An Unusual Language Learning Tip

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busuu - singing to learn languages

This week we’ve got a great tip for you. Believe it or not, singing can help you learn a new language.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that when different groups of people heard a number of phrases in Hungarian, the people who sang them back had much better recall than the people who spoke them.

In one of the tests, the singing group did twice as well as the speaking group. The reasons why singing a phrase makes it easier to remember than speaking isn’t known but it’s thought that it may have something to do with the melody.

Other benefits of singing in a foreign tongue

Not only can it help your powers of recall but singing can help you learn a second language in lots of other ways too. We know that a number of you like to use your new language skills when you abroad, so how about singing while you’re there? It would certainly be an unusual way of introducing yourself. Or you could even have a go at karaoke in your new language.

If you’d rather keep your singing to the confines of your own home, it can still help you learn. By listening to the songs from a foreign country you can learn a lot about the country’s culture. It’s also a great way of picking up new vocabulary and phrases that you might not hear elsewhere.

Just by listening to songs in a different language you’ll be improving your listening skills and improving your accent without trying. And having lots of fun in the process.

Why not make it part of your learning?

All you have to do is find a few songs in the language you’re learning online then add them to your mobile phone or MP3 player. That way you can listen to them while you’re out and about and learn on the go, just like you do with the busuu apps.

So why not give it a go?

If you are feeling super confident, why not film yourself while singing in the language you are learning and tweet us your video on @busuu?

Matilde is one of busuu’s German Language Experts. She was born in Rome, Italy in a bilingual family speaking German and Italian. Then she moved to New York to study pedagogical theatre and spent many years focusing on using theatre for ESL students. Matilde loves reading, cooking and swimming and is a massive fan of improv comedy!

15 COMMENTS

  1. Dear busuu
    Hello work team busu my name is mr somvin i am now studying at university of laos
    I have some problem about learning english i was studying used many time around 7 years i know many word but when people foreign spoke i do not know why ,how do i something change

    • Hi Mr Somvin,

      You need to keep learning more and more with busuu 🙂 but we can tell you that you will be able to understand English better if you follow this music tip and if you start training chatting with foreigners or friends. That’s the best way to improve your understanding of a language.

      Hope this helps!

      Ciao for now,
      busuu team

  2. Good idea. I teach English in China and often use this as well. I also teach younger kids to jump rope to the jump rope rhythms. … they pick up the words fast.

  3. I’m a huge believer in learning through music as well. I think it’s super low-key and a fun way to get involved without too much pressure. I’m trying to learn languages first through music and it’s been really cool so far. Thanks for posting this!

  4. That’s a great tip! Learning new languages with this app is super cool and I think I’ll give this a try 🙂 Thanks for letting me know!

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