6 Ways Music Can Help You Learn A Foreign Language
June 20, 2023
2 min read
Music is food for the soul. All it takes is the right song to uplift your spirits on a bad day. You just can't help grooving to your favorite tunes, can you? But music is more than just entertainment at a party. Music can prove to be an extremely useful instrument to aid in one’s learning process, especially something as challenging as learning a foreign language. Here’s how-
A catchy tune is all you need to leave a song ingrained in your head for days at an end. I’m pretty sure you'd be able to sing One Love by Blue effortlessly right now. This song came out in 2002. Yes, it's been almost 20 years! And it's unknowingly been a part of your memory for all these years; which is proof that music is a great tool for memorization. According to scientists, singing words and phrases in a foreign language makes them easier to remember. So, music can be a great tool for learning and remembering new words and internalizing tedious rules of grammar without the boring process of rote learning from textbooks.
Learning how to speak like a native is a very important part of learning a language. And conversational language isn't something a textbook can teach you. Music acquaints us with colloquial words, phrases and idioms used by native speakers in everyday life and thus enriches our vocabulary a great deal.
The next step to speaking like a native is sounding like a native. While singing, we tend to reproduce sounds and tones, which makes it easier for us to assimilate the respective accent. This improves our pronunciation of foreign languages. Take, for example, the hit song Hips Don't Lie by pop queen Shakira. While it may sometimes be tough for English speakers to remember that the ‘ll’ is pronounced as ‘y’ in Spanish, pronouncing the lyrics ‘¿Cómo se llama?’ (pronounced ‘Cómo se yama’) correctly, comes naturally.
A country’s art can tell us a lot about its culture. Music is a great way to expose ourselves to the intrinsic aspects of a community’s culture and learn more about its people and their way of life. After all, learning a language is more than just speaking or understanding it; it's about deeply connecting to a civilization different from ours.
Music allows you to carry your foreign language learning everywhere with you. Listening to music in the shower, on the drive to work, or while preparing a favorite meal, subconsciously implants the subtleties of the language in our brains and makes language learning process easier and more natural. You may forget your textbooks, but never your phone.
Perhaps the toughest part about learning a new language is finding the motivation to push through the difficult stretches. Finding music that you enjoy will motivate you to listen and learn everyday and make the process lively and entertaining.
I personally listen to a lot of Spanish music to help me practice the language, and not only is this exercise immensely beneficial from an educational perspective, but it's also given me some really good music to add to my party playlist!
So the next time you hit Youtube or Spotify, don't forget to look up some popular and peppy songs in the language you're learning, and of course, sing your heart out!