Foreign language acquisition in the case of d/Deaf learners: conceptualising compliments through original subtitles


  • Sara Corrizzato Università degli Studi di Bergamo



Foreign languag acquisition, d/Deaf learners, subtitles


The consistently increasing use of inter-lingual subtitles in audiovisual products has become an extraordinarily interesting area of research in many fields, such as the academic and the professional dimension. In fact, the discipline of translating audiovisual product dialogues from the original to the target language is now considered a common practice, which has led to several investigations into face-to-face communicative exchanges. Because of the frequent production of American and English TV series, cartoons, and films, the need for audiovisual translation has grown and, parallel to this, among its flexible and wide application, the practice of subtitling has gained both an inter- as well as an intra-linguistic perspective due to its increasing use for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. 

In the light of these observations, promoting an interdisciplinary approach, original subtitles can be considered and used as a helpful means in teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing Italians the syntactic and pragmatic rules governing complimenting speech acts in the English language. 

Promoting a constructive comparison between mother tongue and foreign language, the comparative analysis of compliments - selected from famous Anglophone films and TV series – helps the learners’ process of linguistic acquisition and cross-cultural pragmatic awareness. 

As a result, the use of authentic audiovisual material for didactic purposes narrows the distance between language and learners, promoting the conceptualisation of complimenting speech acts. Through films, in fact, words become images and images become concepts. 


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Articles (general section) - English language and linguistics