A – 6: can barely order a simple drink while abroad
B – 1: when studying and can help to start memory
C – 4: have experience of remembering words
D – 3: had no experience of learning this
E – 5: who had used the “listen and sign” approach
F – 2: who struggle to learn foreign languages
Singing can help when learning a foreign language
It is a source of national embarrassment – despite hours of lessons and listening to foreign language tapes, most of us A__can barely order a simple drink while abroad__. However, a new study suggests there may be hope for those who have difficulty with a foreign language – they should try singing it instead.
Research found that adults who sang words or short phrases from a foreign language while learning were twice as good at speaking it later. It is thought that by listening to words that are sung, and by singing them back, the technique takes advantage of the strong links between music and memory.
Although not clearly understood, music is known to help students B__when studying and can help to start memory__ recall.
Dr Overy said singing could lead to new approaches to learning a foreign language. She said: “Most people C__have experience of remembering words__ from songs they have heard and songs are sometimes used by language teachers with young children.”
Dr Overy and her colleagues used recordings of Hungarian words to teach 60 adults. They chose Hungarian as the participants D__had no experience of learning this__ language.
The participants either listened to words that were spoken and then had to repeat them back, much like a standard teach-yourself tape, or the words were said rhythmically or sung.
After a 15-minute learning period, they were then given several tests to see how well they had learned the words. Those E__who had used the “listen and sign” approach__ scored highest. They were also better at recalling the words correctly in tests of long term memory. Interestingly, they did not sing the words when they recalled them.
Dr Ludke said the findings could help those F__who struggle to learn foreign languages__.