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Abstract

Question: "Do you like music?" Response: " Doesn't everybody?" This recent exchange with a college student characterizes a familiar pattern whereby popular music infuses the lives of our society's youth. Through targeted song selections, this teaching activity guides students to examine explicit and implicit messages found in the lyrics. Two structural options are offered. Students explore and compare either (1) specified types of expressed and/or implied statements in reference to the interpersonal values and the persuasive (rhetorical) goals reflected in the language (i.e. lyrics) of contemporary popular music, or (2) the messages and social reality reflected in the language (i.e. lyrics) of the music popular during a particular time period. Students present their findings both as a written report and an oral presentation.

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