Why Music Is Your Language Learning Secret Weapon
Ever had a song stuck in your head that you can’t get out (we know Louis Theroux’s ‘jiggle jiggle’ rap has been in there for a while)? Maybe you automatically sing the ABCs instead of saying them? These examples show how melodies can enhance memory recall for certain words, and at Memrise, we wanted to illustrate that in our new lessons.
Celebrate music with us!
Our Memrise Music lessons were inspired by the strong link between music and language learning. As our CEO, Steve Toy, says “... listening to native speakers actually speak the words you have just learned, or sing them, is by far the most effective method... and what better way to do that than listening to songs you like?”
Music is proven to be one of the best ways to learn a language. Studies show that music can speed up the learning process through the use of melody and our brains' ability to recall these rather than a collection of words - pretty cool huh?
The idea was to create a set of immersive language learning lessons based on popular international songs that could help people learn the lyrics and incorporate them into their daily lives - so that’s what we did!
You can find everything from Stromae's "Papaoutai" to Bad Bunny's "Ojitos Lindos" on the lesson playlist. The lessons are currently available in Spanish, Italian and French.
‘Jazz’ up your immersive learning process
But what has this got to do with immersive learning and how can music help?
People have traditionally come together over music. Music is often a group activity, whether it's an emotional experience shared among participants, a celebration of an art form, or a part of a ritual or ceremony. Language is the same - most people don't talk to themselves, they need a partner to communicate.
Both music and language can be viewed at a very basic level as compositions. They are made up of small parts that combine to make something bigger and more meaningful; in other words, their whole is greater than the sum of their parts.
However, being able to recall lyrics is all about the melody. Rhythm, of course, plays a part as well; everybody knows how important rhythm is in making something memorable. However, melodies have quite a few other attributes that we can use as cues to help us remember word groupings. A combination of immersion in the language itself, through native speaker videos, and structured lessons helps learners be able to recognise, and understand, the words behind the lyrics.
Learning the lyrics of Bad Bunny, as an example, is a fun way to support your language learning journey as you can recognize the words used in the song in everyday conversations in the real world, such as "dónde" meaning "where". Through the combination of the music and the lessons, you will be picking up new words and phrases in no time.
Whether you’re singing your heart out to BTS’ ‘DNA’ or showing off your moves to Bad Bunny’s ‘Moscow Mule’ or ‘Ojos Bonitos’, we’ve got the right lesson for you to be able to flex your future new language skills.