Journal of Foreign Language Education and Technology

Potential for Incidental Vocabulary Learning in Songs: A Corpus-based study

Abstract

Macpaul Chukuemeka Hirata

Listening to songs is one of the most casual activities we do, and in recent years there has been a push to incorporate this activity into the L2 classroom as a pedagogical tool. While other studies have focused on songs and their use in the L2 classroom, this corpus-based study examined the potential for L2 learners to incidentally learn vocabulary from casually listening to songs outside the classroom. Results showed great potential for incidental learning because of the high coverage of the high-frequency word families, the repeated encounter with both function and content words as well as the repetitive nature of songs themselves, and the rich informative context in song lyrics. However, songs might not offer great potential for incidental learning of low-frequency words. Nevertheless, teachers should encourage their students to listen to songs outside the classroom.

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