This study reports on the use and effects of a medical-themed film in English classes for pharmaceutical science and nursing majors. The selection of a film is a critical issue in film-based language classes, and the use of a film closely related to learners’ major has the potential to motivate them further in their study of both language and their chosen field. Thus, in order to explore such a possibility, a variety of medical-themed films were examined and course materials were developed based upon one such film, “Awakenings,” in which a doctor uses a then-experimental drug to “awaken” patients who have been catatonic for decades as a result of an encephalitis epidemic. The film was deemed potentially useful for these classes, not only in that it portrays the excitement and the heartbreak of clinical research, but also in that nurses and pharmacists play important roles in the film. An experiment was conducted utilizing an ESP (English for Specific Purposes) approach, to verify the effectiveness of the course material. The results revealed that the use of a medical-themed film was effective in helping improve the listening abilities of learners as well as motivate them. The implications of the findings are also discussed.
Numerous studies have provided theoretical discussions on the advantages of using movies to teach a second/foreign language. The purpose of this study is to add further support by empirically investigating the effects of using film to develop listening skills among Japanese EFL learners. This paper first discusses the advantages of using movies to teach L2 listening skills and then presents the findings of a pre- and post-test experimental design with an experimental group and a control group. The collected data from Japanese high school students was analyzed using Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) to assess the differences between the groups in the post-test mean scores after accounting for the pretest scores. The results show that the listening skills of the students in the experimental group—measured by original listening tests consisting of English listening comprehension and sound recognition questions—improved significantly more than those of the control group students. Although this study has several limitations such as the relatively small number of participants and defective control of other factors that could affect their learning, it indicates that film-based instruction can improve learners’ listening skills.
The purpose of this study was to explore the characteristics of a good public speech performance in terms of phonetic and non-verbal gesture aspects. The video recordings and the scripts of the commencement speech delivered by four different speakers, during the graduation ceremonies at Harvard or Stanford University, were obtained from the official websites. First, we analyzed a distribution of speech pauses based on their types and duration. In the following analysis, we analyzed patterns of facial movements during performance, focusing on the frequency of lifting the head. The present analysis identified the following findings: 1) Average durations of pauses at period were longer than those of pauses at comma and other pauses for all four speakers, but individual difference was found for the average durations of pauses at period. 2) All speakers showed rhythmical patterns of facial movements, and there was a correlation between the speech rate and the frequency of lifting the head. These results are expected to be useful for improving the teaching of English public-speaking skills in EFL classrooms.
In this practical education report, we introduce and discuss the World of Warcraft Educational Project and Integrated Curriculum (WoW-EPIC), an innovative ongoing L2 English education project at the University of Shiga Prefecture, that engages participants in language and cross-cultural communication skill development through a combination of a movie script read-through and task- and project-based learning activities in both a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and in real life. Building on our presentation at the 20th ATEM National Convention in August 2014, this report describes the results of this project after a semester-long pilot study involving 8 students. Our principal goals in this project were to (a) inspire students to have fun with English, (b) enable students to communicate and connect with people from other cultures, and (c) improve students’ English abilities and develop a range of other “21st-century skills” (skills that are generally regarded as being important in the information age). We find our goals were well met through the movie read-through, in the game, and in face-to-face classroom activities, and are looking forward to continuing the project.
The aim of this practical education report is to review my attempts over five years to utilize the American film Dead Poets Society in reading and listening classes at five universities. Before having my students view the film, first I teach the meaning of “carpe diem,” the key word of the film according to Robert Herrick’s interpretation in ”To the Virgins, Make Much of Time.” Then, I instruct them on the content of their presentation and for the topics of the written assignment. The purpose of the presentation is to improve their speaking ability and their presentation skills. I also try to develop their writing and critical thinking skills by providing essays in English to read. The examination of their assignment reveals that they have thought about the significance of poetry and multifaceted thinking. Most students were impressed by the movie judging by the fact that the average grading point of this film by 1,009 participants is 8.2 on a scale of 1 to 10. In addition, this movie is very effective in familiarizing students with English and American poetry, which Japanese students rarely have chances to read.
Pragmatic competence is an essential skill to master when learning a second or foreign language. In this paper we will address the appropriate formulas to disagree in English. As the act of disagreeing varies from culture to culture, Japanese university students need to understand how to express and respond to a disagreement while maintaining a good relationship with the interlocutor. The purpose of this paper is (1) to identify disagreement strategies that native speakers of English use to mitigate a conflict: linguistic devises such as hedges, modal auxiliaries, and pragmatic devises including shifting responsibilities and giving personal or emotional reasons for disagreeing; (2) to analyze strategies of argumentation in the discourse: how they argue their claim logically with warrant and backing; (3) to present an example of pedagogical applications to improve Japanese university students’ pragmatic competence in disagreement.
Some literature claims that the use of a third person pronoun: he or she, is rude to the addressee in communication in English in case the person is within earshot of the speaker. The paper investigated the reason for the claim by analyzing conversation in an American drama series from the viewpoint of what impression or influence the use would have on the addressees. The analysis was made by employing indices used in pragmatics and sociolinguistics to identify these inherently vague elements objectively. The results showed that in case the use of the third person pronouns was inevitable, approx. 80% of it gave unpleasant impression or influence such as accusation, alienation and insult, and they often accompanied offensive gestures or strong tones. What was commonly observed was its effect of psychologically distancing the addresses. Further, it was also common that in the aforementioned cases, the positive politeness strategies used to build a good relationship between the addressors and addressees were not employed, therefore, it was likely that the unpleasant impression or influence was conveyed directly to the addressees. The paper concluded that these common elements were one reason why the use of the third person pronouns was considered offensive to the addressees.
This paper analyzes the meaning of proper names in terms of “Reference Point” through the lines in English movies. According to the traditional linguistic definition, proper names would naturally be a name that can only be used in the speaking of one individual and refer only to the thing itself that is named. On the other hand, as Jesperson (1955:64-71) had pointed out, it is utterly impossible to draw a sharp line of demarcation between proper names and common names. In fact, the meaning of proper names varies in certain degrees depending on the context and the situation in which it is used. By employing such cognitive notion as “Reference Point”, the expansion of meaning of proper names can be explained effectively. The prime importance here is the way in which names are actually employed by speakers and understood by listeners. As Jesperson remarked, if proper names as actually understood did not connote many attributes, we would be at a loss to understand or explain the everyday phenomenon of a proper name becoming a common name. We share a kind of social reputation or knowledge of it and employ the system of “Reference Point” unconsciously in order to understand the expansive meaning of proper names.
This paper discusses the role of discourse markers (henceforth DMs) also, besides and plus, which are often used in spoken contexts in order to add information or opinions to what has been said earlier. So far the difference in usage among these DMs has been given simply in the terms of register: formal versus informal or spoken versus written. Even in descriptions of English dictionaries, it has been difficult for English language learners to find out how to use these words. The aim of this paper is to explore what the cognitive effect the DMs also, besides and plus have on meanings in a given utterance. I will, focusing on some cases of these DMs seen in movie captions, identify their functional meanings by examining the contexts in the discourse that they are used, what kinds of utterances are used and/or speech acts are performed before and after them, how given information is connected to each other and what the speakers intend to communicate by using these DMs. I will also show the functional difference among these DMs.
The issue of identity in literature and movies has been mainly discussed from the perspective of race, ethnicity, class, and gender, but in this paper we would like to approach the issue from the perspective of disability. According to Lennard Davis, Disability Studies, which is related to social, cultural, and political factors and issues, started to be recognized as a field of academic study in the 1970s. In this still-developing field, speech and language disorders, which are sometimes problematic in being defined as disabilities, have not been discussed enough, compared to the visible physical disabilities. Especially, stuttering has been portrayed in stereotypical terms for many years. However, there is a growing interest in the portrayal of speech and language disorders in popular culture, and in particular several movies in recent years have explored them from new perspectives. These movies show more realistic portrayals of characters with speech and language problems, such as stuttering, and they have raised people’s awareness about the status of the self in relation to these problems. The purpose of this study is to explore the variety of stereotypes concerning people who stutter in movies and how this is changing, which will lead us to reconsider the socially constructed status of the “normal” speaker.
Gay characters in films are more and more prominent these days. The biases against gay people are gradually decreasing. So it is time to think about films from homosexual points of view. It has been said that American films are potentially homosexual, although they hide their homosexuality under the veils of heterosexism. As closeted homosexuality is an essential part of most American films, the one way to see American films is to assume man-to-man relationship to be a kind of homosexuality. The Shawshank Redemption can easily be said to be a beautiful love story between the two male prisoners Andy and Red. The Shawshank Redemption is, like other prison films, filled with homosexual connotations such as sexual violence and male rape. Under the harsh circumstances the two male prisoners create a loving relationship. But their skin colors and their social classes are so different that we tend to overlook their homoerotic desire. In this thesis, their homosexuality would be examined.
One of two children’s books that appears in the movie I am Sam (2001) is entitled Green Eggs and Ham. It was written in 1969 by Dr. Seuss (the pseudonym of Theodor Seuss Geisel), a prominent American writer for children. Although he is not well-known in Japan, he is a legend in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries. Green Eggs and Ham begins with “I am Sam,” from which the film takes its title. This paper first looks at the important role that the book plays in the movie. Dr. Seuss’ influence, however, extends beyond the movie and has led to literacy campaigns in the U.S.