“Song-advantage” or “Cost of Singing”? A Research Synthesis of Classroom-based Intervention Studies Applying Lyrics-based Language Teaching (1972–2019)

Faculty/Professorship: English and Historical Linguistics  
Author(s): Werner, Valentin  
Title of the Journal: Journal of Second Language Teaching & Research
ISSN: 2045-4031
Publisher Information: Preston : University of Central Lancashire
Year of publication: 2020
Volume: 8
Issue: 1
Pages: 138-170
Language(s): English
URL: https://pops.uclan.ac.uk/index.php/jsltr/articl...
While lyrics-based activities are increasingly popular in foreign language education, and a number of theoretical arguments have been suggested by applied linguists and SLA researchers why they are beneficial for learners, only a few empirical assessments of the actual effectiveness of lyrics-based teaching have been conducted. This contribution reviews relevant classroom-based intervention studies (N = 28) that employ a pre-/post-test multiple group design. A main aim is to assess previous claims of a “song-advantage” (Busse et al., 2018) when input is presented with the help of songs and their lyrics vs. a “cost of singing” (Racette & Peretz, 2007) in terms of an additional processing burden lowering rates of verbal recall, for instance. Results suggest that, overall, lyrics-based teaching is effective in comparison to control conditions. Effectiveness may vary, however, when different subareas (e.g. grammar vs. vocabulary) are compared. In summary, it is argued that lyrics-based activities can be viewed as a valuable means in the foreign language classroom, even though they cannot serve as universal remedy and are most effective when combined with other materials and activities. Eventually, it is suggested that both additional primary studies at a high level of methodological transparency and rigor and quantitative meta-analyses (e.g. to assess the influence of moderator variables and to systematically compare control groups with different teaching conditions) are desirable.
GND Keywords: Fremdsprachenlernen ; Sprachunterricht ; Didaktik ; Musik ; Lied
Keywords: lyrics, songs, music, intervention studies, research synthesis, language education
DDC Classification: 400 Language & linguistics  
RVK Classification: ES 885     ES 861   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Open Access Journal: Ja
Type: Article
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/49320
Release Date: 15. January 2021
Awards: Habilitationspreis des Deutschen Anglistenverbands