Does anyone sing to learn?

A long time ago, a language teacher gave us song sheets of familiar songs to sing. It was Christmas, so we were singing carols. We all know the tune, we just had to read to sing the correct lyrics in the new language.

When we were finished one particular song, our instructor told us: “Do you realize, all of you lost your accents while singing?!” He meant that we were so focused on the song’s melody, that elongated notes have no accent. Singing can make you sound more comfortable in a language than you actually might be.

I tend to do this as often as I can. I’ll find a song I like, translate it with the help of my tutor, and sing it. (Even more brave, post the song to YouTube, but mainly so I can allow certain friends/family to view it.)

Does anyone else use song to learn their language, or find that singing songs from an artist’s native language (even if you don’t readily understand the lyrics) help you with learning?

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HeyMarlana. Yes, for sure. I sing various Italian tenses and play my guitar to Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”. Find the right rhythm for the tense and it’s a great way to learn. Our acapella choir is disbanded for the moment, so I’m still learning and still singing…ciao!


When I took German nightschool classes, our instructor told us that when we sang, we lost our accents. We were singing Christmas carols in German, and therefore we knew the melodies. He said that when we sing, we seem to focus more on the melody than the lyrics, and by doing that, our accents fell away.

Also, holding long notes and using singing methods to play with notes disguises any accent you may have. It won’t eliminate all accents of course. There will still be a hint of an accent there.

But I wanted to share my recent experience. I recently found a Ukrainian folk/pop song that I just love the sound of, accompanied by my guitar and offers a lot of beautiful elongated notes to play with. I performed it for my Ukrainian tutor and I pointedly asked her: “Do you hear my accent when I sing?” She laughed, and since we do so much kidding around together she said, “Well, I know you so I know you have one, but honestly if I played this video for a friend of mine who didn’t know you, they may think you are fluent in Ukrainian.”

That was enough motivation to know that sounding Ukrainian and fitting in with native speakers can be achieved so easily by singing.

It’s certainly not a solution to getting fluent faster, but it’s a motivational boost to know that singing is helping me get there.