The Effects of Songs on L2 Proficiency and Spoken Fluency: A Pedagogical Perspective

A3 Book section, Chapters in research books

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Leena Maria Heikkola, Jenni Alisaari
Editors: Pekka Lintunen, Maarit Mutta, Pauliina Peltonen
Place: Bristol
Publication year: 2019
Publisher: Multilingual Matters
Book title: Fluency in L2 Learning and Use
Title of series: Second Language Acquisition
Start page: 166
End page: 185
ISBN: 9781788926300
eISBN: 9781788926324


Background: It has been shown that music and
songs benefit language learning. However, there are only a few studies looking
at how songs can be used in the classroom to promote the development of

Purpose: The aim of the study was to investigate,
how three teaching techniques, namely singing, listening to songs, and reciting
song lyrics, affect the development of fluency.

Methods: Second language learners of Finnish
(n=61) produced two oral stories elicited by picture materials at the beginning
and at the end of the course. These narratives were transcribed and analyzed
for fluency as the total number of words, and speech rate (words per minute).
Variance analysis with proficiency level as a covariate was used to compare the
effects of the teaching techniques (singing, listening to songs, reciting song
lyrics) on the development of fluency.

Results: First, fluency measured as the
total number of words improved the most in the most proficient students, but
there were no differences between the three teaching groups. Secondly, fluency
was measured as speech rate (words/min). Also here, the most proficient
participants improved the most. There was only a tendency towards a difference
between the singing and the reciting groups, the singing group improving the

Conclusion: Improving fluency seems to be
linked to proficiency levels: the higher the proficiency level, the more
fluency improved. Of the investigated teaching techniques, singing seems to be
beneficial for improving automatized speech, measured by speech rate and the
total number of words.


Fluency, language proficiency, Second language learning, singing

Last updated on 2020-13-08 at 06:02