How to Use Free Multimedia and Music to Learn Languages

The radio, TV and You Tube are free. Use them to learn languages for free.

Music engages more parts of the brain than language does. Use music to help you learn and remember your new language.

Just turn on your radio, relax and get in the groove of your new tongue. Paying attention to media in your target language introduces you to the phonetical and grammatical structure of your target language. After you get used to the melodies of your new languages, then you can insert the grammar and vocabulary. Listen first. Speak later.

Enjoy the learning process and you will learn much more.

Tips on How to Learn a Foreign Language Using the Media for Free

1. Listen Carefully

Learning a new language means you have to change your key and tune. Dancing the cha-cha to waltz music is like speaking a new language, while still using the rhythm of your mother tongue. Let yourself take in the sounds of the language as though you were listening to a new piece of music. Even if you are just a beginner and barely know any words, you can still learn by listening. Pay attention to how people speak. Does it seem like they are reading a phone number or rattling of a list of numbers? Are they angry? Happy? Sometimes, you have to shut off your brain and inclination to interpret to analyze. Listen to the words spoken and to your intuition.

2. Relax and Just Listen

Find music in your target language that you like. It does not matter if at first you do not understand the lyrics. You may start singing along without even knowing what you are singing. You are not only learning the rhythm of the language, you are learning new vocabulary.

Relax and close your eyes. Turn off the lights. Lie down or sit in a comfortable position. Do not try to understand the words, just listen. You might fall asleep or daydream. Give yourself the time to simply listen and not do anything else. Your mind needs to be calm in order to absorb the sounds. Your ears need no other distractions to let them properly hear all the high, medium and low frequencies of the language. Do this regularly.

3. As You Listen Write Down the Lyrics

Listen to music with the lights on, your eyes open and a pencil in hand. Write the lyrics of the songs while listening. You will have to pause the music and rewind or repeat many times to get the words down. Some words will be hard to write because they may be idioms or slang that you have not learned yet, but just write as much as you can understand.

Do not be frustrated with obscure words. Compare the lyrics you noted with the original song and see how well you were able to understand the song. Some CDs come with the lyrics inside the CD case. If you do not have them, look for them online on lyrics websites. Once you have your version of the lyrics and the original, you can see how much you were able to understand from listening to the song. Use your dictionary to translate the words you do not know.

4. Listen to the Radio in this New Language

When you start listening to radio broadcasts, the radio announcers may sound like they are emitting a stream or storm of sounds and not individual words. In time, you will hear familiar words repeated and will learn to distinguish them. You can actively listen to the radio attentively and take notes, listen to it in the background or just close your eyes to listen without straining yourself to understand.

5. Find You Tube videos in other languages

Go on You tube and find music in your target language that you like. Some videos even come with subtitles in the target language or in translation. Look for the lyrics of the song by doing a search online. Type in the name of the song and “lyrics”. The videos may also help you understand what the song is about. This is especially important for visual learners.

6. Watch TV Daily!

Let's say you are learning Spanish. You have found a local Spanish language TV station in your area or you are watching the national Univision news. Even without knowing all the words, you will be able to get the gist of some of the news reports. The images and video footage of events already tell you what the news announcers are talking about. Tune into how they are speaking and the words they are using to describe the images on screen.

Even if you cannot watch TV all the time, it is all right to do errands around the house as you listen to the TV in the background. Think of the TV as background music like you would hear in a cafê or restaurant. Even though it is not at the forefront of your consciousness, your brain is still processing it and getting used to the flow of the language.

So go forth, turn up the music and turn on the language-learning!

You can find out more info about Language is Music online here.

About the Author

Susanna speaks seven languages (English, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Serbo-Croatian) with excellent accents because she learn languages like she learns music. She has also studied Hungarian, Hebrew and Arabic. After teaching English in Argentina, Bosnia and the United States, she realized how to make foreign language learning fun and easy through listening exercises and music.

Susanna's Books

Language is Music
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