In this guest post by Natalia Wilson of Musical Advisors, you will learn how to learn a language by using techniques to make your learning studies easier and more fun by incorporating music into the process.
Every culture uses a language to communicate with each other. Language is, therefore, a universal phenomenon, but one that varies significantly from culture to culture. Similarly, music is a universal art form that, historically, has been used to pass down stories to younger generations, rather than writing them down on paper. These cultures’ ability to remember these stories for countless generations is a testament to the human ability to memorize information easily when it’s paired with a catchy melody.
Since music is a communicative tool, learning music is, therefore, similar to how you would learn a language. Not only is music an excellent way to communicate with others verbally, musical notation also resembles written the language in many ways. Just as visual symbols have been adopted to signify different notes and rhythms, letters and punctuation symbols have been adopted to notate languages.
Learning a new language can seem daunting, especially if that language uses a different alphabet than your native tongue. However, you can make your process of working to learn a language much easier by incorporating the language of music into your studies. Here are some ways to take advantage of the similarities between music and language to help you become more fluent:
It will help you learn slang
Occasionally, people who study language from books miss out on the slang that is so important to everyday communication in another language. Many language books will teach readers to use formal words and sentences that don’t translate perfectly in a casual social setting.
By listening to modern music, you’ll be able to pick up on the slang and common sayings that are used by people who speak the language fluently. Just like all other aspects of a culture, language is constantly changing as new words are adopted and others are left in the past. Modern music with lyrics will not only help you learn a language, but will also allow you to become a fluent and modern speaker of a particular language.
It will slow down the pronunciation of words
Many people learning languages quickly pick up how to understand written sentences, but become overwhelmed when they’re trying to understand spoken sentences in a conversation. This is because people tend to speak very quickly when they’re engaged in a conversation.
If you’re reading a sentence written down in another language, however, you can re-read the sentence as many times as you need in order to understand its message. Music that draws out the pronunciation of different words through long melodies will help you understand the units of each word. For example, in English, the word “library” tends to be spoken in a way that each of the syllables is not properly enunciated. Many native speakers of English will say the first “r” so quickly that someone trying to learn the language might not hear it at all. This person will then begin to think “library” is pronounced “libary” and their ability to speak English fluently will be compromised.
If you’re looking for a song to get you started, Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” is great. It draws out words like “deep”, “inside”, and “beat” for a longer period of time than they would be in a regular conversation. By practicing with music, you’ll be able to better hear the individual units of sounds that collectively make up a word.
It will improve your grammar
Some of the best writers in history have also been songwriters. For example, Bob Dylan just recently won the Nobel Prize for Literature. If you’re hoping to learn English, Dylan’s lyrics are a very valuable resource for understanding poetic styles of writing. These styles of writing are much more rhythmic than other styles, and can often be more complex than day-to-day uses of a language. Although poetry is not used in casual settings, it’s necessary to study the artistic uses of that language if you want to develop complete fluency. For some song ideas to get you started, take a look at this article.
About the author: Natalie Wilson has been an avid guitar player since she was five years old. She’s always believed that music is a powerful way to spread positivity, so started a blog to share her thoughts.