To Read or Not To Read Chinese Subtitle?

April 18, 2011, 10:17 AM posted in General Discussion

Hi To Anyone,


    I have been trying ( For a Long Long Time )to find out if by reading the subtitle in any Chinese Television/Movie  Show will slow down your Listening Comprehension or not? There are some people who says that: "Do not read the chinese subtitles otherwise you will not improve your Listening Comprehension skill. However there are also a group the says "No its Ok you will still learn....


Any idea? Pls. Share your Thoughts Thanks

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April 18, 2011, 10:44 AM

If you have the time, I think it is best to watch the movie twice. First time with subtitles so you can actually understand the movie - and enjoy it. Then watch it again without subtitles. If you already know the plot, it is a lot easier to concentrate on the language.

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does this goes also for Chinese TV/Radio News? Since Chinese TV/Radio news is much much harder than the movies any suggestions/Advise Thanks again

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April 18, 2011, 10:53 AM

Usual disclaimers: no one right answer. do what's best for you. everyone's different.....

Usual plug around using study methods verified by research as opposed to old wives' tales and "I think"s..

My hypothesis around using Chinese movies with subtitles to improve your Chinese is that they are a great resource for people whose working spoken vocabulary is around 800 - 1500 words, and 25-50 sentence patterns. You will therefore be able to bootstrap yourself higher by using a Chinese film, subtitles or no subtitles. If you only know fewer words, or don't have working knowledge of them or the required sentence patterns, then you'd better get a very specialized movie full of content you already know. Like you've memorized every line of dialogue in Star Wars (and I do mean memorized every line), and now you have the Chinese language version. IT'S most effective (per shadowing guru Anthony Arguelles) if you say out loud the Chinese you hear, and speak the lines with Luke and Han and Lord Vader and so on.

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April 18, 2011, 07:38 PM

I find that I end up listening for a word order  that is English and thus don't understand sentences  that I should.   Not only that I'm convinced that sometimes the subtitles englishify  the dialog. My vocabulary is not good enough to always catch this but I have definitely caught them doing it a few times...


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April 19, 2011, 05:31 AM

I like using subtitles.  I would do what feels right for you.  You will probably sense if subtitles are a crutch, and discontinue if you do.  I don't think there is a universal right or wrong answer here.  

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April 19, 2011, 02:48 PM

I had an epiphany once - the point at which I realised that my 听力 improved when I closed my eyes. Difficult to do when having a conversation (without getting a bad reputation) but possible if listening to the radio or 'watching' the TV. 

Generally my advice is to concentrate on listening rather than reading sub-titles. I do sometimes check subtitles to verify a word here and there, but I usually can't read it all and listen at the same time. I'm too slow, for a start. 

Of course, if you don't understand the vocab then you won't understand what is being said, or what you read in the subtitles, so sometimes catching a look at the picture helps. :) 

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I agree about closing your eyes! Sometimes I do this when listening to a CPod lesson. It's amazing how much it helps.