R. H., & Al-Rashdi, M. H. (2014). The effect of using authentic materials in teaching. International journal of scientific & technology research, 3(10), 249-254.

Berardo, S. A. (2006). The use of authentic materials in the teaching of reading. The reading matrix, 6(2), 60-69.

Breen, M.P. (1985). Authenticity in the language classroom. Applied Linguistics, 6, 60–70.

Gu, Y. (2003). Vocabulary learning in a second language: Person, task, context and strategies. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, 7(2), 1-25. Retrieved May 5, 2016, from

Guariento, W., & Morley, J. (2001). Text and task authenticity in the EFL classroom. ELT Journal, 55(4), 347–353.

Gulikers, J. T. M., Bastiaens, T. J. & Martens, R. L. (2005). The surplus value of an authentic learning environment. Computers in Human Behavior. 21, 509–521.

Harji, M. B., Woods, P. C., & Alavi, Z. K. (2010). The effect of viewing subtitled videos on vocabulary learning. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 7, 37-42.

Hwang, C. C. (2005). Effective EFL Education through Popular Authentic Materials. Asian EFL Journal, 7(1).90-101.

Lertola, J. (2012). The effect of the subtitling task on vocabulary learning. Retrieved April 11, 2016 from

MacDonald, M. N.& Badger, R. Dasli, M. (2006). Authenticity, culture and language learning. Language and Intercultural Communication, 6(3 & 4), 250-26.

Nemati, A. (2009). Memory vocabulary learning strategies and long-term retention. International Journal of Vocational and Technical Education, 1(2), 14-24.

Peacock, M. (1997). The effect of authentic materials on the motivation of EFL learners. ELT Journal, 51(2), 144-156.

Richards, J. C., Rodgers, T. C. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching (2nd Ed). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sabouri, H., Zohrabi, M. & Osbouei, Z. K. (2015). The impact of watching English subtitled movies in vocabulary learning in different genders of Iranian EFL learners. International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature, 3(2), 110-125.

Şaraplı, O. (2011). The use of authentic materials in the second language classrooms: Advantages and disadvantages. Dil Dergisi, 154, 37-43.

Shomoossi, N. & Ketabi, S. (2007). A critical look at the concept of authenticity. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching. 4(1). Pp 149-155.

Shrosbree, M. (2008). Digital video in the language classroom. The JALT CALL Journal, 4(1), 75-84.

Taylor, D. (1994). Inauthentic Authenticity or Authentic Inauthenticity? The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, 1(2), 1-12. Retrieved May 5, 2016, from

Vanderplank, R. 1988. The value of teletext sub-titling in language learning. ELT Journal, 42, 272-281.

Zanon, N. T. (2006). Using subtitles to enhance foreign language learning. Porta Linguarum 6. Retrieved may 6, 2016, from

Zanon, N. T. (2007). Learning vocabulary through authentic video and subtitles. TESOL-SPAIN Newsletter 31, 5-8

Zarei, A. (2009). The effect of bimodal, standard, and reversed subtitling on L2 vocabulary recognition and recall. Pazhuhesh-e Zabanha-ye Khareji, 49, 65-84.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

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

2010-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.