Jump to content
Linguaholic

Should non-native speaker learn English through songs?


Recommended Posts

  • 3 weeks later...

I think it helps a lot since if you listen to a song you like enough times eventually you'll memorize it and by the time you look up translations it will be much easier to analyze them because of your familiarity with the phrases rather than having to start both from scratch at the same time. I can't speak for the process in English since I've always known the language from the start but I have listened to some french songs over and over and it did help me figure out and learn a few french words and phrases eventually. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you speak English as a secondary language, you can listen to a lot of English songs, but preferably those songs which you are already familiar with or enjoy listening.  You can try to look up the meanings of certain words in a dictionary or thesaurus.  If you are into transcription, you may try transcribing the songs in English.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

I disagree. When I was younger, I would listen to English songs, I would like English songs, but I would rarely understand them. It wasn't until I actually started learning English through basic use of the internet, that I found myself understanding songs that I previously didn't. And it wasn't as if I rarely listened to English songs, in fact, I only listened to English songs. 

The fact that songs barely helped me to learn anything, while using the computer for about 4 years helped me learn proper vocabulary and grammar, I think it's safe to say that songs don't really help you learn a language.

Link to post
Share on other sites

They can really be useful to learn some words or even sentences. But, if you want some deeper, wider knowledge, then you must do much more than just listening songs. I will tell you from my personal experience of non native English speaker that reading different books in English has had a decisive influence on my knowledge abilities. But I read a lot, and I am still doing it. The Internet is a very good resource, where you can find all sorts of literature totally free of charge. And according to this, today is much easier to learn foreign language than sometime in the past.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For adults, learning English through songs is probably not as effective as watching English cartoons or dramas where you can listen to whole English sentences in everyday settings. A song is written with a creative license just like poems so if you're intentionally learning English though songs, you might get the wrong idea or grammar structure. It might be effective for children though because there are a lot of song materials that are specially created to teach vocabulary words. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my opinion, I think it's a very good idea because you can learn vocabulary and the pronunciation of a lot of words. I'm learning "Safe & Sound" (Taylor Swift) and that helps me a lot to be honest. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just be careful, some more "urban" genres actually use slang and some broken English. It is also very important to be familiar with the slang, some idioms and expressions that people use, that's how people talk in real life after all, but you have to be very careful and recognize the difference because when you are learning a language you should learn the proper grammar and form first, speak correctly, then familiarize yourself with slangs. This applies to other forms of entertainment  and for all languages.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I cannot say that I would recommend this as the primary approach, but certainly you can make some room for it your overall strategy.  I know a lot of people who find music particularly soothing and relaxing, and I can certainly see where that translates to an easier time in learning the language.  Of course, I think we all know that the lyrics of songs are necessarily in proper English most of the time, so maybe for word recognition it would be better than anything like sentence structure.  Very interesting idea, though, and I am curious to see if others include it in their routine.  Thanks for sharing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I find songs are a great way to learn new songs in a language that you already know some of. I find that I can usually work out what some of the words are at least if I already know what some other words are. I've also translated the lyrics of songs in other languages to learn some new words and phrases as well. I find this is particularly effective if I like the song because I'll therefore remember the words and the meaning of them. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with @rz3300. Learning English or even any language through songs can be very helpful but I also would not say that it should be the major tool for learning a language. People do learn in different ways and some can learn faster with the use of songs, some by watching and listening to other people speak the language, some by reading, and some by conversing with learned or native speakers. If learning English through songs is the most effective way for someone, then he/she could focus more on it. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I would recommend learning English through songs. Let's face it learning a new language can be pretty arduous and boring,so anything to make it more fun is a bonus. Most people love music so it can really spark more of an interest in what you're learning, from my experience. It's a lot better than just reading words on a page and memorizing them. Music just makes the whole process more fun. It may not be for everybody, as most folks learn in different ways, but I think it'd be effective for a lot of people.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think anyone can learn a new language just by listening to songs. Being able to sing English songs does not mean you know the language. There are many singers who sing in other language yet, they don't know that language. When I was learning English, I used to find really hard to decipher the lyrics. In my experience,if you know basic English, you can improve English by watching English movies. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember singing along Tenacious D. music to practice my english pronountiation, Jack Black is really a rad rock star, Meat loaf is also awesome. Take a look at "kickapoo" for example:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvvjiE4AdUI

A long ass freaking time ago
In a town called Kickapoo
There lived a humble family
Religious through and through
But yay, there was a black sheep
And he knew just what to do

His name was young J.B.
And he refused to step in line
A vision he did see-eth
Freaking rocking all the time
He wrote a tasty jam
And all the planets did align

Oh, the dragon's boards were blazing
As I stepped into his cave
Then I sliced his freaking cockles
With a long and shiny blade

'Twas I who bugged the dragon
Buckalizing buckaloo
And if you try to buck with me
Then I shall buck you too

Gotta get it on in the party zone
I gotta lock and load in the party zone
Gotta lick a toad in the party zone
Gotta break the code in the party zone

You've disobeyed my orders, son
Why were you ever born?
Your brother's ten times better than you
Jesus loves him more

This music that you play for us
Comes from the depths of Hell
Rock 'n' roll's the Devil's work
He wants you to rebel

You'll become a mindless puppet
Beelzebub will pull the strings
Your heart will lose direction
And chaos, it will bring

You'd better shut your mouth
You better watch your tone
You're going for a week
With no telephone

Don't wanna hear you cry
Don't let me hear you moan
You gotta praise The Lord
When you're in my home

Dio, can you hear me?
I am lost and so alone
I'm asking for your guidance
Won't you come down from your throne?

I need a tight compadre
Who will teach me how to rock
My father thinks you're evil
But man, he can suck a rock

Rock is not the Devil's work
It's magical and rad
I'll never rock as long as I am
Stuck here with my dad

I hear you, brave young Jables
You are hungry for the rock
But to learn the ancient method
Sacred doors, you must unlock

Escape your father's clutches
And this oppressive neighborhood
On a journey, you must go
To find the land of Hollywood

In The City of fallen angels
Where the ocean meets the sand
You will form a strong alliance
And the world's most awesome band

To find your fame and fortune
Through the valley you must walk
You will face your inner demons
Now go, my son and rock

So he bailed from freaking Kickapoo
With hunger in his heart
And he journeyed far and wide
To find the secrets of his art

But in the end, he knew
That he would find his counterpart
Rock, rock, rock

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that you have to be careful about what genre of music you're picking.  With rap, hip hop, and some r&b, you would learn more Ebonics than English.  Not to say that isn't fun to listen to but Ebonics but it has its own unique grammar rules that won't be technically correct in standard English.  You would have to be careful about how much you pick up because you might end up sounding Iggy does when she raps.  People have called her out for sounding like a Southern black woman instead of an Australian who raps and how racist it is.  So it's kind of a hard finding the balance between using some relevant slang and full on Ebonics.  

Country is also another one that is fun to listen to but they really emphasis the Southern country slang that isn't used in most context.  Though it's closer to standard English than Ebonics but most of the country doesn't really talk like that.  Those are the only genres where I would be aware that you're broaching unique slang that isn't really used in normal conversation.  But you should listen to whatever you like and every little bit helps.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think you can learn a language entirely by listening to songs in that language. But, I guess it helps. It can be helpful in knowing the proper way to pronounce words as singers usually don't use an accent. Also, to discover new words and lookup its meaning is helpful too. If nothing else you are at least enjoying the song :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I wouldn't say they should because it sounds rather prescriptive LOL Different people have different strengths and weakness, and we all prefer to learn through different methods that work for us. I have personally never tried to learn a language through the medium of song, but I've heard some people say it's worked for them. -and I say if it works for you, whatever method you employ, go for it and good luck. We don't all have to use the same universal methods in order to succeed. What suits me may not necessarily be the most popular method.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that in addition to other language-learning resources, learning English through songs is a great way to learn slang. However, I don't think it would be a good idea to learn English solely through this method, as words are often pronounced differently in a song than how they're normally pronounced.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...