In this video, I teach myself the song “Soul Pleurer” (“Soul Cry”) by the Old School French Rap group from Montreal – Dubmatique.
My personal approach to language learning is really quite simple.
- I familiarize myself with the component sounds (phonemes) of the language.
- I use Rhythmic Phonetic Training to teach myself the lyrics of rap songs to hone my mimicry skills.
- I immerse myself in the language and learn through mimicry.
In future videos, I will show you exactly this last step of mimicry actually goes down in practice. I will also discuss how I went about the first step of familiarizing myself with the component sounds of French.
Why I Rap Before I Speak
The most important skill to have in any language is a mastery of its phonetic flow. Flow mastery entails two things:
- The ability to perceive (hear) the individual speech sounds (phonemes) at normal conversation speeds.
- The ability to produce (articulate) the individual speech sounds at normal conversation speeds.
Linguistic communication is first a foremost a physical process. The other skills of expressing and understanding meaning all come from this fundamental process.
This is why I refer to these skills as “phonetic infrastructure.” Without it, the rest of your linguistic knowledge will sink into itself and serve you no use.
You can know lots of vocabulary but if you lack the ability to process their sounds in normal speech, then this knowledge is useless. This is why – before I learn any word or grammar concept – I focus only on my understanding and mastery of the sounds.
So why do I focus memorizing rap lyrics instead of normal speech or other types of music?
- Song lyrics are easier to remember than normal speech because of the mnemonic power of music
- Rap lyrics are typically faster and thus closer to normal speech.
To expand the last point, I could learn a slower song, but I just won’t get as much ROI as I would learning a rap song.
Indeed, I chose to learn a challenging rap song for this same reason – I want to achieve a basic command of French Flow in as few syllables as possible. The next songs you will hear me rap will be of comparable difficulty.
If you want to learn how I was able to teach myself this, read my guest post on Fluent in 3 Months about How I learned to rap in 4 languages I didn’t know in one night using Audacity.