Capstone/Dissertation Title

Funk and Chunk: Can Music and Memorization Help Fluency Find its Groove?

Term

Spring 3-23-2015

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAESL

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Andreas Schramm

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Betsy Parrish

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Laura Code

Abstract

Achieving oral fluency has been a persistent problem for second language learners. Perspectives and tools for developing fluency have changed over time, and the role of memorization of formulaic speech has been both used and avoided depending on pedagogical philosophy. Similarly, music has been used as a tool in the service of many educational objectives, including fluency and memory. This study examines the intersection of music, memorization and fluency in development and testing of a tool for ESL instruction. It examines to what extent music aids memorization and fluency for advanced adult ESL learners when memorizing formulaic speech, compared with a similar treatment using only poetry. Results from the study suggest music can be an effective aid for fluency when used in learning formulaic speech.

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