Looking for a fun way for you and your kids to improve your Dutch? Read on to learn how singing can help with numerous aspects of language learning.
How Songs Help You Learn Language
From the moment we are born music surrounds us, from the gentle low nursery rhymes our parents sing to lull us to sleep, to the activity songs to help us get moving. Music is everywhere.
Have you ever wondered why you remember the words to your childhood songs more clearly than the events of your childhood? Or why a song can get stuck in your head for days? That is because music stimulates the memory like nothing else can. In fact a 2013 study conducted by the University of Edinburgh showed that language learners’ memory skills are greatly improved when memorising to music.
If you think about it, it does make sense. Songs are carefully constructed and packed full of grammar and vocabulary, which is all waiting to be unlocked when the songs are sung. Songs will expose you to a wide range of words and encourage you to work out their meanings in context.
A pleasant side effect of singing is that your pronunciation will also improve. Really! You will be hearing the native pronunciation over and over again, allowing you to refine your pronunciation of words for a more natural tone. It will also help you recognise where words begin and end, which is considered the most difficult challenge in learning a new language.
To give you a head start in learning Dutch through music, there is an easy Rapid Dutch course available from Earworms, a company dedicated to teaching language through music. Their courses are available on CD, as an audiobook download or as apps for your smartphone and tablets. So you can have music with you wherever you go.
Other Ways You Can Learn Dutch Through Music
- Listen to the local radio. Try to pick one that plays predominantly Dutch music.
- Join a choir. If you are brave enough and can hold a tune, why not seek out a local choir. Not only will it help your Dutch, but it will also expand your social network. If group singing isn’t your thing, then you could also consider a singing tutor.
- Search for Dutch songs on YouTube and practise translating them. The translation will help fix the words in your memory.
- Watch Sesame Street in Dutch with the kids! It is a programme designed to facilitate learning which means that their songs are perfect if you are trying to learn a new language.
- For more tips, pick up a copy of Language is Music a comprehensive guide to learning languages through music.
Emmy McCarthy is the Director of Stichting Amsterdam Mamas. She is a Mama, Entrepreneur and Connector on a never-ending quest for balance in her life.