Chapter Furthermore, it is significant to mention the

Chapter 1


            Given the role that the media plays
in our present days; English as a foreign language   has become a very demanding means of
communication, since it reflects the core of this media. Therefore, it is
logical to presume that the average individual, not to bring up the EFL
learner, is getting exposed to a fair amount of English language through this
media, incidentally or deliberately. Depending on this fact, this average learner is expected to acquire
some aspects of the language consciously or subconsciously.

Apparently, the media has offered the
learners an authentic environment to perceive and to learn the language in its
genuine form. In accordance, the subject has drawn the scholars’ attention,
prompting them to explore the media’s impact on the audience in general and
leading them to relate the outcomes to the hypotheses of the second language
acquisition. According to (Chomsky, 1975; Haliday, 1975)
language acquisition has been identified as a subconscious procedure that occurs
informally in the context of functional language use.

 Krashen (1982; 1985) stated that a
subconscious process takes a place when a person is acquiring competence in a
second language. This contributes to the fact that it is possible for the EFL
learner to acquire language by being exposed to the media without being aware
of that fact.

Furthermore, it is significant to
mention the positive influence that the media has on the learner, For example:
watching movies may encourage learner’s motivation to pursue and to succeed through the learning process, consequently, this
can help in reducing the “affective filter” that prevents the learners from
having the most of what they receive. The former supposition has been argued by
(Krashen, 1985) who suggests that, fearing failure, some individuals may elevate
an “affective filter” as a defense system which prevents them from employing
the input they might perceive for language acquisition. However, in order to
lower this filter, Krashen proposes that the language programs should be
motivating, non- evaluating and structured to embrace them in ways that cause
them to temporarily forget that they are reading or hearing another language.  

Nevertheless, researches regarding
this topic are not sufficient to rely on, especially in the Middle East region,
despite the fact that this spot of the world is the most places to be
exposed to the English language. The advent of the Internet and modern
technology has contributed to the rapid spread of English, especially in Middle
Eastern societies, which are in constant contact with the West.  Obviously,
the geopolitical importance of these societies has provided the region with a
vital role in the world urging its inhabitants to acquire English two times higher
than the average.  

Considering the previous, I was prompted
to choose this topic to discuss it because I am one of those who acquired
language through the media in several ways. For that reason,  It is interesting to investigate such effects
on the perceivers; sharing their opinions on whether they believe it is
beneficial to learn English through the media and to what extent do they think
it is useful.  

Chapter 2



has been agreed on by the scholars that technology is of an extreme importance
nowadays, since it contributes in bridging the gap between the world’s nations;
in line with that, they emphasize the importance of it in learning and taking on
any form of foreign language. In that context, linguists recommend the
integration of technology in the education system and praise its part in spreading
the language outside the classroom. Moreover, technology represented by the
media has offered the learners the authentic surroundings to acquire the actual
form of language as has been said before. Gass (1997) argues that acquiring a language
can not occur in a vacuum without being exposed to some sort of a language
input. Clearly, new technologies like the TV and the internet have their own
share in encouraging the learners to watch and to acquire the language. Meinhof
(1998) and Moores (1996) indicate that 
the easy access and use of 
digital television, available via cable and satellite, adds a new
dimension to learning from. Needless to say, the informal setting has sometimes
a much more important role in acquiring language the way (Lightbown and Spada,
2001) states; in informal language learning setting, language learners either
interact with native speakers in the target language’s country, or use
different technologies at home or at work, watch a movie, or listen to music or
songs, just as an entertainment, can lead to language learning. Regarding this,
watching movies, whether through the internet or the TV can enhance the learner’s
receptive and productive skills.  


  Other scholars believe that “A new phase of lifelong
learning is being ushered by the advancement in technology tools, which, while
continuing to be cost-efficient for the provider of the education, can be
centered on the individual learner” (Selwyn, Gorard, & Furlong, 2006).  B. Neuman (1992) believes that captioned
movies might benefit bilingual learners for various reasons, one of them is the
combination of picture and sounds that the learners perceive; this might assist
them in making a relationship between words and the meanings.

it is important to learn which skills are targeted in this study from students
perception and what did other scholars find. Skills I am going to discuss are
split into two major types: productive and receptive ones. The productive part
includes oral skills, written skills and reading skills, while the receptive
part includes listening skills, comprehension skills and intercultural skills.

Comprehension and Listening Skills:

(1998) agrees on what B. Neuman says when announcing a positive relationship
between television watching and reading comprehension results for Hispanic
students. In addition, (Koskinnen, Wilson and Gambreel; 1987) finds a
significant improvement in word recognition and oral reading for students who
watch captioned movies. Rahmatian and Armiun (2011), conduct a
study on 44 adult learners split into two groups (“Audio” group and “Video”
group), intent which type of document could improve the listening comprehension
skill to a greater extent. However, by comparing the average results of the two
groups, the final outcomes show that the “Video” group obtained a better result
by 6%.  Concerning other skills such as
listing and speaking; Terrell (1993) explains that listing skills gained by
using video materials provide the learners with an experience that cannot be
gained in traditional classrooms limited to instructors or students’

Joseph R. Weyers (1999) conducts a study with an authentic soap opera to
gauge if it can foster learners’ comprehension and their oral skills; in that
respect, he divides his learners into two groups: experimental and controlled
group. The experiment was carried on two Spanish classes for 8 weeks at the
university of New Mexico. Moreover, students had a pre and a post tests.
Learners were instructed before viewing each episode about the program. The
outcomes of the study indicate that the soap opera is a very beneficial to the
learners’ listening comprehension.

Other scholars mentioned that “learners urge to be more enhanced by using
technology in the process of learning the English language. The visual
dimension of the videotape is believed to reduce the presence of any confusion
more in listening to English native speakers than audio cassettes. Thus,
students will be motivated to learn more. Furthermore, it is notable and
inspiring to figure out that videos contributes in enhancing listening and
written skills, which means that the input and the output of comprehension and
production skills are improved in learning a foreign language. (Herron et al.,
1995; Weyers, 1999). Researchers like (Mackey & Ho, 2008) demonstrate that “multimedia
tools are more useful than traditional prepared or printed materials.  Videos which offer visual, contextual and non-
verbal input supply foreign language learners with visual and aural incentives
which correct any lack of comprehension resulting from listening alone”. Moreover,
these studies prove that videos are highly preferred by the learners for the
authenticity they provide.

and Pavakanun (1996), likely, run a study 
in which 74 Dutch-speaking high school students in Flanders with no sort
of feedback of Spanish language. These learners were divided into nine groups
to view different versions of an animated movie that includes Spanish, Dutch or
an absent audio channel that includes as well, Spanish, Dutch or a version
without subtitles. Instantly, after watching the film, the students were given
a test of Spanish vocabulary.  The
participants who watched the versions containing Spanish subtitles and Dutch
audio utter significantly better than the ones who did not.

similar experiment with learners of a secondary school level found a reasonable
effect of watching television on grammar and greater effect on vocabulary
acquisition (d’Ydewall and Pavakanun, 1997).

additional studies reported in (d’Ydewalle et al., 2006) emphasizing the
incidental grammar acquisition by watching subtitled television and using
Esperanto as a foreign language, did not find a significant result. However,
few studies examine the effect of the media on grammar acquisition and the
majority of them found that instructed learning is generally the most effective
condition for grammar acquisition. 

conducts a study on 42 first grade English Language Teaching (ELT) department
students at the University of Mehmet Akif Ersoy in Turkey. His purpose was to find
whether watching subtitled cartoons would influence incidental vocabulary
acquisition. The learners took pre- and a post-test to ensure the outcomes;
then they were randomly put into two groups (subtitle and no-subtitle group).
However, the outcomes of the study did not support the assumption that the
subtitle group would outperform the no-subtitle group, since there were no
significant differences between two groups, but but there was significant
improvement in both of the groups from pre-test to post-test scores. This
progress was based on the presence of the targeted language.   Etemadi (2012) explores the effects of watching
subtitled movies on EFL learners’ vocabulary recognition. Forty four senior
undergraduate students studying at the Shiraz Islamic Azad University were
chosen from two intact classes and two documentary movies were performed;  one with English subtitles and the other
without subtitles. Both classes watched the two movies in different order. The
outcomes revealed that the participants benefit from watching the movies on the
comprehension level but not with vocabulary recognition. eted words in the

and Beentjes (1999) split 246 primary school children into three groups. One
watched a Dutch-subtitled English language documentary twice, the second group
watched that same documentary twice, but without the subtitles, and a third
(controlled group) watched a Dutch television program without subtitles.
Subsequently, all participants had a vocabulary test of 35 English words that
were used in the documentary. The learners who watched the subtitled version
performed significantly better in the test than those who watched the
non-subtitled version.  The second group
participants performed significantly better than the (controlled group). The
sixth-graders in this study also performed better than the fourth-graders, and
the students who watched the subtitled English television programs at home frequently
outperformed those with a low or medium frequency of watching subtitled programs.

Peeters, Also Spinhof (2002) have confidence that Dutch and Flemish children
are able to pronounce English or American words perfectly-even “slang’ is due
to them listening to English-language music, playing computer games, and
watching subtitled television., being exposed to an authentic input of a
foreign language classes is significant because it is essential to the progress
of the learners’ communicative competence (Baltova, 2000, Weyers, 1999).


In a
comparative vein, Forsman (as cited to Sjöholm, 2004) clarifies that the  students in the southern part of Finland are
more proficient in English than the individuals in the Western part by the fact
that, on an average, the ‘Southerners’ practice 15 hours per week more on
English leisure activities (especially television/video and music) than the
latter. Moreover,  movies provide the learners
with the native speaker’s real dialect better than what can be taught in
classrooms (Crowell & Au, 1981; Richardson & Scinicariello, 1989). Kalean
(2013)  conducts a classroom
action research claiming that watching films raises learners’ scores of oral
skills from 60.32 up to 70.81.  

(2003) implies that “technology is necessary to improve the language ability of
students simultaneously inside and outside of the educational context. Teachers
who teach English as a second language realize 
the students’ demands to use English away from the classroom in order to
develop communicative competence”.

in another classroom action research study by Agusta (2015), the pupils’ ability
in writing narrative text increases from 58.8 in the pre-test to 76.1 in the
post-test. This research,  proves as well,
 that the students’ grammatical
capabilities has increased dramatically, especially the using of the past
tense. Ismail (2016) suggests that using of movies in the reading process is a
possible idea as well since most of the movies are the products of literary works.
Alqadi (2015) shares the same view with Ismail by stating that “movies have
been profoundly influenced by literary works”.  


other skills, many researches have been applied to explore language, communication
and culture in many different settings for various analytical purposes (e.g.,
Carbaugh, 1990; Thomas, 1990; Martin, Nakayama & Flores, 1998; Di Luzio,
Gor & Orletti, 2001).  According Sawyer
and Smith (1994), “language and culture are related to one another”. Therefore,
it is important to recognize the link between language and culture, the role of
culture in communication process and the significant relationship between them
in enhancing the intercultural competence (Poyatos, 2002a). Clyne (1996) and Lo
Bianco (2003) consider language as the most extensive manifestation of a
civilization. For each individual, their human value system, cultural and
linguistic patterns are structured both as a consequence of their primary
socialization within the household and community  in addition to their interactions with the wider
groups in which they participate. Actually, without pragmatic knowledge of the
language targeted and without having a background of how this language works,
it is impossible for the learners to improve their communicative skills, even
if they own the sufficient vocabulary or the sufficient grammar input. Thus,
without being exposed to any sort of authentic environment, learners are not
expected to improve their competence; and here comes the role of the media to
offer this authentic material to be benefiting from.

(2008) looks into ways of enhancing the intercultural, non-verbal competence
through watching films by university students majoring in English in Thailand. Five
dimensions of nonverbal communication where there are pronunciation differences
between Thai and native English norms are explored: facial expressions, eye
contact and gaze, bodily communication, kinesics (touching), and oral
communication. The study uses many qualitative and quantitative approaches in
conducting classroom research on the learning and the teaching of nonverbal
communication within university EFL speaking and listening skills classes; 73
second year  students majoring in English
were randomly chosen to  participate in
one of two different teaching interventions both of which involved the use of
the same four American and Australian contemporary films. Adopting a
quasi-experimental pre and posttest design the study includes three phases of
data collection: (1) pre- teaching assessment, (2) teaching phase, and (3)
post- teaching assessment. The pre and post teaching assessments examine the
pupils attitudes towards the comprehension of the ability to apply the  nonverbal communication when communicating in
English in intercultural setting. The post teaching assessment covers these
same areas together with additional qualitative data collection about students’
experiences of participation in the study. 
In comparison with students from the control group, students from the
experimental group who had participated in the explicit teaching of nonverbal
communication had 1) a positive attitudes towards nonverbal communication of
English native speakers (b)  a great
vertical extent of understanding of  the
nonverbal communication of English native speakers.

data confirmed the quantitative outcomes. Furthermore, the results affirm that
non- native speakers are able to acquire the communicative competence in their
homelands rather than traveling abroad for that purpose. When films are used
appropriately, may provide effective native speaker modeling and opportunities
for practice.

Input/Intake hypothysis:

it is important for the scholars to understand why
this authentic environment is important and how does it function. K. Rocque
(1998) indicates that in order to capture how this input becomes intake; one
should cover what the input is.  Input
functions in two different dimensions, as verbal and non- verbal cues.
Gestures, for instance, takes place along the majority of the communication
between two individuals (Bacon, 1989). Input can be unidirectional, such as
when you are watching a movie or listening to a speaker and it can be
multidirectional, like when one speaks with another person (Doughty & Long,
2003b; Swain & Madden, 1985). Because this input differs from one setting
to another the complexity also varies: for example, notice that when two adults
are communicating with one another they use different language that teenagers
use. Evenly, it is critical to pay attention to speech acts, like apologies,
promising and making demands, etc. (Gass & Mackey, 2002). In relation, it
is important for the learner to comprehend and finally produce all of these
complex cues. Here, films function as an authentic background that includes all
these types of complexities starting with register, speech acts, morphology,
syntax and ending with phonology, pauses, and even occasional errors (Porter
& Roberts, 1981). Authentic films are an encouraging source of input for
several reasons, but mostly, because it is the only form of input that provides
a real life example. (Altman, 1989; Garza, 1996; Kramsch, 1993; Lonergan,
1984). Krashen (1991) illustrates the relationship between receptive skills and
productive skills through his input/output hypothesis; he explains that input
will gradually become a good intake depending on the quality and the quantity
of this comprehensible input.



all that, it is important to observe the entertainment part that such a
material offers which soften the learning process. Movies in general catch the
learners’ attention; heading  towards
lowering the anxiety of learning by reducing the “affective filter” of the
learner. Overall,  Films can be better
than other instructional media for connecting one idea to another, for
constructing continuity of thought, and for creating dramatic impact. As Trent
(2011) affirms that motivation is a fundamental conductor in defining the
average of the acquisition process of a language where it basically concerns to
desire, to pay attention, to have some effort, 
to set goals and to be confident. King (2002) argues that “Displaying
complete film boost student motivation to such an extent that students are
clearly impressed with how much English they can figure out. Their confidence
soars when they recognize that understanding a movie is not unmanageable as
they had originally thought”.


  Shea (1995) suggests persuasively that using
movies is  theoretically and  practically a good method of teaching
English. “If I cut up the film in five minute segments, concentrating on
the linguistic structure and the form of the language, the students might never
have realized the emotional power and narrative dynamic of the video as a story
about important things in the human experience, aesthetic and ethical things
like dreams, vision, and commitment; things that drive language and ultimately
motivate students to learn it in the first place”. 


Trent (2011) carries out a thesis to examine the development of second language
acquisition of US immigrants via the mass media as a part of the acculturation
process. Nine international students of a major midwestern university
participated in 25-60 minute interviews. By analyzing the data, the scholar
finds out that the key factor that the media provides is that it motivates the
learners to acquire language easily and smoothly.  Additionally, he discovers that movies are
“most effective medium assisting participants’ acquisition of the English
language”. F. Trent (2011) suggests that the intensive audiovisual experience
may lay behind the learners’ fast acquisition of the language.

(2015) investigates the movie’s impact on EFL Learners at Iraqi School in Kuala
Lumpur. 20 students from Iraqi school at Kuala Lumpur-Malaysia participated in
the experiment. The findings suggest that the process of learning becomes
faster after watching movies than reading books.

understand language in faster and with more precision compared to book based
learning alone. Woldkowsik identified the factors that influence motivation-
attitudes with needs, personal feelings, stimulation, reinforcement and
competence (Davis, 1993 quoted Goldenber, 2008).   


sum up, clearly, new technologies and media have a great impact on the learners
in general. However, watching movies and films do cover the major part in the
process of learning a foreign language. However, watching films may improve some
skills better than the others; for instance: listening and reading skills come
first in that category, then intercultural and communicative skills. Grammar
and written skills may not receive the same position in line with that. Recently,
many studies have been carried on to explore the role media plays in relation
to acquiring the language and many obtained the same results. Nevertheless, my
purpose here to induct student’s perception of acquiring the language through
the media and if they think it is a good idea. In addition, the study will
cover all the skills which were discussed in this chapter.