Sunday, 17 September 2017

HOW MUSIC AND LANGUAGE CONNECT

I have long been an advocate for using music to help learn a new language. This is one of the reasons why I use music when teaching foreign languages, and why I started Music Mondays on the blog.  Not only do I enjoy the cultural aspects that music can communicate, but it also offers the chance to learn a language in a fun and engaging way!  Through my own personal experiences and those of my students, I have noted that listening to music in a foreign language greatly helps in the language learning process.

Aside from 1st-hand experiences, research also proves the music and language connection.  One study in particular looked at the correlation between singing and foreign language learning. They found that singing enhanced the brain's ability to recall not only native text, but foreign text as well.  This recall of new language lasted up to 6 months after the original lesson!

Further research proves that music training in young children, greatly impacts their ability to learn a foreign language.  Musical training boosts the brains ability to detect subtle differences between sounds, which is very helpful when learning rules of pronunciation and intonation in foreign language study.  Music training at a young age benefits into adulthood as well, as the study noted that adults who were musically trained at a young age, had an advantage for learning foreign languages, over those who were not.

In addition to music, other creative ways to enhance the language learning process include watching foreign language movies, listening to a foreign language radio station and reading foreign language books.  In one of my recent blog posts, I discuss using these and other fun methods to learn language.  The post highlights the fact that these methods could easily be incorporated into ones everyday routine; this is especially important, as the key to learning new language is to try and immerse oneself in that language and culture.

I recently came across the following interview of Susanna Zaraysky, author of Language is Music, in which she explains the importance of music in language learning, as well as the use of other fun language learning methods like those mentioned above:


Happy language learning! :)

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