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Learning Languages Through Music


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I think it's a fun way to learn new words and helps with pronunciation. Although I don't think it's too helpful for sentence structure because a lot of songs are composed of sentence fragments and phrases.

I listened to a lot of J-Pop when I was learning Japanese and I am now able to translate the lyrics as a I listen to them.

I've been trying to listen to K-Pop to get used to the pronunciation of Korean words and I think it's helpful.

Has anyone used music to help them learn languages?

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Yes, I enjoy music in general, and I have found it quite helpful when learning languages. 

When I was more immersed in Spanish I listened to some classical music in the language, particularly some of the vocal works of Manuel de Falla.  "Siete canciones populares españolas" -- "Seven Spanish Folksongs" -- was a favorite of mine.

With German, it was German opera; Wagner, Mozart, Handel mainly.  Sometimes I would follow along with the libretto and other times I would just listen.

I also listened to some contemporary music in both of these languages. 

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Eh, it's not helping me much. I have some minor hearing issues and I guess I'm just not good at listening, because even when I already knew English pretty well I rarely understood anything. I had to become really, really good in order to understand entire songs.

When I listen to music in Japanese I don't understand much. I guess I should practice more...

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I think music can be great tool, as it is something you enjoy. I haven't used it for learning tho. I guess I prefer reading for this, or movies with subs where you can compare what the actors are saoying with the translation.

My father however,  liked using songs as a learning tool. I collected and printed for him loads of lyrics, mostly old songs and some Poets of the Fall (since I love them) and he proceeded to translate and study them

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I've used music a lot for learning languages. When I was in school, I always listened to French and Spanish music to help me revise for my listening exams. I would even listen to a song or two directly before the exam, so I had the sound of the language in my head already!

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As someone learning German, I think music doesn't help you learn a language much. For a newbie, it is very difficult to even catch the words being sung, let alone be able to translate them. I have a hard time understanding Rammstein songs.  :tongue:

On the other hand, I think watching movies in a different language can help you understand it a bit. I know very little of Japanese but whatever I know I have learned from anime.

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Excellent method of getting accustomed to native use of language though words can be distorted to fit the music. I wish I was learning Hindi because Bollywood songs are just amazing! My daughter is learning French and has been listening to French songs all her life since that's what we do in our house and it helps. Just having French radio on in the background or in the car is a great help and you don't have to concentrate on it.

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I think learning from music would be a good way to shake up the learning platform.  For me it would be easy because I love to listen to music.  I could submerge myself in a good CD and learn at the same time.  I will have to try this type of learning.

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As someone learning German, I think music doesn't help you learn a language much. For a newbie, it is very difficult to even catch the words being sung, let alone be able to translate them. I have a hard time understanding Rammstein songs.  :tongue:

On the other hand, I think watching movies in a different language can help you understand it a bit. I know very little of Japanese but whatever I know I have learned from anime.

Listening to songs has never helped my English to be honest. I still can't make out some words when someone like Emnium raps.

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Listening to songs has never helped my English to be honest. I still can't make out some words when someone like Emnium raps.

I think if the language is one that you already understand quite a bit like English here then maybe songs can help you a bit. I personally don't think listening to English songs has helped my English much but I have a much easier time understanding thick accents now.

If its a language where your knowledge is extremely limited then as I said, songs will only confuse you further.

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I think if the language is one that you already understand quite a bit like English here then maybe songs can help you a bit. I personally don't think listening to English songs has helped my English much but I have a much easier time understanding thick accents now.

If its a language where your knowledge is extremely limited then as I said, songs will only confuse you further.

Yep, I think writing has helped me improve my English a lot. Also, perusing gaming websites like IGN and Gamespot was a big help.

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Yep, I think writing has helped me improve my English a lot. Also, perusing gaming websites like IGN and Gamespot was a big help.

Its been reading for me. Nothing can touch the improvement in grasping a language that a good reading habit gives you.

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I've learned a lot of Spanish from the Gypsy Kings and Santana, and who can forget Macarena? I think songs are a useful tool to learn some new words and phrases, but not sufficient practice to learn how to speak a new language of course.

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Its been reading for me. Nothing can touch the improvement in grasping a language that a good reading habit gives you.

I think listening and reading are different experiences.

For me, I can read French and have good comprehension of it, but I have a problem understanding someone if they speak it too fast.

Inversely, for Japanese, I'm able to understand someone speaking well... but I have a problem reading Japanese text.

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I think listening and reading are different experiences.

For me, I can read French and have good comprehension of it, but I have a problem understanding someone if they speak it too fast.

Inversely, for Japanese, I'm able to understand someone speaking well... but I have a problem reading Japanese text.

Agreed. But you cannot really compare French and Japanese because of the difference in script. I still think that if a language is in a script understandable to all, then reading improves your ability to understand it quicker than listening to it would.

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When I was listening to Coffee Break French via the Radio Lingua Network, they would, at times, use music to help learn certain things. There was, for example, a holiday song as well as a song about the different parts of a city. As you stated, I believe it helped with the pronunication of some vocab and word strings, but of course can not assist much with conversational speaking.

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I love using songs to help me learn. I just mentioned last night in a post somewhere around here about downloading hymns and Christian worship songs in Spanish (they sang one in church in Spanish and it was like an epiphany - oh, I can do THAT!) I have to admit to using a lot of the "kiddie" type songs though more, because I found them while looking for Spanish resources for my son. He thinks they're too babyish now, but I enjoy the Whistlefritz songs, and there are a few random ones out there I like.

Can I link?

The song starts about halfway through for the first one.

http://youtu.be/LJjGpU5-Af4

http://youtu.be/DL2ChPOH-lg

See? I'm pathetic. Haha! I like typical Spanish songs too, but I can understand the ones for kids better. :)

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Eh, it's not helping me much. I have some minor hearing issues and I guess I'm just not good at listening, because even when I already knew English pretty well I rarely understood anything. I had to become really, really good in order to understand entire songs.

When I listen to music in Japanese I don't understand much. I guess I should practice more...

This happens to me a lot too since I am more of a visual person than an audio one. However, what you can do if you have problems distinguishing what it is you are listening to is to download the lyrics and follow it as you listen. You will be surprised to see that you soon learn to hear the words also. At least this has worked for me with English, Spanish, Turkish - and even Swedish songs! And I learned a lot from it. =)

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I think music can certainly help. I do see people posting here that it can be difficult to hear the lyrics, and I agree with that. Even native speakers often get lyrics wrong. I can enjoy listening to music and reading the lyrics at the same time though. Just Google "[name of the song] lyrics" and you'll find tons of sites. In some cases, for Japanese songs, for example, they also come with an English translation.

Can also save some embarrassment:

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I think that the more you listen to a language the better you pick up its sounds and structure. I think this happens a lot here in Portugal with English in television because we have many programs in English, so I suppose the same effect does apply to music as well.

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