They say immersion is the best way to learn a new language, but not all of us are able to pick up and go and holiday in a country that speaks our target language.
So how can we achieve immersion from the comfort of our own home?
Well, there are loads of ways. You can listen to the news, to the radio, to music. You can watch Netflix in your target language (check out our handy post on the best Netflix shows in each language we teach!) and you can also have conversations with native speakers.
Today we’re going to look at music and more specifically, to active listening and mimicking.
Even if you’re brand new to the Mimic Method, you might be able to guess that we advocate mimicking native speakers to master the sounds of a language and get your accent sounding awesome. Mimicking has a ton of benefits, but mainly it helps you get grips on how syllables flow together and form sentences.
One of the best examples of this is in music.
When you listen to music, you’re listening to the ways in which one word runs into the next, where the accent is in the word and how to combine potentially difficult sounds.
You need to engage in active listening
Active listening is where you deliberately pay attention to what’s being said and the rhythms of the person or people singing. You want to start to pick up on the beat, perhaps try and start recognizing words and getting an understanding of what the song is all about.
However, even if you’re brand new to a language, active listening is extremely helpful.
It will help you start to train your ear to the elemental sounds of the language and get you into the mindset of that language.
How Music Helps You Learn A Language
When you learn a language by ear, you go through three different stages:
- Stage 1: Capacity (Hearing & Pronunciation)
- Stage 2: Conversation (Speaking & Understanding)
- Stage 3: Command (Reading and Writing)
Listening to music in your target language means not only are you practicing your capacity for hearing and pronunciation, but you’re also (when you sing it back) practicing your spoken command as well.
Music is especially helpful with improving your syllable capacity. Syllables are the building blocks of speech, and some of them will be harder to pronounce than others based on which language you’re coming from originally.
This week, we’ve chosen our favourite 10 songs to help you learn French. We’ve chosen them deliberately because the lyrics are easy to pick out and the rhythm is pretty easy to follow. Some of them are harder than others, so start at the top of the list and work your way down. We’ve also included links to the lyrics of each song, which you can use to sing along with them.
The first time you listen to them, don’t worry so much about the lyrics. The second or third time you listen, start to try and sing along.
The best thing you can do with songs is trying to ‘flowverlap’ – which is where you record yourself singing alongside them and try and match the syllables exactly. Don’t worry if you’re not a great singer – that’s not important!
What’s important is that you’re mimicking the sounds correctly.
Our Top 10 French Songs
Let us know what you think!
1. Dernière Danse, Kyo
2. Ton Visage, Fréro Delavega
3. Veronica, Vianney
4. Comme des Enfants, Coeur de Pirate
5. Mon Héroïne, Fréro Delavega
6. Tu Ne M’Entends Pas, Indila
7. Tourne, Louane
8. J’ai Demandé à la Lune, Indochine
9. Le Chant des Sirènes, Fréro Delavega
10. Est-ce que Tu M’aimes, Maître Gims