For many EFL learners, listening poses a grave challenge. The difficulty in segmenting a stream of speech and limited capacity in short-term memory are common weaknesses for language learners. Specifically, reduced forms, which frequently appear in authentic informal conversations, compound the challenges in listening comprehension. Numerous interventions have been implemented to assist EFL language learners, and of these, the application of captions has been found highly effective in promoting learning. Few studies have examined how different modes of captions may enhance listening comprehension. This study proposes three modes of captions: full, keyword-only, and annotated keyword captions and investigates their contribution to the learning of reduced forms and overall listening comprehension. Forty-four EFL university students participated in the study and were randomly assigned to one of the three groups. The results revealed that all three groups exhibited improvement on the pre-test while the annotated keyword caption group exhibited the best performance with the highest mean score. Comparing performances between groups, the annotated keyword caption group also emulated both the full caption and the keyword-only caption groups, particularly in the ability to recognize reduced forms. The study sheds light on the potential of annotated keyword captions in enhancing reduced forms learning and overall listening comprehension.
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