A musical surprise?

Perhaps not. There are many who swear by learning a language through songs.

I heard about the following on Radio 3 this morning and - as I am normally not a Telegraph reader - I had to hot-foot it to the nearest newsagent.

In a short article in today’s paper there is mention of a study at the University of Edinburgh where singing was used to teach adults Hungarian words. It showed that the participants of the “listen and sing” group did better than the “listen and say” group, after a 15-minute learning period. Long-term recall was also better in the L&Sing group. (Richard Gray, Science Correspondent, The Telegraph, p.8)

What about us poor people who are tone-deaf, or nearly t-d? The thought of having to sing something back in public would stress me out so much beforehand that I’d not learn anything in the first place, let alone get it into long-term memory,

I’m an amateur musician. Some times a year we take part in small concerts in different countries.
That is why when the music is good and interesting I do not pay attention to the words even when the song is in my native language. Music itself is more interesting for me, I listen to the music, not the words.
I can understand the song text only with poor and boring arrangement or with very simple or dull melody. Sometimes I notice I listen to the sound of rhymes in verses and poems without understanding the meaning of the words. Even in my native language.

Tone-deaf is not so bad sometimes :wink:

I have a very similar experience. I’m not a musician, although I wanted very much to be one and I worked very hard to become one. I have played guitars in various bands for more than 10 years before I gave it up.

As a guitar player, I trained myself to focus on the technical/instrumental side of whatever songs I listened to, and happily ignored everything that is related to vocal. This has turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. One on hand, it helped me to focus and notice, on the other hand, it had had such a profound influence on me that even now I sometimes find it hard to follow conversations when I listen to foreign languages. I’m more inclined to focus on “technical” details such as pronunciation and intonation etc, than on the actual meaning of the conversation.

Sometimes after I finish watching a movie, I simply can’t recall what was in the movie. But I can easily recall some of the most “bizarre” details, such as how that guy shaped his mouth to make a sound that doesn’t exist in my language etc.

This drives me crazy.

derekhyang, finally I understood my problem :slight_smile:
Now I can look positively at my daughter’s decision to stop playing violin :slight_smile: