Lyrics of lexicon : a study of the use of music and music video for second language vocabulary learning
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Since proficiency oriented language instruction has become the dominant approach in university-level language education, the study of second language vocabulary acquisition has found renewed fervor in the field of applied linguistics. While much of the initial second language vocabulary acquisition research was concerned with determining the amount of vocabulary knowledge requisite to achieve proficiency, a number of current vocabulary specialists have now shifted their focus to ascertaining the most effective explicit learning activities for the acquisition of lexical knowledge. In response to the current pervasive popularity of digital learning, this dissertation evaluated the use of music and music videos for the study of Russian vocabulary. The study implemented a mixed method approach of quantitative and qualitative analysis of data to determine the effect on the acquisition of lexical knowledge of augmenting written textual input with input from the aural modality in the form of music or from the combined input of the aural and visual modalities in the form of music videos. The data for this study was collected over five weeks during the Fall semester 2012 from volunteer participants enrolled in Russian language classes at the University of Texas at Austin. Each week, all of the participants in the study were exposed to unfamiliar Russian vocabulary in the context of song lyrics. The participants were divided into three groups that encountered the song lyrics in three different conditions. The comparison group read the song lyrics through written textual input alone, while the two treatment groups read the lyrics while listening to the song or watching the music video respectively. Through a pre- and post-test Word Translation Survey, the participants’ acquisition of target vocabulary knowledge was monitored. Additionally, a qualitative post-test questionnaire was administered to expatiate on the quantitative findings, and to evaluate the participants’ attitudes and beliefs about language learning through music and music video. While the results of the quantitative analysis were not definitively conclusive, the qualitative questionnaire indeed elucidated a number of the quantitative findings, and contributed to an understanding of the students’ attitudes and beliefs about language learning through music and music video.
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