TikTok to Learn English Vocabulary: Voices of Indonesian Learners from English Departments

Rita Rita, Adaninggar Septi Subekti


The present study aims to investigate the perspectives of learners from English departments on the use of TikTok for second/foreign language (L2) vocabulary learning. This study is a continuation of a preceding survey study involving 116 learners from 26 universities in ten different provinces in Indonesia. The participants of the present study were six selected learners from three universities taken from the preceding study. This study employed semi-structured interviews and the interview data were analysed using Thematic Analysis. From the Thematic Analysis, the study found three recurring themes. They perceived various English videos on TikTok to be useful to facilitate vocabulary learning. English content created by native speakers was also perceived positively as a good vocabulary-learning resource. Nevertheless, they also noted that the effectiveness of TikTok as a vocabulary learning media largely depended on whether learners could optimally use it for learning purposes. Based on the findings, it is suggested that teachers bring TikTok into the class to optimally use its potential and leverage its popularity among learners. By doing so, teachers can also facilitate learners not only to be passive users but also to produce English content they could post on the platform. It can potentially make learning more fun and meaningful for learners.

Full Text:



Agustin, R. W., & Ayu, M. (2021). The impact of using Instagram for increasing vocabulary and listening skill. Journal of English Language Teaching and Learning (JELTL), 2(1), 1–7.

Alghameeti, A. A. (2022). Is TikTok an effective technology tool in English vocabulary expansion? English Language Teaching, 15(12), 14. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v15n12p14

Alharthi, M., Bown, A., & Pullen, D. (2020). The Use of social media platforms to enhance vocabulary development in learning a new language: A Review of the literature. Arab World English Journal, 6, 318–331.

Alizadeh, M. (2013). The impact of motivation on English language learning in the Gulf States. International Journal of Higher Education, 2(4), 11–15. https://doi.org/10.5430/ijhe.v2n4p123

Allen, R. E. S., & Wiles, J. L. (2016). A rose by any other name: Participants choosing research pseudonyms. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 13(2), 149–165. https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2015.1133746

Anumanthan, S., & Hashim, H. (2022). Improving the learning of regular verbs through TikTok among primary school ESL pupils. Creative Education, 13(03), 896–912. https://doi.org/10.4236/ce.2022.133059

Baruti, T. D. W. P., & Subekti, A. S. (2023). Instagram to learn English vocabulary: A study of Indonesian non-English major university students. IJEE (Indonesian Journal of English Education), 10(1), 107–125. https://doi.org/10.15408/ijee.v10i1.26969

Cahyono, A. O. M., & Perdhani, W. C. (2023). Using TikTok in EFL class: Students’ perceptions. Journal of English Education and Teaching, 7(1), 59–77.

Clarke, V., & Braun, V. (2016). Teaching thematic analysis: Overcoming challenges and developing strategies for effective learning. 1–13.

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approach. Sage Publications, Inc.

Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2018). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. In Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling (Fifth Edit, Vol. 53, Issue 9).

Erwani, I., Romi, M. J., Sawithy, M. N., Rohana, R., Ulfah, S., & Supeni, I. (2022). The influence of Tiktok in increasing vocabulary for Elementary School in SMP 1 Muhammadiyah Banjarbaru. Elite Journal, 4(Vol 4 No 1 (2022): ELITE JOURNAL: Journal of English Linguistics, Literature, and Education), 25–40.

Gray, D. E. (2014). Doing research in the real world (3rd ed.). Sage Publications, Ltd.

Israel, M., & Hay, I. (2006). Research ethics for social scientists. SAGE Publications Ltd.

Jentoft, N., & Olsen, T. S. (2019). Against the flow in data collection: How data triangulation combined with a ‘slow’ interview technique enriches data. Qualitative Social Work, 18(2), 179–193. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325017712581

Khan, I. U., Ayaz, M., & Faheem, M. (2016). The role of social media in development of English Language vocabulary at university level. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 6(11), 590–604. https://doi.org/10.6007/ijarbss/v6-i11/2444

Liu, Q. (2023). Exploring the impacts of TikTok on the academic performance of Chinese secondary school students. BCP Bussiness and Management, 41, 160–163.

Mekler, A. (2021). The effects of TikTok use on college student learning. Undergraduate Review, 16, 19.

Moir, J., & Nation, P. (2008). Vocabulary and good language learners: Lessons from good language learners. Cambridge University Press.

Monica, S., Ariana, Anamaria, P., & Mirabela. (2014). The impact of social media on vocabulary learning case study Facebook. The Annals of the University of Oradea. Economic Sciences, 5450(2), 120–130.

Muddin, A. (2018). The use of Duolingo to improve students’ vocabulary. Thesis, 231324418, 1–81.

Novitasari, N., & Addinna, A. (2022). Students’ perception on the use of TikTok for learning English. Journal of English Language Teaching, 11(Vol 11, No 4 (2022)), 566–579. https://doi.org/10.24036/jelt.v11i4.119484

Pratami, W. G., & Syafryadin. (2023). The students’ perception by using TikTok as a media learning English. Education, Journal of Development and Innovation in Language and Literature, 3(1), 48–58.

Pratiwi, A. E., Sopia, N. N. U., & Sopiah, R. S. (2021). Utilizing TikTok application as media for learning English pronunciation. Iconnects, 21(April), 85–98.

Rahman, M. S. (2021). Analysis regression and path model: The Influence both Instagram and TikTok in improving students’ vocabulary. Journal of English Teaching, Literature and Linguistics, 1(1), 48–61.

Rahmawati, Y., & Anwar, K. (2022). The use of Tiktok application: The impact on students’ vocabulary and attitude. PROJECT (Professional Journal of English Education), 5(3), 610–621.

Sekhar, G. R., & Chakravorty, S. (2017). TESL/TEFL: Teaching english as a second or foreign language. ACADEMICIA: An International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 7(4), 154. https://doi.org/10.5958/2249-7137.2017.00044.1

Sivagnanam, S., & Yunus, M. M. (2020). Utilizing social media in vocabulary enhancement among primary ESL learners. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 8(2), 490–498. https://doi.org/10.13189/ujer.2020.080220

Statista. (2023). Countries with the largest TikTok audience as of July 2023 (in millions). https://www.statista.com/statistics/1299807/number-of-monthly-unique-tiktok-users/

Thornbury, S. (2002). How to teach vocabulary. Pearson Education Limited.

Xiuwen, Z., & Razali, A. B. (2021). An overview of the utilization of TikTok to improve oral English communication competence among EFL undergraduate students. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 9(7), 1439–1451. https://doi.org/10.13189/ujer.2021.090710

Yang, H. (2020). Secondary-school students’ perspectives of utilizing tiktok for English learning in and beyond the EFL classroom. 2020 3rd International Conference on EducationTechnology and Social Science (ETSS 2020), Etss, 162–183.

Zainal, Z., & Rahmat, N. H. (2020). Social media and its influence on vocabulary and language learning: A case study. European Journal of Education Studies, 7(11), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.46827/ejes.v7i11.3331

DOI: https://doi.org/10.33365/ts.v22i1.3406


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2024 Rita Rita, Adaninggar Septi Subekti

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Teknosastik: Jurnal Bahasa dan Sastra
: Universitas Teknokrat Indonesia
Address: Zainal Abidin Pagaralam Street 9-11, Bandar Lampung, Indonesia
Website: https://ejurnal.teknokrat.ac.id/index.php/teknosastik/index

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License