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Using Music To Learn A New Language

With apps such as Spotify and Apple Music making any song you want to hear immediately accessible, why should we not utilise it to its full extent: as a means of learning a new language. Ever had a song stuck in your head? Our brains latch on to catchy tunes. People will listen to their favourite song on repeat until they know every word off by heart, and so imagine how useful this could be when learning a language?

Song lyrics help you learn vocabulary in context

Rather than simply learning the words, song lyrics typically are talking about a specific topic, and so you better understand which words are used in which context. Quite often, we will have different words used for different situations (ie. you may tell your mother that you are feeling frustrated, but tell your friend that you are %@!&$ off – same meaning, different words)

Or, the same word may mean different things depending on the context (ie. “that is my phone” and “phone me” – in one context it is being used as a noun, the other as a doing word).

Music is portable

The beauty of modern technology is that it can be enjoyed everywhere. On your bus to work, you could be listening to foreign songs, learning languages while just relaxing. Gone are the days of lugging around giant textbooks, you have access to all the songs in the world from your device. Simply go onto Spotify (although, of course, other music streaming apps are available) and you can search for songs by country!

Learn the REAL language

Textbooks will give you super formal language, but it can be hard to understand what natives are saying as they will use colloquial dialect and slang. Music is the best way to learn what language native speakers authentically use, and will make it easier for you to engage in enjoyable conversation.

Imagine this scenario:

Someone comes up to you and says “How do you do, sir. The weather is rather enjoyable today, is it not?” versus someone who says “alright, mate. Bloody hot today, innit?”

Who are you more likely to engage in enjoyable and fluent conversation with?

Singing helps!

Yes, singing can be a little embarrassing, but the University of Edinburgh found that your chances of learning a language double when you sing the phrases you are trying to memorise. Singing can also help with pronunciation! You get more used to the sound of the language and saying the actual words. So whether it is in the shower, while cooking dinner, or at a karaoke bar, get to singing those foreign songs!

Why Study Languages Abroad?


There are so many benefits to learning a new language.

You’ll develop a brand new set of skills, immerse yourself in a different culture and discover a new way of thinking. Having more than one language on your CV is also very impressive to employers, and it can open up a world of opportunities for work, travel and leisure.

Nowadays, you can learn a language pretty much anywhere. You can study languages at college, undertake a modern languages degree at university, or study online with the help of popular websites and apps. But there is nothing better than studying a language in its country of origin. Here’s why you should always consider studying a foreign language abroad.

1. Meet new people

Moving abroad can be daunting. But when you study languages abroad, you’ll meet people from all over the world. There will be other language students in exactly the same position as you, and finding a group of friends to help you get to grips with the language is important.

2. Learn the local lingo

Studying overseas will open up a whole world of language that you can’t learn in a textbook. You’ll equip yourself with a different type of language – one that’s informal, chatty and full of common phrases and sayings. You’ll become a confident communicator, with a whole wealth of knowledge.

3. You’ll speak it every day

Practice makes perfect! When you study a language in the comfort of your home country, it’s easy to become lazy and put off practising. But abroad, you’ll have no choice but to speak it every day. This can seem scary, but it’s one of the best ways to get outside of your comfort zone and get talking to people.

4. Understand body language

People don’t just communicate with words. When you can see someone’s body language, it’s easier to take in what they’re saying. Languages like Italian for example, rely more heavily on gestures and facial expressions to communicate. This is important to understand if you want to communicate fluently with a new culture.

5. Immerse yourself in culture

Repeating phrases from a textbook can only get you so far. But getting out into the world and immersing yourself in a new culture will improve your conversational skills. Simple tasks like ordering food in a restaurant, asking for directions, buying a bus ticket or going to the cinema can suddenly become fascinating and exciting parts of life.

6. Boost your employability

If you’re looking to work abroad at some point in your life, give yourself a head start by studying abroad too. As an international student, you’ll gain a level of understanding about what it’s like to work and study in your chosen country. Having these customs and experiences can make you much more attractive to employers.

7. Learn to observe

Moving abroad might be scary to you, but you’ll gain skills that you never knew you had. For example, if you’re used to being the centre of attention, you’ll learn to sit back and observe. Overhearing conversations that other people are having – at university, in lectures or in the street – will open your eyes (and ears) to a new way of thinking.

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