• Using YouTube to Enhance L2 Listening Skills: Animated Cartoons in the Italian Classroom

      Maranzana, Stefano; University of Arizona (2014-11-07)
      Today’s language teachers find increasing resources online that allow greater variety of authentic material. With the opportunities offered by digital video, the traditional listening comprehension activity has reached new potential for incidental learning and learner’s autonomy (Robin, 2011). While conscious attention is on the message delivered by the audiovisual, learners assimilate new words from context without intending to do so, stimulating incidental vocabulary learning (Carlisle, 2007). Video’s inherent multimodality makes sensory information available in various semiotic codes, allowing to the comprehension of information via separate channels (Guichon & McLornan, 2008). This case study involves three students of advanced Italian at a large American University. It will argue in favor of video cartoons as a valuable tool to foster a constructive environment for the acquisition of the L2 (Bahrani, 2014). Specifically, we will look at British award-winning preschool cartoon Peppa Pig in its Italian version. The rationale for choosing this particular cartoon includes: 5 minutes of episode length, authentic interpersonal language and descriptive prose, slow pace of speech, familiar every-day and humorous stories, free online access and the possibility to activate captions. Furthermore, this cartoon may be used for listening comprehension for the 30 other languages in which it has been translated. Feedback from university-level students confirms the potential of this particular cartoon and will be presented in this poster. Students reported strong motivation due to the low affective filter environment (Rule & Ague, 2005) as well as improvement in areas like vocabulary, pragmatics and idiomatic expressions from contextual clues.