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In praise of … same-language subtitling (The Guardian)

10 May 2012

In praise of … same-language subtitling
One of the simplest and boldest literacy campaigns around is helping Indian children

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 9 May 2012
Subtitles are usually the domain of Danish thrillers or obscure films about the sufferings of Anatolian peasants: posh foreign imports, in other words. But in India, the state broadcaster Doordarshan puts Hindi subtitles on programmes of Hindi film songs, Gujarati captions on Gujarati shows and so on. It may sound daft, but Brij Kothari’s same-language subtitling (SLS) is one of the simplest and boldest literacy campaigns around. Over 250 million Indians who are classed as literate cannot even read newspaper headlines – and by captioning popular Hindi or Bengali songs in the same language, adults and children get a fun lesson in their mother tongue. It’s effective, too. A Nielsen study of 13,000 children showed that 24% became good readers with schooling alone. But when exposed to 30 minutes a week of subtitled film songs, that proportion more than doubled to 56%. To use the Hindi: theek hai, na (pretty good, eh?).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/09/in-praise-of-same-language-subtitling#start-of-comments

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