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Songs are an invaluable help to language learners. There are plenty of studies to prove that point, but we don't really need studies to tell us what we already know from personal experience. Songs stick in our minds and come back to us at the most unexpected moments. Everything works together: the beat, the music, the rhythm and the rhyme all reinforce each other and help us remember each fragment of a song.
Needless to say that this is exactly what you need when you are learning a language. You can study for hours, days or weeks in order to learn a phrase or a grammatical structure, but none of that will be as effective as learning a song. Apart from that, perhaps the most important mechanism when it comes to learning is simple "repetition"; the more you hear something, the better you will remember it. Children learn very effectively through repetition, but as we grow up, we have less time and get bored more quickly. A good song, however, never gets boring, so it's the perfect solution!
Every student of English has been through the process of learning the tenses: the present continuous, the present perfect, etc. Every student has tried to work out the exact position of adverbs in a sentence and has tried to work out why "still", "yet" and "already" seem to go all over the place. Every students has suffered with prepositions.. what do they mean on their own, what do they mean together with a verb and why on earth can they go at the end of a sentence? And these are just some of the many challenges a student faces.
Funnily enough, a student that can sing "
And I still haven't found what I am looking for
" (by U2) does not need to ask him or herself all the above questions, because the song already shows the right way to do it. Listen to it often enough and you will be able to imitate the same structures in every given sentence you produce: "I still haven't find.." will sound wrong, as well as "I yet haven't found" or whatever other mistakes you might have made in the past.
On this page, I will upload links to songs that are, in order of importance:
1. Good to listen to.
2. Sung with a fair amount of articulation &
3. Help to assimilate a certain grammar point or useful structure.
These links are meant as examples, nothing else. If you like a song, any song, try to listen to it as often as you can and sing along until your throat hurts. The only thing that matters is that you like it, nothing else.
I will also add links to websites that offer more songs, lyrics, exercises, etc. so that you have more to choose from. One last recommendation:
Try to listen to a song many, many times
you decide to have a look at the lyrics, especially if you are a beginner. Trust me on this one!
p.s. This is a work in progress, so come back from time to time to check out new additions. Oh, and feel free to let me know about songs that you think should be added to this list.
The Beatles "Hello Goodbye"
A nice one to start with - and would you believe the quality of the video!
Musical: Anything you can do..
Supertramp "The Logical Song"
"Can" for more advanced listeners.
Elvis Presley "Return to Sender"
A bit of the past tense.
I'm too sexy
Remember that "too" is always a problem..
Nina Simone "Ain't got no"
Songs are not always a shining example of correct grammar, but this song can't be beat for a bit of practice on "I have got.." (apart from the "body language").
The Stones "All over now"
Any problems with "used to"? Fear no more.
Gotye "Somebody that I used to know"
Or, if the Stones are a bit "old hat" for you, try this one.
The Beat "Can't get used to losing you"
And just so you don't confuse one "used to" with the other..
U2 "Still haven't found what I'm looking for"
Can't leave this one out, of course.
Since I've been loving you
This present perfect rocks!
Or, for a more classical approach to the present perfect.
Alanis Morisette "Hand in Pocket"
Lots of opposites, although a bit mixed up..
Neil Young "Heart of Gold"
Several tenses here.
A bit of "will" there, but mainly just a beautiful song..
Robert Palmer "Simply Irresistible"
Where to put the stress in multi-syllable words.
Trini Lopez "If I had a hammer"
Fiddler on the Roof "If I were a rich man"
Talking about classic songs and conditionals...
Joan Osborne "One of Us"
Sam Cooke "Wonderful World"
Second conditional and school vocabulary.
Pearl Jam "Wishlist"
The Beatles "Norwegian Wood"
Sorry, another Beatles song, I know, but these guys have done more for English learners around the world than anyone else. Past tense and a beautiful song.
More songs and related activities:
tune into English
absolutely something for everyone!
Remember, don't use this site before you have listened dozens of times to a song!
. One of those sites I wish I had invented myself! Listen to the music and write out the lyrics - can you beat the clock?
This is a site intended for teachers, but you can use it in the same way as the previously suggested songs.
12 Songs for Pronunciation
According to the person that put this page together, these 12 songs will help you perfect your pronunciation...
help on how to format text
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