Strategies for Online Teaching. The Pedagogical Potential of Film Taboo Language in ESL Classes

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Patrizia Giampieri


Learning a second language (L2) by watching films is argued to be enjoyable (Sherman, 2003: 14; Zabalbeascoa et al. 2012; Donaghy, 2014; Giampieri, 2018c: 402), stimulating and pedagogical. The taboo words of an L2 are also claimed to be of interest to L2 learners (Sherman, 2003; Gilmore, 2010; Díaz-Cintas, 2012; Donaghy, 2014) and useful to become acquainted with for sociocultural reasons. Awareness of taboo words can, in fact, be considered important in an L2 learner’s repertoire. This paper is aimed at exploring whether or not being exposed to taboo words in foreign-language learning can be positive. In particular, the activity focuses on American film sequences containing swearwords in order to raise L2 awareness. On the basis of the paper’s findings, it is possible to speculate that the participants (undergraduate students) identified certain new words and understood how taboo words are changed, or adapted, in dubbing.


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