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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e28248. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028248. Epub 2011 Dec 21.

You know what it is: learning words through listening to hip-hop.

Author information

1
Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. pchesley@ualberta.ca

Abstract

Music listeners have difficulty correctly understanding and remembering song lyrics. However, results from the present study support the hypothesis that young adults can learn African-American English (AAE) vocabulary from listening to hip-hop music. Non-African-American participants first gave free-response definitions to AAE vocabulary items, after which they answered demographic questions as well as questions addressing their social networks, their musical preferences, and their knowledge of popular culture. Results from the survey show a positive association between the number of hip-hop artists listened to and AAE comprehension vocabulary scores. Additionally, participants were more likely to know an AAE vocabulary item if the hip-hop artists they listen to use the word in their song lyrics. Together, these results suggest that young adults can acquire vocabulary through exposure to hip-hop music, a finding relevant for research on vocabulary acquisition, the construction of adolescent and adult identities, and the adoption of lexical innovations.

PMID:
22205942
PMCID:
PMC3244393
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0028248
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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