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Linguaholic

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?

I have used music to help me learn a language and I find it very effective. I find music to be very entertaining, relaxing and makes me focus. Apart from being cool and fun music have many positive effects on our brain. It is said that it has healing power. Music genuinely helps your brain to process  information quicker and better. It also help develop the cognitive capacity of young infant. 

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After I started learning Chinese I tried finding music in Mandarin but a lot of it is really bad. After searching harder I finally found some really good artists and it helps a lot. Having a melody behind a phrase helps it get stuck in your head. Plus, I'm always listening to music to there's always know phrases to hear. All I need to do is put a meaning behind it by translating the lyrics.

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One thing that should be noted is that singing involves different parts of the brain from speaking. I suspect that listening to singing is different from listening to speech. Singing a foreign language would then imprint the language on more of the brain. It would also help avoid boredom and increase attention to the learning process.

I haven't really thought about this before, but now that you mention it - it does kind of feel different in my head when I'm listening to a song rather than a speech. I think the tone also helps with memorization as when I hum the tone to a foreign song I also remember the accompanying lyrics that go with that particular verse.

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I remember back in highschool, my french teacher would play and hand out the lyrics to a variety of French songs.  Our tast was to try and figure out what the song was about.  I think this really helped me expand my vocab and general understanding of the french language.  Yes, it can be hard and frustrating as a lot of slang is often used in such songs.  However, overall I think that I benefited immensely from it.

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It's a great way of learning and I recommend it, especially if you have an auditory memory. If your favorite songs are in the language you're trying to learn, you have a big advantage over other students.

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When I was teaching English in South Korea, we were always encouraged to teach the children using songs. I taught my kindergarten class a whole bunch of pop songs, from One Direction to The Beatles and they loved all of them! Sometimes the kids would ask what certain words meant and I would be able to explain them to them by referencing one of the songs that we had learnt.

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When I was teaching English in South Korea, we were always encouraged to teach the children using songs. I taught my kindergarten class a whole bunch of pop songs, from One Direction to The Beatles and they loved all of them! Sometimes the kids would ask what certain words meant and I would be able to explain them to them by referencing one of the songs that we had learnt.

That sounds lovely Erika! It must have been a very exciting experience to teach English in Korea, right? I would love to hear more about it!

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I began learning Spanish through listening to Shakira. Of course I became nowhere near fluent, but it really helped once I started taking classes because I could recognise a lot of words, and I knew how to pronounce them.

Probably the best way to teach yourself though, I think, is to translate. I've translated a couple of books into Swedish from English a few years back and it helped my knowledge immensely. But I guess it's individual - whatever works for you.

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I actually haven't learned a language by listening to music, but I think that this method is a great way to learn proper pronunciation on certain words and how to roll your tongue on certain syllables.

It's a nice method to go buy because not only do you learn how to speak it, you also get to hear music and find out new foreign artists to love.

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I think it can really help some people, my brother has mentioned that he thinks it helps him with his Japanese. But I doubt it would help me much considering that I often have a hard time understanding lyrics that are in my native tongue.

However, I do listen to songs in foreign languages for enjoyment purposes. If it helps me on some subconscious level then that's a bonus for me.

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Music is good to learn. But I think movies help better than music. Songs may be having different pronunciations and it may be hard to catch words. But a proper subtitled movie conversation will help in learning new words.

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When I started learning Spanish ,I had a hard time keep some simple words straight. I started using music to help me drill some of the vocabulary and verb conjugations in my head. I would put on my headphones and sing whatever I was working on. Somehow this helped.

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I think music can help you learn, but on its own its own is not going to do much. Like some people have said already, if you have no idea what the words sound like, then you won't really learn much by listening to music.

That being said, once you have some basic vocabulary, you can start listening to songs and checking the meanings of the words you didn't get, making an active exercise out of it.

OR you can use songs to create some immersion while doing some other kind of studying, it usually works for me.

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Music is a great way to learn languages and anything else. Just recently I saw a TV show where an English teacher was teaching Shakespeare trough some songs he recorded, pretty remarkable.

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I don't think this'd be very effective considering I have trouble listening to regular Spanish conversation and following along sometimes! Maybe if the song were to be specifically written to teach the language it would be of some help. Otherwise, probably not. :\

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  • 4 weeks later...

I like it!

Music can be a form of inspiration of sorts. Instead of simply relying on just "wanting" to learn the language and pushing yourself, the songs we listen to can actually push us to learn more about a language. It can't be a fully-blown lesson that can make us understand a lot about the language, sure, but the little bits that we learn just because we "want" to learn are good techniques to force new words into our head without forgetting them.

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The most mediums we have that help us to learn a language, the better I say. Learning a language is such a long and complex process that I think that listening to music will help for sure to pick up the correct sounds.

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We do advise our students who are studying the English language to listen to English songs to familiarize themselves with words and expressions. I believe it does help to get exposed to the foreign language especially if you regularly hear the English songs.

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  • 1 month later...

Well.....for me it's not "learning", but it can be used as a practice for your listening skills.

We all enjoy songs with comments like "It's catchy." or "The music is nice.", but what about the lyrics?

Consider yourself really, really good in a language if you can get every words correctly out of a song :)

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I think learning throught music is really helpful. It's a fun way to familiarize yourself with the language, since you'd probably be listening to music anyway. It helps as much as reading, only you train your listening skills intead of your reading skills.

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