November 17


Language learning with fun: singing karaoke

By Laura Bacher

November 17, 2020

Learning song lyrics is particularly suitable for learning a language – it’s fun and easy! Music will help you to increase your interest and motivation. Catchy melodies will also help you to remember words more easily.

When learning a foreign language, repetition is the most important thing. Together with a catchy melody, it is a very effective method for learning a new language. 

How do you learn a foreign language with karaoke?

At first, you should listen and enjoy the song. Later you will get to deal with the lyrics. Search the lyrics online. While listening, you can follow the lyrics – just like singing karaoke.

When singing karaoke, the words to sing to the known melody are displayed on the screen. The participant sings into a microphone, and you can immediately see if you strike the right chord. Even without a karaoke machine, you can learn languages with songs in karaoke style. You quickly forget the fact that not all songs are in English. Every language has a huge number of songs. And that’s the whole secret behind how you can learn and improve your foreign language skills in karaoke. Whether you let the karaoke game run or sing a well-known foreign-language song for yourself, then it doesn’t matter. Before you start singing, listen to the correct pronunciation several times to know the right word.

As an additional boost, we recommend decoding the lyrics. Decoding is a word-for-word translation into your native language. As the name says, you translate each word individually. The translation results in an ugly English translation that follows the form of a foreign language. In other words, the grammar follows that of the foreign language, instead ofEnglish. This way, you automatically learn the sentence structure of the foreign language – without any grammar rules. Your brain compares the foreign language with your mother tongue in an effortless way. And you also learn the meaning of words intuitively without tedious vocabulary cramming. First, translate all the phrases you know. Then use a dictionary to solve the remaining terms. This way, you discover the language – it’s exciting and makes you want to learn more.

Karaoke exercise according to Brain-Friendly

We also call this exercise karaoke listening because it is close to karaoke singing. Another name for it is “active listening.” This is the active engagement with the learning content. So you concentrate totally on learning: listening to the foreign language and reading along with the mother tongue.

It would be best to have a foreign language text, an audio recording of it, and decoding (=word-for-word translation). Of course, songs are also very well suited for this.

What is decoding?

Decoding means “to decipher”. The tool for this is our mother tongue because we know it inside out. Take a look at the individual words. Do you already know the meaning of some words? Then write the translation of the words you know under the foreign language terms. It would be best to translate word by word, i.e., that you do not make an excellent, meaningful translation. In the next step, you look up words that are still unknown to you. Use dictionaries, the Internet, etc. for help. The result is a two-line text.

  • German: Es ist wie es ist.
  • Decoding: It is how it is.
  • German: Hast du meine Nachricht bekommen?
  • Decoding: Did you my message get?

By decoding, you learn two things at the same time, which are known independently in the conventional learning method:

1. the meaning of each word (instead of cramming vocabulary).

2. the sentence structure and the use of the words in the foreign language, i.e., the grammar.

Click here to read our blog post on 10 Reasons for DECODING.

Back to karaoke listening:

Start the audio recording and read the decoding of the lower line. Select a short section of two to three sentences. It will be easier to divide the song into smaller sections and then learn bit by bit (also for decoding). The chorus is the best part to start with: it often repeats and usually has the most memorable melody – so the chorus is the easiest to remember.

When listening to karaoke, it is crucial to concentrate only on the bottom line at the beginning, i.e., the decoding. After a few repetitions, your eyes will wander upwards and want to read along with the foreign language. That’s fine – you already know the meaning of the unfamiliar words. Repeat this exercise again and again – until you understand at least 80% of the terms.

Then you can continue with the next passage. You will fill in the missing 20% of words in the following texts because words occur repeatedly. So: no fear of gaps! And even if a term remains foreign to you, you will understand the meaning of a sentence and be able to figure out the meaning of the word.

The karaoke exercise sounds easy – and it is. As simple as it sounds, as useful it is. This karaoke practice will help you learn the meaning of the words, perfect pronunciation, and the form of the language (grammar).

Now it is time to hum along in the foreign language. Let out your inner karaoke star and delight your friends and family. Or for all the shy ones: Sing along loudly in the shower over and over again. Have fun!

Language learning with the Brain-Friendly Courses

With the Brain-Friendly MOVIEĀ© courses, you will dive directly into karaoke listening. We have already done the decoding for you. And the best thing about it: we used the texts from a funny sitcom that was produced especially for language learning. So you watch a film (sitcom) and read the decoding along with it. This method turns language learning into pure entertainment. Take a look: 

Laura Bacher

About the author

Laura has been a big fan of foreign languages since her childhood. She grew up bilingual - English and German - and through international vacations, she got a taste of many other languages.

Other Articles

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}