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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!

9 Languages Students Aspire to Learn Abroad

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

When embarking on a new adventure into a foreign country, elements such as exotic cultures, new people, and spontaneous adventures are practically guaranteed. However, oftentimes there is still an aspect which doesn’t always allow you to experience all of this in full: the local language.

A recent survey carried out by educations.com found that learning a new language is a major contributing factor for students who plan to spend a semester or even a whole year studying abroad. In fact, of the 32,000 students that took part in the survey, 31% declared that a second language was a top priority for them when choosing a destination to study abroad in. Of that 31% of students, almost a fifth are specifically going abroad to take a language course.

Rather than avoiding a country for fear of not knowing the local language, many students are plunging headfirst into the challenge of learning a new language. Given the many benefits of knowing more than one language, their eagerness to learn a new one is unsurprising!

Benefits of Bilingualism

Numerous studies have shown that being bilingual comes with numerous benefits that will make all that time spent studying worth it. One of the most common advantages that bilinguals benefit from is the ability to communicate in more than one language that will instantly give them a competitive advantage over those who don’t, especially in academic and professional spheres.

So, what exactly are the benefits of being able to speak more than one language?

Job Opportunities

Although it’s commonly believed that the only way to learn a new skill is from a very young age, studies have proven that in fact, there really is no such thing as ‘being too old’ when it comes to picking up new languages. What this research has proven is that adults are actually more than capable of learning a new language at a faster and more accurate rate compared to children, meaning that picking up an entirely new language during adulthood is entirely attainable. With that being said, this should encourage anyone who has ever been interested in learning a new language to give it a go, and at the same time, have something extra to add onto the CV which will undoubtedly give you a cutting edge, and make your pathway towards finding employment much simpler. Being able to speak more than one language will also open up many more opportunities in different sectors, such as tourism and travel, journalism and publishing, international relations, sales, and management to mention a few.

Brain Enhancement

It should come as no surprise that learning a new language gives you the ability to rewire your brain and improve vital parts of your psyche. As a matter of fact, psychological studies on the area have shown that being bilingual can physically improve your brain activity, mainly by enhancing those brain-parts that are responsible for multitasking, communication, problem-solving, and decision-making. Furthermore, another benefit which should also be pointed out is the fact that this will also help you train your neurons by keeping your brain actively working, which is not only vital for overall mental development, but also in the delay of premature dementia.

Learning the very basics of a language before going abroad to study is very beneficial, as it will provide you with fundamentals which will allow you to understand and pick up the language much faster, as opposed to those people who will start from zero. Online language courses - whether offered through video lessons or podcasts - are an easy and accessible way to improve your language skills before and during your trip.

Below are the top languages students said they want to learn abroad - which one will you choose?

1. English


Source: Learn English with EnglishClass101.com

Deemed the most commonly studied foreign language in the world, about 23% of students who prioritized learning a foreign language chose to study in a country where English is the primary language. While it’s surpassed by both Mandarin Chinese and Spanish in terms of native speakers, it still boasts the highest number of total speakers in the world.

2. Español (Spanish)


Source: Learn Spanish with SpanishPod101.com

Spanish is the second most widely spoken native language in the world and is also the official language in 20 different countries worldwide. While it’s mostly spoken in the Americas and Europe, its status as a global language means that it’s also spoken internationally and is actually learned and spoken by many people as a second language.

3. Italiano (Italian)


Source: Learn Italian with ItalianPod101.com

Italy is a country that requires no formal introduction; it is a country full of historic beauty and significance, and currently home to the most UNESCO world heritage sites in the world. It’s worldwide popularity amongst tourists and students is evident, which officially makes Italian the 4th most studied language in the world come as no surprise.

4. Français (French)


Source: Learn French with FrenchPod101.com

From mouth-watering bread and cheeses to the majestic Louvre, to the alluring vineyards scattered all over the country, France is the ideal place to be for anyone who loves fashion, culture, and exquisite food. When it comes to the local language, French is an extremely popular one to learn as it’s the only language besides English to be taught in every country in the world, meaning that you have a very high chance of encountering a French-speaking person when on your travels.

5. Svenska (Swedish)


Source: Learn Swedish with SwedishPod101.com

If you’re a fan of cold climates, minimalist design, and tasty coffee-treats, then Sweden is the place for you. Even though Swedish might not be the first language people may choose to study in school, it is the most widely spoken language in all of Scandinavia. Furthermore, Sweden is also known for being one of the most forward-thinking and welcoming countries in the world, which as a result, makes it one of the most highly desirable places to live, study, and work in.

6. Deutsch (German)


Source: Learn German with GermanPod101.com

When considering learning German, many people are oftentimes easily discouraged by the fact that it has one of the most extensive vocabulary as well as the strictest and most complicated grammar rules, when compared to other European languages. Despite this however, adding German to your verbal repertoire comes with numerous advantages that will make the effort of learning it very much worthwhile; it is officially the most widely spoken native language in the European Union and is an official language in seven countries worldwide.

7. Nederlands (Dutch)


Source: Learn Dutch with DutchPod101.com

Another language which you might be interested in pursuing is Dutch. Cited as one of the easiest languages to learn, picking up this language should be a relatively fast process, as many Dutch words are spelled in the same way as their English counterparts.

8. 官話 (Mandarin Chinese)


Source: Learn Chinese with ChineseClass101.com

As the language with the highest number of native speakers in the world, Mandarin Chinese is considered to be a very advantageous (and popular) language to learn, which will give you the upper hand when it comes to business, travel, and culture. While learning how to write in Chinese can be rather challenging, its verbal structure is fairly simple.

9. Polski (Polish)


Source: Learn Polish with PolishPod101.com

Polish is not only the most-spoken Slavic language after Russian, but it’s considered to be the most widely spoken language after English in both England and Wales. Therefore, if you’re interested in learning a Slavic language, Polish is the most approachable due to the Latin nature of its script.

Our Upcoming Free App: Daily Dose of Language

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Our Upcoming Free App: Daily Dose of Language

Hello Listener,

You wake up. There’s a new free mini-lesson waiting for you. It’ll only take you 1 minute to review. There’ll be a new one tomorrow. And the day after. What kind of sorcery is this!?

It’s about our brand new Daily Dose of Language app. It’s completely FREE.

The Daily Dose of Language is a calendar that gives you new, 1-minute lessons every day. Why? Because learning a little every day is easy, strengthens your habits and motivation and you improve your language skills over time. You get a new, different lesson every day. From culture and holidays to grammar, slang, phrases and much more.

The goal? So you can easily learn every day, fast – with 1-minute mini lessons.

Available in 12 languages now and more coming soon!

Preview the NEW Daily Dose of Language Calendar!
Click here to get a sneak peak of the Daily Dose of Language Calendar!

To Your Fluency,

Team InnovativeLanguage.com 

Free Language Bonus: You’ll Need These Top 10 Holiday Greetings

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Learn the Top 10 Holiday Greetings!

 

Hello Listener,

The Holiday Season’s upon us! So here’s a quick Holiday gift from us to you – the Top 10 Holiday Greetings in 31 languages. You’ll need these as a language learner.

Take 2 minutes to review the list in your target language and you’ll be able to say them all.

Learn with this FREE Holiday Lesson. Just click on the link below and you’ll come out knowing and speaking more!

Click Here To Get Your Free List:

Here are some handy ways you can master the words with this lesson:

  • Press the sound icon to hear each word and read along
  • Review all words in a slideshow by pressing “View Slideshow”
  • Listen to all the words in one lesson with “Play Audio”
  • Add the words to your Word Bank or Flashcards
  • Print the entire list out for your personal review
  • Leave us a comment in your target language for practice – we read them all!

Speak and master even more language with hundreds of audio and video lessons made by real teachers. Click on “Browse Lessons” in the top menu to access our massive library. Just start, we’ll do the teaching and you’ll start speaking your target language minutes into your first lesson.

Happy Holidays!
Team InnovativeLanguage.com

You Wanted To Learn A New Language in 2014? Try Czech & Danish

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Hi listeners!

Looking for a new language to study? We’ve just added 2 new languages sites to the Innovative Language family which bring us to a total of 31 languages that you can learn the fast, fun and easy way! 

What are they? Based on user requests, we’ve launched Czech and Danish.

Czech, believe it or not, used to be called “Bohemian” until sometime in the 19th century. It’s the official language of the Czech Republic, one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. And like all Slavic languages, Czech has a reputation for having lots of consonants clustered together. But don’t let that scare you away. Czech uses the Latin script, which makes it easier to learn than a character-based language like Russian. And it’s not too far from Russian either, so learning either language will give you a huge advantage with the other!

Click here to sign up & take your first lesson at CzechClass101!
Click here to sign up & take your first lesson at CzechClass101!

Danish is a Scandinavian language and will be easy for any English speaker. Worrying about the alphabet? No need. The Danish Alphabet also uses the Latin script plus three additional letters, Æ, Ø, and Å. Danish is spoken by over 5.5 million people and Denmark is consistently rated as one of the happiest countries on Earth. So, if you’re looking to visit Denmark, make sure to drop by DanishClass101.com and take your first lesson!

Click here to sign up & take your first lesson at DanishClass101!
Click here to sign up & take your first lesson at DanishClass101!

P.S. Join the Founding Fathers Club and learn Czech or Danish at 50% OFF for life! The Founding Fathers Club is a lifetime 50% discount exclusively for early adopters - more specifically, the first 101 subscribers per site. Learn for as low as $2/month for Basic or $5/month for Premium. The price will always be the same, even when the deal is gone. And the deal is gone once the first 101 spots are taken.

101 Spots! Click here to get 50% OFF for life at CzechClass101.com!

101 Spots! Click here to get 50% OFF for life at DanishClass101.com!

The Recipe Behind Our Growth and Why We Continue to Add New Languages

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Peter here again. Today I want to share with you something I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time. It’s an honest look into why we do what we do here at InnovativeLanguage.com. Thanks for stopping by to read!

Financial Freedom through Teaching Bulgarian

On July 2nd 2012, our team launched a Bulgarian language learning website: BulgarianPod101.com! We worked just as hard, just as long and put in just as much passion on this language site as we did all of our previous websites!

Do we expect a financial windfall now that Bulgarian is live?

The Harsh Business Reality

No. In fact, early indications are that this language will not return our investment for a long, long time. If ever. Growth projections are currently angled at about 1 degree.

The plot thickens. We didn’t just launch 1 niche language on July 2. Our team actually launched 6 new language learning websites. And much like Bulgarian, we worked very hard to bring a good product to market.

But will we turn a profit on these languages?

Good question! We’re not sure quite yet. Each language is unique and the market is always changing, but some are definitely more profitable than others.

 The Danger for Some Languages is that the Economics Don’t Make Sense

I remember speaking with a business mentor. He is beyond successful and one of the savviest business people I have personal contact with.

We went over our bottom-line numbers language by language. He looked at them, and then drew a line through all of the unprofitable languages and circled the profitable languages.

“Abandon these,” he said, pointing to the crossed-out languages.

“Focus on these,” he said, pointing to the circled languages.

Needless to say, there weren’t many circled languages. And the sad part about the situation for many niche languages, is that he was right. It’s not profitable or practical to take on these languages. It’s a better business decision to invest in the bigger, more profitable languages.

Without investment, innovation in language learning material slows. Other, more profitable, languages get more investment. More competition leads to better and more widespread tools, and the number of students increases.

In the end, we didn’t take my friend’s sound business advice, but instead produced content for several unprofitable languages and continue to do so.

So Why On Earth Invest in Small Niche Languages that May Never Be Profitable?

That was a question to which I had to give a lot of consideration. I think the best way to explain it is to explain our thought process, which is kind of like a recipe.

Thought Process Recipe:

1 part passion

1 part competitiveness

1 part emotion

1 part familiarity

1 part business sense

and a dash of arrogance…er…I mean hope.

Add lots of sleep deprivation and do not expose to investors!

A Closer Look At the Parts

1 Part Passion

It’s cliche, but we really do like languages. Almost everyone here at the company speaks two languages, with the average being 2.5. We work with people around the world, and have made many connections and friendships.

1 Part Competitiveness

We’re pretty competitive at our core. If someone is doing it, we often challenge ourselves to put forth a competitive product. Said another way, if someone’s doing it, we’re trying it too. And we want to be the best of breed in the language learning field.

1 Part Emotion

Several of our languages were chosen because of personal connections or relationships. We have created language learning content because team members or fans have made compelling cases for it. We have juggled the order in which a language was created because of a team member.

1 Part Familiarity

Creating awesome content is what we do well. And sometimes it just easier if your team is structured in a way that sticks to what you’re good at.

1 Part Business Sense

In order to be a legitimate language learning company, you need to cover a lot of languages. The big ones will be profitable, but you’ll need some smaller, less profitable and unprofitable languages in your portfolio.

A dash of arrogance…er…I mean hope!

When my business friend told us to abandon some languages, a part of me definitely felt like we could prove him wrong. We didn’t. But…my competitive nature is one of the driving forces behind why we move so fast and cover so much ground.

There has been a lot of good that has come from this, but also a fair share of hiccups. With every new product and website we release, we learn more about ourselves and what’s important to us. On the dark days where we feel like we’re wasting our time, we refer back to the numerous emails from fans thanking us for paying attention to their often neglected language. That helps to rekindle our motivation to drive forward.

Language Learning Method - Suggestopedia (Lozanov)

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Suggestopedia is an approach to language acquisition that is communicative. Baroque music is used to set its atmosphere. Pre-session, Session and post session are the three stages of the lesson.

Georgi Lozanov is a psychotherapist from Bulgaria who developed this method of learning a new language. Suggestology is what he based this study on and this exact method of teaching has been used in learning different foreign language. This is an unconventional method of teaching new language that Lozanov claim to be much faster for students to learn than other methods.

The idea of this method that Lozanov wanted to get across is to lower the affective filter that learners use to adapt to new language.

Lozanov claims that his Suggestopedia method liberates the student from anything negatively connected to the language learning process and the influence of the society that they lived in. Students using this method do not feel the pressures associated with learning a second language. Their intelligence is not restricted and they use spontaneity to acquire the knowledge, skills and habits of learning.

The suggestopedia method is implemented by focusing on the student’s conscious level of thinking as well as the subconscious, which is the reservoir of the mind. The subconscious mind is unlimited in its capacity to learn and so suggestopedia uses this proven scenario to learn a second language in less amount of time it would take to learn it with other conventional methods.

The student is at their best when they combine the three phases that include elaborating, deciphering and memorizing.

1. The deciphering stage is when the teacher initiates grammar and content.

2. The elaborating stage is the practice phase where the student shows what they have learned through song, drama and games. The teacher reads the text with music and sometimes along with the student in the memorizing phase.

3. The memorizing phase is usually called the concert session because it is associated with music.

Conclusion

To learn a second language using this method of suggestopedia requires an atmosphere that is comfortable and relaxing. The student learns best when techniques are added to the learning process such as art and music. Suggestopedia is indicative of how the brain works in the scope of learning.

Language Learning - Silent Way (Gattegno)

Monday, August 24th, 2009

The Silent Way was created by Caleb Gattegno and is the instructive approach to teaching a foreign language. The primary objective is for students to work independently as learners of a new language.

It allows students to develop their own theoretical models of learning a second language. Students are encouraged to use their mental abilities to decipher the meaning of a new language.  Expression of thought and feelings are created in the classroom among fellow students. The student trades their time for experience.

The student’s native language gives them leverage in learning a new language and they are given room to learn how to speak in the new language. It is the nonverbal aspect of their native language which includes sounds, gestures and writing that helps the student to identifying with a new language.

Gattegno used his model on certain observations and he thought that students did not learn because teachers did not teach. Instead, teachers need to do a study of how students learn and to do that experiment on themselves.

Gattegno used himself as an example and even though he was a teacher, he wanted to know how students learned so he became a learner and that is when he realized that awareness is the only thing that teachers can educate when it comes to humans.

His learning model claimed to be more approachable to teaching a second language because it was based more on awareness than on offering knowledge to the student. For every learner that Gattegno studied, no matter what age they were, he found one common principle and that is students were gifted and intelligent. They brought a strong will to learn, a lifetime of experiences of managing challenges and they were also independent.

Most of the methods of teaching using the Silent Way came from understanding how students learned. Included in this approach was the style of how the teacher corrected the student and how the teacher used silence to validate the student. The teacher wouldn’t give any answers that the student could not find out on their own.

A lot of people think that communication is the only tool to learning a new language. However, Gattegno does not seem to think that communication is the only key ingredient. He observed that communication called for the person communicating to convey their ideas and the student listening must be willing to submit to the message before giving a response.

Conclusion

Learning a second language is expressing thoughts and feelings, ideas, perceptions and opinions and student can do this effectively with their teacher. They will be able to develop criteria for right and wrong by exploration of the two boundaries.

Therefore, it will require making mistakes, which is a part of the learning process. If teachers can study the art of learning and realize that mistakes are good for the learning process, they will appreciate when students do make mistakes.

Language Learning - Learner External Factors

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Have you ever stopped to consider how we learn second languages? If you are considering taking up a second language, knowing the process of how we learn can make you a more competent student as well as speeding up the process of learning at the same time. The way in which we learn our second language is different to how we learn our first. As we grow older our cognitive functions develop, giving us better skills to learn new things. As a child we are exposed to our native language, or languages, all of the time, whereas second language acquisition may be limited to just one or two hours a week.

Learner External Factors are the ways in which we are exposed to a second language and how we are effected by these outside forces. To better understand how we learn, linguists have studied the different ways we come across information on second languages.

Social effects can have a large impact on second language learning. If for example, you come from an Italian background but speak only English, you may encounter a large amount of encouragement in regard to learning Italian from your family and community. Discouragement can also occur, for instance after the September 11 attacks, the number of students studying Arabic dropped dramatically in many western countries due to the stigma attached to the Arabic language and culture after the attacks.

Input and intake are terms used within linguistics to describe exposure to language learning and the amount of information retained. Input is information the learner receives about the second language, usually direct exposure to the language itself. For example, if you spent an hour in a class learning Spanish, this would count as input. Intake is the information you remember. Linguists believe in order to maximize intake, input level should be slightly more than the learner is able to take in. Next time you are in a class and don’t quite feel like you understand everything, don’t worry. It’s the best and fastest way to learn. A good way to maximize intake is through interaction with native speakers. This ensures the language us have learnt is usable and also helps to build vocabulary.

Pedagogical techniques, or teaching methods, have also bee extensively studied. The way we are taught can drastically change how much we learn. It is believed by many specialists in the field that current techniques are not as effective as they could be.

Language Learning - Stages of Language Development (PEPSI)

Monday, July 20th, 2009

There are four levels and stages of language development that helps anyone to learn a second language.

In level one, this is the silent stage where there is not much comprehending and production at this stage is nonverbal. The student is listening to the language to try and make sense of it.

This is the first level stage where there is a lot more imitation than anything else. There is a pretense in how much the student comprehends. A lot of gestures and body language take precedence.

Level two is the early stage of production with limited comprehending in which responses are only through one or two words. This is the survival stage where the student feels that they need to learn enough for basic functioning. There is a lot of uncertainty at this time in this stage.

The last two stages

Level three gives the student an opportunity to emerge from nonverbal to verbal interaction. Comprehending the language becomes much easier by using simple sentences. You will find that in this stage there are more mistakes committed in verbal communication.

Plural and past tense are not important at this stage. The student may understand the concepts of the language, but is trying to become comfortable with the new language. Grammatical errors don’t’ concern the student at this point. Words are used, but not necessarily appropriately.

Level four is the final stage that consists of excellent comprehension of language. The student is able to use more complicated sentences and language fluency is more noticed. A lot more generalization is used in this stage of the game.

In this stage, it is helpful if students ask the teacher to define words and concepts in the language by indicating if they do or do not understand. An experiment with words and phrase among peers is usually the result of this stage.

These stages are noticed specifically in young children two years old who are just beginning to form their new language. They usually start off by using a vocabulary of fifty words that are recognizable.

Their sentences consist of two or more words. They respond quickly to one word or short phrase instructions such as “get me the toy,” or “come.” The toddler will often do some self talk and takes time to name things and repeat what these things do. These are similar to the stages of language development.

Conclusion

In the first stage, the teacher should never force the student to speak unless they are ready. It is quite feasible to learn silently. The second stage is the production of words and phrases that highlight the answers to what, where and who questions.

The third stage enhances the student’s dialogue and they are able to ask simple questions, but with grammatical mistakes, which is quite normal. The fourth stage is the actual intermediate stage of learning where the vocabulary has grown so that the student can share their thoughts more clearly.

There is a fifth and final stage, but this is more advanced and may take up to seven years to acquire language proficiency.