Singing Can Help Learn Foreign Language Better: Research

Jul 20, 2013 12:58 IST

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh's Reid School of Music found that singing in the foreign language can help a person significantly in improving their ability to learn a foreign language.

It was found that the adults, who heard short Hungarian phrases and sang them, helped them perform better in comparison to people who just spoke those phrases. People who sang these phrases performed better than the ones who repeated the phrases by speaking rhythmically.

Researchers performed the study by asking three randomly assigned groups of twenty adults to participate in a total of five tests. It was found that the singing group could perform better in four out of five tests. It was found that in one test, the participants who learnt a foreign language through singing could perform twice better than the others. It was also found out that the participants who learnt by singing could also recall the Hungarian phrases with more accuracy in a long term.

The researchers opted for Hungarian language because it is unfamiliar to most of the English speakers and is also one of the most difficult languages to master. This language has a completely different structure as well as the sound system in comparison to the Germanic or Romance languages like French and Spanish.

The lead researcher of the study, Dr Karen M Ludke, who conducted this research as a part of her PhD studies at University of Edinburgh's Institute for Music in Human and Social Development explained that the study was a proof of the first experimental evidence that listen-and-repeat singing method could assist in learning the foreign language in a much better way. The research also opened up new avenues of further research. It was discussed whether melody could help in providing extra cue in jogging the memory of people and helping them recall the foreign words as well as phrases in a much better way.

The study was published in Springer's journal Memory & Cognition.

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