Between watching and reading!

Subtitled shows

Between watching and reading!

“SLS creates a ‘what you hear is what you read’ response among viewers thereby reinforcing weak reading skills automatically and subconsciously,” says linguistic specialist Smitha Rego. “Many people are unaware that the idea of SLS was first innovated by the Centre for Educational Innovation, IIMA under Brij Kothari, a faculty member,” she adds.

SLS improves literacy skills of the audience overcoming the impediment of foreign accents and speech patterns that may be difficult to follow. “Not just in English, SLS is also effectively used in regional languages to push up the literacy quotient. It is a great method to gently release reading into people’s insatiable appetite for film songs, thereby turning millions of viewers, whose literacy levels are low, into lifelong readers. SLS has been implemented on Doordarshan’s film songs’ programmes in Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil and other languages,” she explains.

There are many who find SLS of great help. Student and TV buff Andrea D’Silva says, “I find SLS useful, especially in forensic dramas like Bones, where several technical and medical terms are used.The characters sometimes tend to speak too fast and one tends to miss out on the finer points of the story.”

For those who finds foreign accents difficult to understand, SLS comes in handy. Prerana Sitaram, a degree student, says, “My dad finds subtitles useful especially since the American or British dialects and accents like the African American or Scottish accents are sometimes a tad difficult to follow. This way you do not miss out on the subtleties in the plotline or the humour in the conversation. I don’t mind SLS at all. It’s also useful if you have to use the mute button for some reason!”

Not everybody is happy with SLS though. Premila and Praveen Roberts finds it annoying. “They give away the punchline and ruin the jokes and delivery for me.There are some serials or films where same language subtitling is useful but definitely not in sit-coms or comedies where timing is everything,” says Premila. Praveen adds, “My parents find it useful to follow American slang or dialects which are not clear. On the other hand as an IT consultant, I know that people are programmed to automatically read text, so whether you find subtitles useful or not, you tend to read them.This takes away your attention from the on-screen action and distracts you from the plot and characters,” he says.

Smitha says SLS is useful in literacy programmes. “Reading skills picked up in school or adult literacy classes are automatically practiced at home especially in song-based programmes which attract high viewership. So the large scale benefits definitely outweigh the minor disadvantages or inconvenience to the viewers,” adds Smitha.

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