Audiovisual Programs as Sources of Language Input: An Overview

Taher Bahrani
2013 International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching & Research   unpublished
Audiovisual devices such as satellite and conventional televisions can offer easy access to authentic programs which are considered to be a rich source of language input for SLA (Second Language Acquisition). The immediacy of various audiovisual programs ensures that language learners' exposure is up-to-date and embedded in the real world of native speakers. In the same line, in the present paper, some anecdotal as well as experimental studies conducted to highlight the pedagogical values of
more » ... ogical values of various audiovisual programs such as news broadcasts, movies, cartoons, series and documentary films are reviewed. The related literature indicates that most of the studies are anecdotal which highlight the pedagogical values of various audiovisual programs as sources of authentic language input particularly in an EFL context where access to social interaction in English as a potential source of language input is limited. As a result, teachers are encouraged to expose the language learners to various audiovisual programs to enhance second language acquisition. Sources of language input in EFL/ESL contexts Various sources of language input are available in English as a second language (ESL) and English as a foreign language (EFL) contexts. Before the discussion on the sources of language input in EFL and ESL contexts is put forth, the concepts of ESL and EFL contexts need to be elaborated. An ESL context is an environment where English language is spoken in society as the official language or the medium of communication among people from different countries. In fact, English language plays an institutional and social role in the community in an ESL context (Ellis, 2008). According to Ellis (2008), in an ESL context, English language functions as a means of communication among members who speak various languages. In contrast, an EFL context refers to an environment where English language is not the primary or secondary spoken language. Indeed, English is considered as a foreign language rather than a second language and the use is limited to language classrooms (Freed, 1995). In EFL contexts, English language has no major role in society and is learnt in the classroom setting (Ellis, 2008). Back to the discussion on the available sources of language input in EFL/ESL contexts, it should be mentioned that in ESL contexts, people can have interaction with other people from different countries using the English language. English is then considered as a source of language input which can facilitate and pave the way for SLA (Gass, 1997). The social interaction in ESL contexts is one of the authentic sources of language input which can help language learners acquire the language in informal settings. This has been emphasized by Long's (1996) Interaction Hypothesis in which conversational interaction enhances SLA. Accordingly, negotiation of meaning which triggers interactional adjustments by the native speakers or more proficient interlocutors in social interaction can contribute to SLA. In contrast, in an EFL context, social interaction as a source of language input in an informal language learning setting is
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