language learning

Geek Madel: Learning languages through music lyrics

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How does 'Gangnam Style' sound in other languages? Meg McFarlane finds an intriguing way to boost your foreign language skills – get your earphones ready.

I’m on a quest to find the most enjoyable ways I can improve my listening comprehension in my foreign language learning (in this case, German) so that improving it doesn’t turn into a chore. So far I’m enjoying listening to the radio, podcasts and audio books, but I just stumbled across a really fun website that helps improve your listening comprehension through music called Lyrics Training.

The idea is a simple one: select the language and the level of difficulty and then the site plays you a youtube video of a song in that language and you have to fill-in the blanks in the lyrics.

The languages they have on offer are:

  • Catalan
  • Dutch
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japenese
  • Portuguese 
  • Spanish
  • Turkish.

You can also choose to have the lyrics sheet with only 10 percent or 25 percent of the lyrics missing or you can ramp it up to expert mode where you have to type in all the lyrics. Also, you can choose the type of music you really enjoying listening to or let the site choose the music for you.

The only real downside of the site is that it isn’t particularly user-friendly to begin with. Working out how everything works is a matter of trial and error and there are no instructions on the front page to explain it. There is a help button on the 'play' page that tells you how to listen to the last line again or skip a word if you don’t know it.

The bonus of this site is discovering new music in whatever language you are learning. Since I discovered it, I have added Die Toten Hosen’s classic song Tage wie diese to my YouTube favourites, and discovered a German language version of Gangnam Style which really needs to be seen to be believed.

If you know of other fun ways I can improve my listening comprehension, please tell me in the comments!


Reprinted with permission from Geek Madel

Geek Madel - Expat blogger Meg McFarlane is an IT geek whose company gave just 30 days warning before transferring her from Sydney, Australia, to Hamburg, Germany. Three years on, saying yes to that transfer was the best decision ever made, even though she was in no way prepared. Her blog Geek Mädel is a chronicle of her attempts to integrate into life in Germany and get her head around German grammar. As a social media addict, she can also be found on Twitter and Tumblr.


Thumbnail credit: Fe Ilya (earphones).


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