Rebecca Coleman, Centre of English World Languages, The University of Kent, UK
Traditionally popular songs have been used as a way of enhancing listening and auditory perception skills and teaching vocabulary, but not necessarily for memory recall. Popular song gap-fills are already commonplace within the EFL (English as a foreign language) field; however, this study found that more attention needs to be given, to the lexical, grammatical and phonological items that learners are instructed to retain. The results of this study suggest that, verbal memory is a vital part of language learning that should be incorporated into popular song gap-fills and that EFL teachers, theorists and textbook authors need to review the way language in popular songs is encoded, stored and retrieved, by incorporating memory strategies, following guidelines on gap-selection, including a phonological aspect and using a recycling activity. In this article traditional and contemporary understandings of verbal memory and popular song are outlined and comprehensively analysed within relevant fields that embrace ELT (English language teaching), Biology, Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics and Cognitive Psychology perspectives and discusses their pedagogical implications.