Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


singing in it helps you learn a language

Jack Campin 18 Jul 13 - 09:34 AM
meself 18 Jul 13 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,Grishka 18 Jul 13 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 18 Jul 13 - 11:50 AM
Big Al Whittle 18 Jul 13 - 11:56 AM
Marje 18 Jul 13 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,FloraG 19 Jul 13 - 03:17 AM
bubblyrat 19 Jul 13 - 07:45 AM
MartinRyan 19 Jul 13 - 12:34 PM
George Papavgeris 19 Jul 13 - 12:43 PM
Joe Offer 19 Jul 13 - 03:11 PM
Tattie Bogle 19 Jul 13 - 07:32 PM
Marje 22 Jul 13 - 11:52 AM
Tattie Bogle 22 Jul 13 - 01:49 PM
Jack Campin 22 Jul 13 - 03:56 PM
GUEST 23 Jul 13 - 01:52 AM
Jack Campin 23 Jul 13 - 05:52 AM
bubblyrat 23 Jul 13 - 06:36 AM
Marje 23 Jul 13 - 06:38 AM
Old Grey Wolf 23 Jul 13 - 07:14 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 09:34 AM

People learn languages faster and better if they sing in them:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-23357833


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: meself
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 10:17 AM

Over the last few years, I've been poking away at learning Mandarin. For awhile, I was working handy phrases ("Good morning", "It's a nice day", "I love you", "Where the hell's my beer?", "Get off my grass you little guttersnipes!", etc.)into little songs. Can't say that it helped me greatly - but it was more fun than just saying the same thing over and over.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 11:03 AM

No PhD is required to know that; language teachers have been practising the method for ages. It is particularly helpful for memorizing grammar and idioms. Best choose songs and poems that do not bend the ordinary syntax for sake of verse, and make sure you learn them absolutely correctly, including pronunciation. (I'm afraid some Mudcatters do not take that seriously enough for public performance.) I sometimes catch myself reciting lyrics to make sure about some grammatical question.

Other elements of languages, such as proper timing, lenghts, emphasis, and "speech melody", cannot be learned properly with melodies of European type. Mandarin even has a system of vowel "tones" that determine the meaning of words.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 11:50 AM

The way adults learn languages -- a word at a time -- does not conform to how languages are spoken. As a result we have difficulty distinguishing word boundaries when hearing the new language. Learning songs helps to overcome that barrier somewhat, as we learn them in a more natural phrase structure. As Grishka said, though, you need an experienced teacher to help you pick out songs that won't lead you into twisted grammar, archaisms, or socially unacceptable sayings (I know far too many songs in that last category, even in English...)
-Glenn


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 11:56 AM

also its an effective method for leaning bad language.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Marje
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 12:53 PM

Of course, it only works if you actually learn the words, and don't just read them from a book!

I'll just duck back down behind the parapet now....

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 19 Jul 13 - 03:17 AM

Met some young boys in Austria who had learned their English from 1950 American rock and roll records. It was very funny what they were saying. Rather unexpected to be called ' Tootie fruity'.
FloraG.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: bubblyrat
Date: 19 Jul 13 - 07:45 AM

I impressed my Dutch teacher (a lady from The Hedge , or Den Haag as they call it ) at Bournemouth University with my rendition of "Knees Up , Mother Brown". Whether it helped me or not with my subsequent Dutch / Flemish studies , I cannot say ; but then , maybe it did !!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: MartinRyan
Date: 19 Jul 13 - 12:34 PM

I spent a week, about a month ago, teaching English in Spain in a "total immersion for adults" scheme (Vaughantown, for those who may have heard of it). As part of my contribution, I had them singing the chorus of one of the versions of The Spanish Lady . As I explained to them beforehand - "All you have to be able to do is to
- COUNT
- BACKWARDS
- FROM TWENTY
- IN TWOs
and then do it again from NiNETEEN!

Regards


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 19 Jul 13 - 12:43 PM

Well, it helped me! Mind you, I gathered a lovely collection of mondegreens on the way, that I still cringe over.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jul 13 - 03:11 PM

I took German for 8 months at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. Every day, we had to put on a skit that we have memorized the night before. Those skits impressed speech patterns in our memories, so we learned to speak in phrases instead of by building sentences with words and grammatical rules.
The same would apply to phrases learned from songs, with the added advantage that the melody is an aid to memorization - although, as stated above, one can learn phrases from songs that don't fit so well in everyday speech.
    A wiggle and a walk
    And a giggle and a talk
    Makes the world go 'round.
-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 19 Jul 13 - 07:32 PM

Depends what you aiming to do, I think. If you are a good mimic you can learn a song phonetically from a speaker of that language without any real understanding of the structure of the language it's in, and never learn the language, though it might help to at least know roughly what the song is about to be able to sing it with some credible expression.

On the other hand if you have a real yearning to learn the language in question, it may help you to do so,through the vehicle of music and song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Marje
Date: 22 Jul 13 - 11:52 AM

Now I think about it,I studied languages at school and beyond. For A-level I had to learn various poems by heart, or at least chunks of them. We also had a teacher who was fond of singing, so we learned and sang lots of songs in French and German.

The words of most of the poems are long forgotten, even though I once knew them well enough to be able to analyse them and comment on their style, structure, etc, but I can still remember many songs and carols we learned and sang. This seems to reinforce Jack's original point - that singing in a language, rather than, say, reciting in it, helps you retain language. I still occasionally use phrases from those songs to help me remember certain vocabulary and expressions.

I have occasionally learned a foreign song "phonetically" without any real understanding, but I never retain any of this for long once the original purpose or performance is achieved. You do need to understand the language, and you need to have memorised the song.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 22 Jul 13 - 01:49 PM

But then there are a lot of nonsense "vocables" in Gaelic songs, so you just have to learn them anyway, whether you are a Gaelic speaker or not!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Jul 13 - 03:56 PM

Sometimes I can identify pretty well how this works. This is one of the first Turkish songs I heard:

Ruhi Su: Bilmem Şu Feleğin
Turkish text (warning: Google Translate makes a pig's breakfast of it)

Listen for the last line of the first verse (0:45).

Zemheri ayında canım gül ister benden

The sheer sound of that is just beautiful, and the pattern of accentuation is completely natural, just the way you'd say it. It uses both the vowels in Turkish that you don't get in English, with all the four inflected words showing vowel harmony in their suffixes. So it makes a nice pronunciation lesson. It also uses Turkish syntax in a distinctive way, with no poetic word order distortions:

midwinter month-thereof-in darling-of-mine rose asks-habitually me-from

"in the month of January my love asks me for roses"

It's an easy way to absorb some indispensable linguistic facts.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jul 13 - 01:52 AM

I agree woth this to some extent, but the stretching and elision of vowels in a song does not ressemble normal speech. if so opera singers who sing in Italian, French and German would be conversant in those languages and I doubt that many are.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Jul 13 - 05:52 AM

Quite a lot of songs DO resemble normal speech - the example I gave is one. Even when there are distortions, they are usually clearly audible as such, so you're learning to do expressive manipulation of the language. Somebody like Purcell setting English or Berlioz setting French knew what they were doing, and even though Wagner would sometimes draw out and heighten syllables, the overall stress pattern of his own German text is preserved.

The screwups are usually people setting languages they don't know that well themselves. Handel's "All WE like SHEEP". I suspect Mozart's Italian was not always very idiomatic either.

A large part of the effectiveness may be due to the way singing shuts off some of your filtering mechanisms. You don't get to revise the sounds in the song into a scansion pattern you're familiar with from your own language - the elements of that Turkish line have very different order and timing from the way you'd organize the same information in an English sentence, but if you sing it your English-based habits can't get in the way.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: bubblyrat
Date: 23 Jul 13 - 06:36 AM

I have always loved the sound of Gaelic ,and I find that joining in the choruses of "Dulaman" and " Donal Agus Morag " is very helpful in appreciating that little if anything sounds the way it is written ! Thankyou ,Altan !!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Marje
Date: 23 Jul 13 - 06:38 AM

There are, of course, nonsense syllables in many languages, and some songs also have archaic/poetic vocabulary that could mislead the language student. Even in church music you get long choruses on variants of words like "Alleluia" and "Amen" which don't carry much more meaning than "tooraly-ooraly-addity".

But overall, traditional songs are probably more likely than "art" songs to be phrased according to the natural stresses and cadences of speech. The "folk process" tends to tweak the song so that the words are easy on the tongue and on the ear. Many hymns and carols, too, are mainly one-syllable-per note, at least in cultures where the meaning of the text was considered the important thing.

Opera singers do stretch and distort the vowels in order to maximise volume and the beauty of the sound, which sometimes seem to take precedence over meaning and communication. But I would hope most of them are fairly conversant with the languages they most often sing in, particularly Italian.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: singing in it helps you learn a language
From: Old Grey Wolf
Date: 23 Jul 13 - 07:14 AM

I'm studying Japanese and recently sang a song in Japanese (an "Enka" song called "Snow Country") with my teacher at an open mike evening. I understood the words and what I was singing about, but I'm not so sure that it made my studies any easier. My teacher, who is Korean, absolutely loved the evening with its friendlyness and its atmosphere.
That's another convert to folk music, (pause while I give myself a small pat on the back for spreading the word). I think she may well sing solo next time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 20 August 7:28 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.