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Use Popular Music to Enhance Your Language Learning

Many language learners have difficulty because there is so much memorizing to do. Instead of suffering through challenging memorization tasks, language learners can use music to make memorizing fun and more comfortable.

Learn Favorite Songs in Different Languages

Many memorable popular songs come in more than one language. For example, the song, “We Are Young” by Fun is sung in English and Spanish. If you already speak English and you are learning Spanish, why not learn the Spanish version of the song. You already know what the song is about in English, so learning it in Spanish will help speed up your language acquisition.

Visit YouTube for Lyrics

The world recently realized how much fun Korean popular music (also known as K-Pop) is when the world was treated to “Gangnam Style” by Psy. Millions of people visited YouTube to learn what the lyrics mean. While learning the lyrics, many of the viewers learned a few Korean words. YouTube and popular music are great companions for the language learner because since many videos include either lyrics in the native language or translated into English, Spanish, and more. Once you find an artist in a global popular music style, like K-Pop, you will be able to easily find more songs in the same style.

Rhythms and Subtleties

When working on learning a new language, it is easier to understand the subtleties of the language when you listen to music and learn the lyrics. You will have an easier time learning how the sentences are structured, how the words sound and what syllables are accented. Because many languages have a particular rhythm, like the Latin languages Spanish, French, and Italian, learning songs will help you learn how the language sounds when you are able to understand the rhythm.

Cues from the Toddlers

Using music to learn new words and phrases really does work. Young children who are learning their native language are taught songs to learn body parts in songs like “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” the alphabet in “The Alphabet Song,” and about the planets in “The Planet Song.” What works for toddlers will work for adults, too. Foreign language teachers in schools even use these popular childhood songs to help their students learn a new language.

Find the Popular Musicians

If you are not sure where to turn to find the best music in the language you are learning, you can turn to your local library since most of them have CDs available in many languages. Librarians can often recommend popular choices. You can also visit YouTube and search terms like “J-Pop” if you are studying Japanese or “Duranguense” if you are studying Spanish. Look for the videos that have the most views and you will quickly be able to identify the most popular music by artists who speak the language you are learning.

Learning languages with music is fun, easy and worth the effort. Try it and have fun!


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