Learning languages with song lyrics

So after all attempts I’ve made, I’ve realized that I Enjoy using music to learn the language I’m learning. Chinese.

And I’d like to import song lyrics of my fav songs into lingQ and basically learn the vocabularies of them and some quick phrases from them. I’ve realized that Using music helps one Memorize words and phrases better and I’ve also seen someone say something like.

You might read through a book or listen to a podcast Or even write down Endless vocabularies or so and never go back to that which you’ve written. but you can never not go back to the music you like. So in the sense you subconsciously listen to Them and when you’ve got the vocabularies down and phrases from them, when you listen you automatically are reminded of those words you learnt etc.
But yeah! There are cons to it. For example Chinese being a tonal language and omitted tones in the songs and so on.

So I need to hear you takes on this aspect of it


Before I started ‘extensive reading’ in Finnish I actually memorized close to 100 songs and forced myself to translate on the fly while singing.

I see it like this. Songs are easy to listen to. They have varied tempos, accents, volume, projection… They teach different themes and are usually relevant to speakers of that language.

Cons to this are, you spend 4 minutes listening to a song that had 30 unique words, you probably listen to that song a stupid number of times. Most likely those words and phrases are not so important.

My first 2 months learning Finnish I didn’t translate anything just tried to remember words, I think this was a massive mistake and have had to go back and force correlations of content I have heard a million times.

When i’m feeling lazy in the afternoon I still turn the dual subtitles on and sing along to my playlists, a bit easier on the brain than forcing new words.


The main problem with songs, as roosterburton points out, is that there just isn’t a lot of vocabulary to them so if it’s all you use, you really won’t get very far…except maybe to tell someone you love them (or hate them lol).

Having said that, they can provide some variety, excitement and fun so if you enjoy it then certainly keep doing it. It will be beneficial, you just won’t become fluent from just listening to songs (and reading lyrics).


Yeah that’s a problem. not a lot of natural conversation to go about your learning and vocabularies to it

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French songs awakened my interest, now my passion, for French. First it was the French ye-ye singers from the 1960s such as Françoise Hardy and France Gall. Now it has broadened to more recent singer-songwriters like Pomme and JJ Goldman.

I’m always listening to French music now. I’ve located the French/English lyrics and printed them out. I review the pages at stoplights in my car.

Here’s a French YouTube teacher, Elisa, who offers memorizing songs as her #1 tip for learning one’s target language:

–French mornings with Elisa, “4 TIPS to learn French Fast and Easy”

She says she memorized over 100 songs while learning English!

I haven’t pushed it that far, but French songs are an important part of my practice as a French language learner,

I’m not saying that the songs are that great for learning French. I do learn some French from them, but mainly they keep me thinking about French, what I love about the culture and my commitment to learning the language.


Thanks for this. Really appreciate it

I’ve spent a LOT of time studying Chinese songs; the ones I studied used more advanced poetic wordings and such, which are not commonly used in everyday speech. So although it helped my vocabulary immensely, I still had to learn normal conversational vocabulary and usage. Not to say that I regret learning the songs; there are still more songs that I plan to study and learn, just not instead of learning conversational Chinese. Chinese is a huge language. Also sometimes using something you enjoy can be a break from the drill-and-kill. :slight_smile: And connections sometimes pop up later and things make sense in ways you never expected.


I’d be curious to see some links from Ozestech and WIlliowMeDown for Chinese songs they find meaningful.

Not that I would understand the least bit but I would imagine some of the spirit comes through, nonetheless.

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Currently on LingQ I’m reading Steve Kaufmann’s “The Linguist” in French. Kaufmann emphasizes that it was his enthusiasm for French culture and history which inspired him to learn French. I quite understand.

Here’s my latest find from Jean-Jacques Goldman, a French singer-songwriter, whom I adore.

Maybe the easiest way to understand JJG is to say he is the French Paul McCartney – a fabulously talented pop star, who can rock out and create soulful ballads. He also kept pushing his music forward, much as McCartney did, and with larger messages as McCartney did

This is one of Goldman’s later songs written in classical canon form, even with a full-on grand chorale at 2:50.

Jean-Jacques Goldman , “Ensemble – Together” (1997)

My point here, aside from a big thumb’s up for JJG, is in French I’ve found a whole beautiful cultural world blocked from me as an exclusive anglophone.

Tout s’ajoute à ma vie,
Everything adds to my life,

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I guess you could start with this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePzlfteL0AY

Explanation here: https://chinesemoment.com/chinese-poems-gu-shi-ci-song-of-the-wanderer/

And if you like cute children’s stories (cartoon), one related to the poem is here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YDHCu97eYc

Might not be the genre you were thinking of… hehe

Basically I Know Chinese songs from Chinese dramas Where they’re used as Official sound tracks and I know a lot haha. But will give three.

This first one is called " Juvenile" And I’d say learning from this song has Proven to be Relevant because I Surprisingly found a lot of words I’d actually need. Learnt the word Diary from here and some more. Still learning tho. But basically imported lyrics to LingQ and studying it. Even even the structure proves accurate in most terms so you can Easily apply it to your conversation.

Second one is called " I just want to Secretly hide you" Basically a cute love song from the famous Chinese 2023 hit show " Hidden love" and I fell so in love with this song that I took out a day to Write the lyrics down on paper( before I even found LingQ) and Studied the words with Pleco. It’s basically useful because I actually learnt some words like teeth haha. And still haven’t forgotten it. And I literally play this song like everyday so helps me Remind me of some words.

Last one here is “sleepless Mountain and Moon” And This is from a historical drama. most red flags I get from historical dramas Osts is that their Vocabularies and stuff tend to be More poetic and ancient. just to match the Drama. You certainly can’t expect a bubbly Modern day song in a typical historical show. So it’s tricky learning from their song ( Unless you want to get something) but i tend to know how to get pass it. I only use them for learning Words and phrases that might appear relevant to me. And whenever I see a word I always look up to see it’s usage and stuff to know how Modern it is.
I recalled learning a word from a song. The phrase is 寸步不离 and believe me you I CAN NEVER FORGET this word in my life. It’s stuck and that’s basically the power of music. This phrase, I can’t completely give it a single definition in English but at least I know what it means. And when it can be applied.

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