How to Learn a Foreign Language with Songs

Learning a new language can be really tough sometimes and not few people give up before they see any promising results. Using songs written in the desired language to study is a great way to improve the vocabulary and the overall feeling for that language. Follow these simple steps to get more fluent in no time!


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    Know your level. When browsing local book stores or online shops, one might feel the urge to buy material that is way out of one's personal language level. Novels for example, even famous ones, children's books, if you have just started learning, or material like movies, or TV shows. The sad truth is, that as a beginner this kind of material is more frustrating than helpful, as a too high number of new words and grammar items will just impede your natural progress and lower your motivation. It is very important to choose material that suits your level of knowledge and vocabulary.
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    Find good learning resources - Choose songs you like. The good thing about music and song lyrics is that we connect them emotionally and have a much easier time shifting those words into our long-term memory. On the other hand, when listening to music, we don't ascribe too much importance to the correct use of grammar, the learning effect is much more passive. Things you might look for are:
    • Search for your favorite song in any foreign language
    • See the exact translation to every word of the song
    • Sing along to it
    • Learn it by heart
    • Practice with a number of language games
    • Use the built-in vocabulary trainer to never forget the song
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    Know the meaning of each single word. This is especially important and sets you apart from normal fans and listeners of that foreign music. If you know, even only rudimentarily what all the words in a song are supposed to mean, you can automatically get an insight on how the language works. Make sure to review this step, as it is easy to forget the meaning of the most unusual words.
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    Learn a song by heart. Have you ever had a school assignment to learn a poem by heart? Didn't you also get a deeper sense of understanding what the poet meant, after you learned it? The same effect applies to music. Once you know a song by heart and have a rough understanding of its meaning, in theory, you just put 30 to 50 new words into your long-term memory. But not only the words themselves are being processed. Having the song always in your mind, sets your brain free to ponder about it even when you aren't consciously thinking about it.
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    Sing the song often during your day. And enjoy learning it! Learning a song should be fun and give you insight into a different culture, explain to you what people of different countries care to sing about. If it is just simple, but not your type of music, then your progress will also slow down.
    • If you are into Anime or Western Animation, try theme songs!
    • Disney songs have always been translated into up to 30+ languages.
    • Pop Songs are usually easy to understand, as they have similar themes.
    • Children's songs might also be helpful, as they are also being used to teach the language to native children
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    Write flashcards or use a vocabulary trainer. If you want to have a long lasting effect from your learning efforts, write flashcards like you would do with any other textbook. Write down the words you didn't know and see how much easier the reviewing gets, when you already formed an emotional connection with these words.
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    If you are living in a country where that language is spoken: Look out for common patterns, search for words you just learned. Try to incorporate the words you just learned. They might seem outdated or lyrical but if people correct you, you learn something new, if they laugh, you can make a new friend!
    • But always remember: Songs won't teach you key phrases like "Hello" or "Goodbye". Make sure to learn them in advance when travelling to a foreign country. They will probably make up 90 percent of your initial conversation!


  • Always repeat what you have already learned
  • Don't overestimate your abilities. One song at a time!
  • Find songs you enjoy, whose melody you like
  • Let your foreign friends help you with singing and sing to them. They will encourage you to keep on going!

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Categories: World Languages