Investigating the Role of Pop Songs on Vocabulary Recall, Attitude and Retention of Iranian EFL Learners: The Case of Gender

Pouya Shakerian, Omid Rezaei, Zeinab Toghyani Murnani, Hamid Moeinmanesh


Pop songs are, in fact, an ideal source for incidental vocabulary learning because teenagers often spend large amounts of their free time listening to music and in particular to pop songs. Employing an experimental approach, this study attempted to investigate the role of pop songs on vocabulary recall, attitude and retention of Iranian advanced adult EFL learners based on their gender. In so doing a language placement test (Quick Oxford Placement Test) was administered to 100 male and female language learners studying English at different language institutes in Esfahan, Iran. Ultimately, 60 advanced learners (30 males - 30 females) were selected by leaving out the students of other levels of proficiency and randomly divided into two relatively homogenous groups as musical and non-musical groups. While the students of musical group (=30) were taught the new vocabulary in the syllabus through 60 different pop songs chosen by themselves through a questionnaire, the students of the non-musical group (n=30) were taught new vocabulary without using the songs. The participants were examined based on an English vocabulary test developed by the researchers, which probed into the learners’ vocabulary recall. A questionnaire was also used to investigate the attitude of the learners towards the instruction. A month later the vocabulary test was re-administered as a delayed retention test and obtained data were statistically analyzed. The results of t-tests demonstrated that the musical group outscored the non-musical group on vocabulary recall and retention. The results also showed the male learners perform better than the females.

Keywords: incidental vocabulary, pop songs, vocabulary recall, attitude, retention

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