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Music for Language Learning: Best Practices

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

All cultures have a form of music that they call their own. Music is one of the early types of learning tools to learn a language. Parents use music to teach their young children simple words. Scientists have proven that music helps in focusing attention, improving memory, and acquiring a language. Music is a good foundation builder as well because it can help in physical development and coordination.

Why music helps in language learning

The imitation of the musical structure and rhythm of a language helps a person learn a language, which is one reason why children learn a new language faster. They play with other children and listen to songs, allowing them to adopt a new language easily. The repetition of song lyrics, such as those from nursery rhymes helps children retain words and expressions. Children may not know the meaning of the words from another language, but they will remember them. Mimicking the pronunciation of the words helps them practice making the sounds. The sounds will later lead to understanding their actual meaning.

You might not notice it, but have you wondered at times why you still remember the nursery rhymes that you learned as a child? You can effectively retain expressions and words through music; that’s why. It’s also the reason why you can memorize the lyrics of a song you like because the pattern is repetitive. Moreover, when you listen to music and follow the words, rhythm, beat and melody, you use both sides of your brain.

Ways to study a language through music

Each person studies and learns differently. When using music for language learning, the most effective way depends on your studying and learning habits. However, we want to give you different ways you can approach your language learning through music with these best practices.

1- Passive listening

Whether you have foreign language songs on your computer or you have a CD of foreign songs, one way to learn the language is through passive listening. Let the foreign music play in the background while you are doing something else. To achieve fluency in another language, you should be familiar with it. You need to train your brain to function in the new language 100 percent. The practice is one form of language immersion. As you listen and get more familiar and comfortable with the background music, you can pick up grammar patterns along with common words and phrases.

2- Memorization

Learn how to memorize and add more words to your dictionary. Memorizing the song lyrics is an excellent way to improve your memory. At the same time, the memorization exercise gives you confidence. Memorization gives you three benefits. It enhances your listening skills, boosts your reading skills, and improves your pronunciation of the words. Memorization will likewise help you do the next method.

3- Sing-along

This method is similar to the first one. But instead of listening passively, you take an active role in the exercise. Download lyrics of the foreign songs you like. Some download sites provide the original song lyrics as well as translations in English. Play the song and sing along. You can also find videos on YouTube that have lyrics in the source and target languages. Either way, you’ll learn grammar, spelling and pronunciation while enjoying the songs of your favorite foreign singers. Your listening and reading skills will likewise benefit from the exercise.

You can check your progress by finding the karaoke versions of the foreign songs you like. Again, YouTube is your friend. Trying to sing the song while reading the lyrics in the target language will test if your language learning is progressing.

4- Transcription

This method may sound weird to you initially. You listen to the song as it plays while you write down (or transcribe) the lyrics. At first, you are likely to catch only a few familiar words. Don’t be frustrated and continue what you’re doing. Let the music play as you write everything you hear. Play the song again and write the words that you missed in the first pass. In time, your hearing will improve, as you understand the words better. Your brain’s processing time will be shorter and faster. Further, it will enhance your spelling. Listening to the music and transcribing the lyrics will give your word list a boost.

These are just a few of the effective ways to learn a foreign language using music. Be patient and enjoy foreign music as you learn your target language. If you wish to start with something simpler, listen to children’s songs in your target language. The repetition of the song lyrics is more constant, which allows your brain to assimilate foreign words faster. If you need help in transcribing songs and music sheets, our language translation services team can help.

Learning a language through music means language learning more fun. Likewise, you learn to focus your attention and improve your memory. It’s an effective method when you self-study.

Author Bio: Sean Patrick Hopwood is the polyglot CEO of Day Translations, Inc., an interpreting services provider that serves clients in a wide range of industries including eSports, finance, and government.

Learn a language in the fastest, easiest and most fun way with Innovative Language Learning!

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New! Windows 8 Users: Boost Your Japanese Vocab with the WordPower Japanese Windows 8 App

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Hello Listeners,

Any Windows 8 users among our Japanese learners?

If so, good news! So far our highest rated Japanese vocab-building app, WordPower Japanese, has been available for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Mac. The feedback was great, too!

Boost Your Japanese Vocab with the WordPower Japanese!

But there haven’t been Apps for PC or Windows users…‘til now.

Boost Your Japanese Vocab with the WordPower Japanese Windows 8 App

WordPower Japanese is now available on the Windows store for $9.99 and includes a FREE Trial. You master the top 4,000 Japanese words necessary for daily life and real conversations on your PC, Tablet or Windows Phone. How’s it done? Click on the link below to get a FREE Trial or keep reading for the full run-down of this App!

Get a Free Trial & Download WordPower from the Windows Store!

Language experts say you need about 1,500 words for conversational fluency.

You get over 4,000 words in WordPower Japanese for Windows.

Here’s how you master them with 2 easy study modes.
WordPower breaks these words down into easy categories and courses. Business, Health, Food, School, Work, you name it! Choose one to start with and level up! You get the meaning, the native pronunciation and sample sentences, and even get to record yourself to compare. As you learn new words, WordPower tracks your progress.

And if you’re interested in the details, here’s exactly what this Japanese learning app comes with.

WordPower Learn Japanese Vocabulary FEATURES:

  • 4,000+ Must-Know Japanese Word List: The most essential Japanese vocabulary with spelling, translation, pronunciation, image, class, kanji and romanization.
  • Top 100 Japanese Culture List: A special list of words specific to daily life in Japan.
  • Thousands of Sample Sentences: Get sample sentences with every word entry.
  • 2 Study Modes: Course Mode or Category Mode: Choose a course or category and work your way up as your progress is tracked.
  • Easy to Use Design: Intuitive Windows 8 swipe navigation allows visual learners to browse vocabulary images quickly.
  • Control your study sessions: Mix up question types (recognition, production, audio and visual) for a full understanding of each word.
  • Listening Practice: Hear each word’s proper pronunciation by a native speaker.
  • Perfect your Pronunciation: Compare your pronunciation to the native speaker’s with the Voice Recorder, easily accessible throughout the app.
  • Personalized Word Bank: Save difficult or useful words to review at any time.
  • Advanced Search Function: Search entire database in English or Japanese.
  • Progress Bar: Keep track of how many words you have really mastered.
  • Word View Options: Romanization and Kana Transliteration can be turned on and off.
  • Free Japanese Lessons: Access the newest JapanesePod101 lessons for FREE!
  • Basic Resources: Want to explore the Japanese language even more? Learn everything you need to know with this comprehensive source of Japanese learning tips, information and material.

If you’re a Windows 8 user, make sure to try WordPower Japanese for FREE! A free trial is available when you get the App from the Windows Store. Or, get it for $9.99 and master the top 4,000 Japanese words. Remember: know more words, speak more Japanese.

Click here to download WordPower Japanese from the Windows Store.

To your fluency!

Team JapanesePod101 at Innovative Language

P.S. WordPower Japanese is available for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android and Windows, and FREE versions are available too!

Click here to see the WordPower Japanese Apps and learn more!

Coming Soon: Visual Dictionary Pro - Learn 30 Languages in One Vocab App for the iPhone and iPad!

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

 

Hello Listeners,

All 30 languages are yours inside one app!

So anywhere you go in the world, we have you covered. And anytime you’re ready to start the next language, you have 30 languages and over 16,500 words instantly available on your iPhone or iPad.

And no, you can’t have this app yet. It’s coming soon!

Visual Dictionary Pro - Learn 30 languages, presented by InnovativeLanguage.com comes, with 30 languages, that you can easily download with an internet connection.

Master 30 other languages with real-life scenarios!

Visual Dictionary Pro - Learn 30 languages is coming soon to iTunes! Master over 550 must-know words in 30 languages by exploring 26 scenarios, one-by-one. Just swipe through each scenario on your iPad or iPhone and tap on objects and places to get their meanings.


You’re not reading words off of a list. You’re mastering words in their real-life context along with audio pronunciations and sample sentences.

What’s new with this app? With Visual Dictionary Pro - Learn 30 Languages, you can:

  • Explore the 26 real world scenarios in 30 languages in 30 languages free!

  • Study 550+ words, and 1000+ sample sentences per language with native audio

  • Master pitch perfect pronunciation with native speakers for every language and dialect.

  • Look up specific words under Search.

  • Browse all the words with the Category List.

  • Tap and zoom through every available scenario bringing language learning to life.

  • Build strong bonds to new words with the rich visual illustrations.

  • See and hear practical sample sentences related to scenarios and words.

  • Save words in your personal Word Bank for convenient study. You have a separate Word Bank for each language, so no getting words mixed up.

  • Choose from 30 different languages and dialects

  • Turn Audio Autoplay on/off

And with 30 languages, Visual Dictionary Pro gets you mastering a total of 16,500+ words

 

 

Want to try it out for FREE? The Free Visual Dictionary is coming soon!

Visual Dictionary Free also comes with the same 30 languages with limited access so you can try before you buy. For each language, you explore the 3 sample scenarios - Earth, City and Supermarket and master 104 words along the way. For more scenarios and words, simply unlock the language with an in-app upgrade.

Visual Dictionary Pro Comes with the following languages:

· American English · British English · Bulgarian · Cantonese
· Chinese · Croatian · Dutch · Filipino · French · German
· Hebrew · Hindi · Hungarian · Indonesian · Italian
· Japanese · Mongolian · Nepali · Korean · Polish
· Brazilian Portuguese · Russian · Spanish · Mexican Spanish
· Peruvian Spanish · Swahili · Thai · Turkish · Ukrainian · Vietnamese

Visual Dictionary Pro - Learn 30 Languages is perfect for travelers and language lovers alike.

You master just the practical, real-life vocabulary of the world around you. This app will walk you through 26 everyday scenarios like stores, homes, classrooms, airports, hospitals, subway stations and more in 30 languages!

To your fluency,

 

Team Innovative Language

P.S. Stay tuned! Visual Dictionary Pro - Learn 30 languages for the iPhone and iPad is coming soon!

Stephen Krashen’s Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Stephen Krashen is a linguist, educational researcher, and activist who is Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California. In the 1990s, as the state of California became increasingly hostile to bilingual education, Krashen was instrumental in advocating the merits of learning a second language. His Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis is the centerpiece of his academic work.

Krashen’s Acquisition-Learning hypothesis revolves around the concept of “comprehensible input,” a term which essentially means “messages that can be understood.” Comprehensible input is best received when the learner is hearing something that he or she wants or needs to know. Krashen differentiates language learning from language acquisition, emphasizing that while learning is a formalized process, such as that which occurs in a classroom, acquisition happens informally, when a person is relaxed. He identifies a “silent period” during language acquisition, a time during which the student listens but is not comfortable speaking.

The Acquisition-Learning hypothesis acknowledges that students learn faster as they are given more comprehensible input. Inversely, a lack of comprehensible input delays language acquisition. Total Immersion Language Teaching, for example, succeeds so well is because it provides lots of comprehensible input. When people are immersed in a culture in which they do not know the language, they have an intense need and desire to speak that language. Such students are not interested in grammar lessons from a book but, instead, want to hear “comprehensible input” about that culture that teaches them what they need to know to survive.

Krashen’s acquisition-learning theory has much in common with both the communicative approach to language study and Noam Chomsky’s theory of generative grammar. The idea of “comprehensible input” is simply another way of saying that students learn languages best when they are learning about things that interest them. This idea is the essence of the communicative approach. Krashen’s Natural Order Hypothesis says that we acquire the rules of grammar in a logical order. This is similar to generative grammar’s hypothesis that the basic foundations of human grammar are deeply embedded in the human brain.

Stephen Krashen has been criticized for not having sufficient empirical evidence to back up his theories. Gregg accused Krashen of using “ill-defined terms.” McLaughlin critiques Krashen’s theories as being weak and imprecise. However, Krashen has conducted extensive research to determine the validity of his theories, and his dedication to promoting bilingual education has had undeniable worth. His frequent media appearances have pushed bilingualism to the forefront of public awareness.

Krashen is regarded true linguistic theorist, with over 30 years of research and hundreds of published articles and multiple books. Stephen Krashen’s passionate work has left an indelible mark on the future of bilingual education in America.

Some of Dr. Stephen Krashen’s research is available for free at www.sdkrashen.com, benikomason.net, http://web.ntpu.edu.tw/~lwen/publications.html, www.IJFLT.com.

Language Learning - Noam Chomsky

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia on December 7, 1928 and has been a professor of language for many years. He was able to secure a doctorate degree in 1955 from the University of Pennsylvania. It was at that University that he majored in linguistics.

Chomsky was first introduced to the field of language by his Hebrew father who, too, was a scholar of linguistics.

He is also considered to be a political activists, cognitive scientist, philosopher and reputable author of many books. It was around the 1960’s that people began to describe him as a liberal socialist in the political arena.

He has been credited, however, for having a great impact on the linguistic world and the role that he played in putting emphasis on how people learn a new language.

His theory, which is well known as Chomsky’s Hierarchy, divides prescribed grammar into different classes with more power as they increase. His idea of generative grammar and universal grammar was also part of the divisiveness between Chomsky and other linguist.

His work has also influenced other areas of expertise such as immunology, evolutionary psychology, and research of artificial intelligence as well as language translation that is computerized.

Chomsky approached the study of language in a different light than his other counterparts. His universal grammar theory emphasized the primary principle that there is an inner set of linguistic rules that all humans share. This he called the beginning stages of learning a language.

It was Naom Chomsky that identified the fact that generative grammar of any language, when given certain specific rules, will appropriately calculate the words that will combine to form a sentence grammatically. Those same rules when approached correctly will emphasize the morphology of the sentence.

The earlier version of this theory of Chomsky’s generative grammar was transformational grammar. Of course, the generative grammar receives some criticisms from proponents of cognitive grammar and functional theories.

Conclusion

Chomsky felt that the mind had more to do with linguistics than others give it credit. He prefaces this by giving the example of a child when placed in a linguistic environment is able to have an instinctive capability to adapt to the words that are spoken.

Linguistics - Phonology

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Phonology has to do with organized sounds used in natural languages. It is a variety of sounds and the features of those sounds. Phonology constitutes specific rules of the interaction of sounds with each other.

Phonology relates to other aspects of language such as morphology and phonetics. It determines the kind of phonetic sound and their significance as well as the explanation and interpretation of sounds by the native linguist. It is similar to the way in which language constitutes syntax and vocabulary.

Phonology is a descriptive preface to the way that sounds function in any language. Sounds are combined in their specific unit of a language. An example of this in the English language is the sound that “p,” makes in the word, “pet,” includes the aspirated feature.

However, in the word, “group,” the “p,” becomes the final ending of the word and does not have an aspirated feature. In other words, even though, it is the same letter, “p,” the sounds when incorporated in each word is different.

It is easy to observe that different languages have different combination of sounds for any given word. Certain sounds are found in specific languages while absent in the next. In a specific language, sounds are different because of vowel interchanging that form those words.

The goal of phonology attempts to be accountable for the similar ways in which sound affects different languages. It also seeks to describe the rules of sound and its structure within a specific language.

Although, different languages have different combined sounds and a variety of ways to arrange and pattern these sounds, it goes without saying that there a few similar ways in which they span the human language on a whole.
Some of these similar ways that are universal to all languages are:
1.    Every consonant has a voiceless stop
2.    Every language has syllables
3.    Every inventory can be divided into vowels and consonants.

Conclusion

Correction pronunciation is important in any language and phonology makes sure that this becomes a rule. There are some linguists who incorporate phonetics within the scope of phonology to make it easier for the person learning a second language.

Linguistics - Universal Grammar

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

All humans are born with the ability and drive to learn language. Before we can even walk we start talking. From birth we are listening with intent, ready to learn our native tongue. Evolution has seen to it that we have an aptitude for language learning, but just how much of our abilities are we born with and how much to we acquire as we go along?

When we learn languages, we use the knowledge and skills acquired from the language we already know to understand this new language. That is, we take the rules of language, such as the use of verbs and adjective, sentence structure and syntax, and apply them to the new language. While these rules will always change and vary between languages there are some structures between languages that remain the same. This is known as universal grammar. Items than can be considered a part of universal grammar include tense, aspect and mood.

There are some rules that when applied to one language can be applied to practically any language. For instance, if a language has a name for the color red, it will have a word for the color purple. These rules do not always apply to every single language, which makes the theory of universal grammar difficult for linguists to prove. Universal Grammar forms part of the nature vs. nurture that has had scientists guessing for generations. Are we born destined to grow into a certain person with certain abilities, or do we acquire these characteristics along the way?

Within the field of linguistics there are two theories as to how we learn language as children. The theory of universal grammar was proposed by linguist Noam Chomsky. He believed that a set part of our brain was dedicated to language, and that this part of the brain had a set group of rules which we applied to language. It cannot be changed or altered, we do not learn it we are born with it. These structures appear in every language around the world. The alternative theory is that we are born with no pre-existing knowledge of language, rather it is something that we acquire.