This project is intended to take the film To Live, directed by Zhang Yimou, and apply the Electronic Film Review (EFR) approach to it in a Chinese as a Foreign Language (CFL) setting. The Electronic Film Review project, developed by Alan K. Melby, is aimed at providing a superior language learning experience for Americans learning Chinese. Using feature films as a teaching tool has been found to stimulate and motivate students to achieve higher language levels, but in order for optimal learning to occur the material must be challenging yet accessible to the student. Most feature films, by themselves, are too advanced for the average language learner. The EFR approach provides annotations designed specifically for the feature film with the language learner in mind. These annotations can include access to vocabulary helps, grammar and cultural notes in order to bridge the gap between the learner and the film. It does not alter the film itself. This approach has been used with ESL students (English annotations), French language learners, and with Korean ESL learners (Korean annotations), but has not been developed for students learning Chinese. The purpose of this project is not only to apply the technology of the Electronic Film Review program to a Chinese film for the purpose of aiding Chinese language learners, but also to critique whether or not the tool is effective in helping students to gain better listening comprehensions skills and therefore ultimately better language skills. Previous studies have not shown clear results on this issue. This thesis will briefly review what the EFR project is and how it has been used with other films and languages as well as the findings up to this point. Then it will look at the effects of annotations on several aspects of listening comprehension as well as student preferences and reactions. It will then evaluate the results collectively to determine whether students watching the film without the help of EFR annotations show differing levels of listening comprehension achievement when compared with those using the EFR tools. Suggestions will be made for further improvements.



College and Department

Humanities; Linguistics and English Language



Date Submitted


Document Type

Selected Project




EFR, Chinese as a second language, CFL, To Live, Electronic Film Review, CALL, Film and language learning



Included in

Linguistics Commons