Archive for January, 2011

Cell Phone Music Video Subtitles Enhance Language Learning

January 21, 2011

An October 30th, 2010 Boston Globe article describes research in India on (low-cost) subtitling of music videos that shows — if the subtitles are in the _same_ language as the spoken/sung dialogue — this enhances basic literacy in that language.

In many parts of the world low-income people watch these popular videos, including on their (inexpensive Chinese-made) mobile phones capable of showing broadcast TV.

This is not an endorsement of these phones, but here is a web page of some examples.

Along the same lines, below is a post from the LINCS Technology list about Tunewiki, on subtitling songs on mobile phones:

Date: Wed, 5 Jan 2011 11:35:20 -0600
From: “Van Gravlee”>>
Subject: [Tech & DL 2971] ESOL
To: The Technology and Distance Learning Discussion

I just stumbled on what I think is a promising tool for ESOL and other literacy instruction —

see it at

The program displays lyrics as a song is played — the lyrics can be in one of 40 languages — the songs can be of any language — more obscure songs will not have lyrics available — but it did great with my eclectic collection

There is an app for almost any cell phone (must be able to use JAVA for the lower end phones) — or for desktop browsers.

There is an iphone / ipad / ipod game — lyric legend in which the user clicks on words as they are being sung to get points. – app is free, have to buy the songs from them – @ 99 cents each

I will use the tunewiki to listen to Spanish broadcasts on my iphone toggling to see the English and Spanish versions of the lyrics — I think this could be far more immediate and motivating than subtitled movies for learning English, or in my case Spanish, or maybe Serbian

Van Gravlee