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Effect of Repetition and Rhymed Video-songs in Facilitating Adults L1 (Arabic) and L2 (English) Acquisition

2746 words (11 pages) Essay in Languages

08/02/20 Languages Reference this

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Research Proposal

The effect of repetition and rhymed video-songs in facilitating adults L1 (Arabic) and L2 (English) acquisition in the K.S.A

  1. Introduction

I taught English to adult students’ Arabic speakers as L1 [1] for almost 12 years. Teaching English to beginner level adults is a challenging task. Adults ability to recall vocabulary vary between individuals. Some of students would lose their focus after a while. After my family and I moved to the United States, I noticed how my little girl started to acquire her English language through educational songs. So, I am interested to investigate the effect of repetition and rhymed video-songs in facilitating adults who speak Arabic as L1 to learn English as their L2[2].  

Various studies have been conducted to figure out song, chants as method for ESLL to recall information. Moreover they examined the relationship between song and engagement of students in the class which songs been used as facilitator tool (Good et al, 2015; Paquette& Rieg, 2008; Sanderberg, 2009; Forster, 2006; Clavert& Tart, 1993; Mcelhinney& Annett, 1996; Kilgour&  Jakobson& Cuddy, 2000; Rainey& Larsen, 2002; Wallace, 1994; Wallace& Robin, 1991; Purnell-Webb& Abraeanel, 1987; Wolfe& Nogucin, 2009) Researchers Good et al, (2015) have shown that using song can enhance saving and retrieving information and facilitate learning process. Whether the song is to teach alphabets or body parts names, singing as a teaching method is used to ease learning process. In addition to songs obvious benefits, teachers can touch learners having an enjoyable time which increase their engagement to the class. (Paquette & Rieg, 2008; Sandberg, 2009) stated that songs and chants are similar in the rhythm.  Chant is a set of words produced in melody stressing some words, parts more than other parts and words. Forster,(2006) showed that chants usually done by repeating words, phrases, and sentences. Chants have been known as “fun …. in both first and second language acquisition” (Forster, 2006, p. 63).

Having read several articles regarding the research that investigated the effect of repetition rhymed chants and watching song-video in adults L1 recall and engagement ability, on my paper I will investigate the relationship between repeating rhymed chants and visual song-video to facilitate the L2 acquisition for adults.

  1. Literature Review

The following literature review will attempt to give the background information of two main topics in this present research proposal, including the effectiveness of repetition rhymed chants and watching song-video combination facilitating L1 and L2 acquisition for adults. Many articles written by several researchers connected to the topic have been reviewed and will be presented to support in writing this literature review.

Effect of song on L1 recall

Repetition has been known for a long time as an efficient memorizing technique. Moreover, rhymed chants repetition are good methods for encoding and recalling information. In addition, educational song-video addresses both visual and hearing senses. Learners can absorb the message easily because the content is explained on motion.

According to Calvert & Tart, (1993); Kilgour, Jakobson, & Cuddy, (2000); McElhinney & Annett, (1996); Rainey & Larsen, (2002); Wallace, (1994) (as cited in Good et al, 2015, p.628) the advantage of song to facilitate the recall of information has been demonstrated under various experimental and naturalistic circumstances. Wallace (1994) conducted several experiments that proved the advantage of song. In his first experiment, adult participants were subject to one of two voice record of a passage: a spoken r or a sung. After exposure, participants were required to recall the same exact words of the passage as much as possible. participants who listened to the sung version recalled more words than participants who listened to the passage through song used rhythm to recall. Moreover, the participants of sung exposure would conduct the correct number of syllables even when the words are incorrect. Similarly, McElhinney and Annett (1996) discovered that individuals who sung the passage were more likely able to recall. The reason behind that is their use of mnemonic parts of the material to support their encoding and recalling process than those who listened to the passage as a speech. Wallace and Rubin (1991) found that individuals were better able to make use of structure if exposed to a spoken passage as phrasing, stresses, and line breaks when individuals emphasize the rhythmic characteristics. The rhythm can support the recall process even in the lack of melody. For example, “Humpty Dumpty” children might find it easy to memorize. According to Wallace and Rubin (1991) (as cited in Good et al, 2015, p.628) “If the mnemonic support that song provides is due to rhythm alone, then rhythmic speaking should hold the same mnemonic value as song. However, the structural characteristics of song involve more than just rhythm; song also encompasses melodic and tonal structure, which may further support memorization of text”. A subsequent study conducted by Wallace (1994) found that passages presented as song highly recallable compared to passages presented in speech by rhythmic intonations only. The usage of song to support the recall of a passage proved a delay in recalling information as follow. The song advantage on recall continue for short period 15-20 minutes delays (Kilgour et al., 2000; Wallace, 1994), and extends weeks of delays (Calvert & Tart, 1993; Rainey & Larsen, 2002), and even years (Calvert & Tart, 1993). Rainey and Larsen (2002) found that participants who were learned the names of baseball players by familiar melody took shorter time and number of trails to relearn the players’ names after 1 week than participants who had learned them without song. Calvert and Tart (1993) presented participants with sung or spoken versions of the ‘Preamble to the Constitution.’ Participants who learned by song were able to recall the words more successfully than participants who learned it through speech after 5-weeks delay. Calvert and Tart (1993) also showed that participants who watched a televised animation of the ‘Preamble to the Constitution’ (created by Schoolhouse Rock) were more successful at recall of the passage than participants who did not see the animation. Moreover, they both more likely used melody to retrieve the words when asked to recall the text. According to Calvert & Tart, (1993); Kilgour et al., (2000); Purnell-Webb & Speelman, (2008); Rainey & Larsen, (2002); Wallace, (1994) (as cited in Good et al, 2015, p.628) “although the song advantage on text recall has been demonstrated repeatedly, it seems that the benefits of song are modulated by a song’s predictability.” In particular, the song can strongly develop the learner’s ability to recall if they are familiar to the melody (Purnell-Webb & Speelman, 2008; Wallace, 1994), and the learning process become easier if the melodic structure were simplified (Wallace, 1994) and text setting (Gingold & Abravanel, 1987). When novel is song, some recall differences between sung and spoken conditions are insignificant. Individuals learning a new song must learned both novel text and a novel melody at the once. In this situation, the melody may be a distraction more than a facilitator for recall. For that reason, the song advantage may not always appear in the first stages of learning (Calvert & Tart, 1993; Wallace, 1994). According to (Good et al, 2015) “the melody and rhythm of a song become more familiar, the structural information, including syllabic stress, line breaks and phrasing, becomes more available and predictable so as to provide more recall cues for the passage.” Wallace (1994) assessed the benefits of repetition by presenting participants to three verses of text at different levels of melodic repetition. Participants have been divided to one of three groups: first group assigned to listen to the three verses of spoken text, the second group had to listen to every verse sung to different melodies, and third group listened to all three verses in one repeated melody. This experiment has shown a great advantage to the same melody repetition. But the text was presented in slower rate than the spoken version which might affected the results. However, a study by Rainey and Larsen (2002) discussed an important difference between these two studies which is that Kilgour et al. (2000) used a melody that was unknown to participants, while Rainey and Larsen (2002) used a familiar melody (‘Pop! Goes the Weasel’).

Figure1. Mean number of words recalled in order for each condition (Good et al, 2015)


Effect of song on engagement of L1 learners

In addition to the immediate advantages of a melody for adapting previously discussed, it is a priority to note of that song may likewise have a indirect advantage by presenting material in a way that is pleasurable, which may prompt expanded students focus (Paquette and Rieg, 2008; Sandberg, 2009). Wolfe and Noguchi (2009) gave youthful understudies a talked or melodic form of a story while controlling the degree of sound-related diversion in the classroom. Students were observed to be more focused with amid the melodic rendition of the story as evaluated by the quantity of effectively recognized plot subtle elements. The constructive outcome of melody endured crosswise over dimensions of sound-related diversion.

  1. Proposal for Present Research

Although several studies have been conducted to analyze the relationship between the repeating rhymed chants and watching song-video in adults L1and L2 acquisition, there was not research done before focusing on teaching English language as ESL to Arabic language speakers measuring the effect of repeating rhymed chants and watching song-video as a facilitator for adults L1 and L2 acquisition. Therefore, this present research will be focus on using song as a facilitator method for adults’ ESL learning in K.S.A. Based on the previous shown researchers that proved the sufficiency of song in encoding information over speech and reading texts. Moreover, research have valued the role of using song in ESL classes because of the high rates of engagement to the class. So, I am planning to implement this recommendation to measure different variables in ESL adult class in K.S.A.




Thirty-eight Arabic-speaking graduate adults from the King Fahad College in Riyadh. Specific problems with recall, engagement, and distraction have been noted at this particular school; levels of discipline are low, and misconduct is common. Adults were recruited based on the classes that I teach. Two classes each class has 19 students. All of them male gender students. Their background study is different based on their school. The song and speech condition classes students age 20 years. All of them their L1 is Arabic. No student should be absent for any class. And the students have no classes to practice English language other than my class.



I will use a simple English song to teach them alphabets. For example, the famous A, B, C, D song. And I will make up some songs with famous rhyme to achieve a pre-set goal. I will you use the speech to tech other class alphabet and other lessons.

Data collection

I will use observation to assess and notice their engagement to the class for all groups. I will use tests to assess their recall ability. I will not tell the students about the experiment to measure the exact variables without interference.


Tools and instruments of the research

I will use a computer to play songs and speech for both groups. I will use a survey to have a feedback from the students. If I noticed an excellent development of a student, I will interview him to see why?

 This present research is planned to be done within 7 weeks. The focus research will be on two essential parts, the recall of English vocabulary and the engagement of the students during the classes. Table 1. Time schedule will show how the activities. 

Table 1.












English alphabet

Body Parts

Simple Directions

Writing results

 The author of this research will submit a separate proposal to the Ministry of Education to ask for funding support on this research. This research will be conducted by solo author. However, in writing and finalizing this paper, a professor who has excellent knowledge and lots of experience on this topic will be required for support. Next, after finalizing the final report and writing the final article of this research topic, the writer of this research is planning to submit this article to several scholar journals, such as TESL Journal, Internet TESL Journal, Asian ESL Journal.

  1.  Conclusion

Choosing the best and easy teaching method for English students is a big issue nowadays in my college. Several teaching methods used to overcome student’s distraction. Therefore, this research project proposal aims to assess the effect of repeating rhymed chants and watching song-video in adults L1 (Arabic) and L2 acquisition. This project will give clearer picture to English language teachers for Arabic speakers, and in the future will help them to understand more how to teach English to adults.


  • Arla J. Good., Frank. A. Russo., & Jennifer. Sullivan (2015). The efficacy of singing in foreign-language learning presented by Psychology of Music 2015, Vol. 43(5) 627 –640
  • Calvert, S. L., & Tart, M. (1993). Song versus verbal forms for- very-long-term, long-term, and short-term verbatim recall. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 14(2), 245–260.
  • Forster, E. (2006). The value of songs and chants for young learners. Encuentro 16, pp. 63-68.
  • Gingold, H., & Abravanel, E. (1987). Music as a mnemonic: The effects of good- and bad- music settings on verbatim recall of short passages by young children.               Psychomusicology: A Journal of Research in Music Cognition, 7(1), 25–39.
  • Kilgour, A. R., Jakobson, L. S., & Cuddy, L. L. (2000). Music training and rate of presentation as mediators of text and song recall. Memory & Cognition, 28(5), 700–710.
  • McElhinney, M., & Annet, J. M. (1996). Pattern of efficacy of a musical mnemonic on recall of familiar words over several presentations. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 82, 395–400.
  • Paquette, K. R., & Rieg, S. A. (2008). Using music to support the literacy development of young English language learners. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36(3), 227–232.
  • Purnell-Webb, P., & Speelman, C. P. (2008). Effects of music on memory for text. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 106(3), 927–957.
  • Rainey, D. W., & Larsen, J. D. (2002). The effects of familiar melodies on initial learning and long-term memory for unconnected text. Music Perception, 20(2), 173–186.
  • Sandberg, H. F. (2009). Get moving! The effects of music and movement on student attention and engagement. (ProQuest Information & Learning). Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 70 (4-A), 1–1161. (Electronic; Print)
  • Wallace, W. T. (1994). Memory for music: Effect of melody on recall of text.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20(6), 1471–1485.
  • Wallace, W. T, & Rubin, D. C. (1991). Characteristics and constraints in ballads and their effect on memory. Discourse Processes, 14, 181–202.
  • Wolfe, D. E., & Noguchi, L. K. (2009). The use of music with young children to improve sustained attention during a vigilance task in the presence of auditory distractions. Journal of Music Therapy, 46(1), 69–82.

[1] First Language

[2] Second Language

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