Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number1.  March 2022                               Pp. 330- 341

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Cartoons as the Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition Tool for English Language Learners 

Nermeen Singer
Department of Media, Faculty of Graduate Childhood studies
Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt


Received:  10/12/2021             Accepted:  1/26/2022                       Published:3/24/2022


Incidental learning is a well-known process of acquiring new knowledge, vocabulary, or information without intention. Traditional or intentional learning is widely practiced in classroom environments, while incidental one receives less attention from educators, schools, and scholars. English Language Learners encounter various problems when they start learning the second language, including culture shock, lack of understanding of foreign culture, different contexts, and ineffective teaching strategies implemented by teachers. Many English Language Learners cannot communicate in a second language outside the classroom, yet, they are exposed to a variety of media, including cartoons and animated films, when they are at home. By using cartoons as the means of incidental learning among English Language Learners to acquire second language vocabulary, students could learn a foreign language faster. The current paper critically analyzes the benefits of incidental learning, the evidence of its effective implementation in the classroom with English Language Learners, and the results of previous studies using cartoons as the method of incidental learning among students, including English Language Learners. The paper recommends using incidental learning as one of the strategies to acquire second language vocabulary among English Language Learners. However, teachers must pair this practice with intentional learning to retain the results. Also, it is recommended to use cartoons with subtitles for students with basic or limited knowledge of a second language for effective accommodation and scaffolding of English Language Learners in general classrooms.
Keywords: cartoons, children, English language learners, ıncidental learning, vocabulary acquisition

Cite as: Singer, N. (2022). Cartoons as the Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition Tool for English Language Learners. Arab World English Journal, 13 (1) 330- 341


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Received: 10/12/2021 
Accepted: 1/26/2022
Published: 3/24/2022

Nermeen Singer, Associate Professor of Media and Children’s Culture, Faculty of Graduate Studies for Childhood, Ain Shams University, Cairo – Egypt. Head of the Center of Social Service and Environmental Development, Ain Shams University. Specialized in Media Psychology, Mass Communication, Educational Media, English language. An expert in using various kinds of media to treat learning difficulties.  ORCID:, Web of Science Researcher ID: L-7321-2018