Turn up the tunes to boost your language learning
Guest post by Mireille Fiset
Everybody loves music. It is great entertainment, that helps you both relax and focus. Apart from being cool and fun, music has many positive effects on our brain. Some say it has healing power, while others claim that it helps develop the cognitive capacities of young infants. But did you know that music can also greatly help you learn a new language? And not only by immersing you in a culture and a tradition: Music genuinely helps your brain to process all this new information quicker and better. Here are five reasons why music is a great tool for learning a new language.
Music Stimulates Memory
Have you ever wondered why you get a song’s refrain stuck in your head for days on end, but never sentences from a magazine or a dialogue from a movie you just watched? That’s because music stimulates memory like nothing else. And think about it: When you were a kid, weren’t you taught all kinds of songs and tunes to help you remember stuff? The alphabet, the planets’ order in the solar system, irregular verbs, etc. Music is a powerful memory trigger, making it one of the best learning tools there is. You can listen to songs written in the language you are learning, but you can also make up your own! Pick your favorite melody and sing the days of the week to it, for example, or anything you have to memorize in a foreign language! You’ll see an improvement quickly.
Singing and Learning Lyrics Increases Vocabulary
It does so in our own language, why would it not be the same in a foreign language? Listening to a song in the language you’re trying to learn will help you enrich your vocabulary much quicker. You’ll hear words as well as word combinations that you might not have heard in any other circumstances.
Singing a Song Improves Pronunciation
Perhaps you’ll notice that your accent is less noticeable when you sing a foreign language than when you speak it. That’s because the rhythm of the music makes it easier to articulate the words, and helps develop a proper pronunciation.
Listening To Music Will Improve Your Comprehension Of The Language
According to Dave Munger’s Cognitive Daily article, the very first thing you have to figure out when you learn a new language is where the words begin and end. That step not only is the first, but also the hardest. Adding melody and pitch to speech can help make that step easier; Music makes the words more differentiable from one another.
Last But Not Least: Music Is Fun
Maybe that one sums it all. Of course all those scientific explanations of why music is a powerful learning tool are valuable. But, come to think of it, maybe all of music’s power relies on the fact that music is fun, entertaining and emotionally stimulating. By boosting morale and motivation, music has the power to make tasks seem effortless.
So what are you waiting for? Browse the web for songs in the new language you are learning and see how much listening to them will help you!
Mireille is a travel, music and theater enthusiast. She wrote for the stage and television, and is now working as a freelance blogger for Shots and Stars, a website that provides Montreal concert listings, as well as for the West Island Music Academy who offer Montreal guitar lessons.
What are some of your favorite resources for music in your target language? Share them here and they may show up in a future blog post!