Singing helps when learning languages

19 July 2013, 10:39

Can't get to grips with your French homework? German getting the better of you? Have a go at singing - it just might help you learn.

Singing in a foreign language helps people recall phrases, according to a new study. When three groups of people were asked to sing, speak, or chant unfamiliar Hungarian phrases, the singers came out on top and remembered the most.

While speaking the phrases back was an effective way to learn, researchers found that those who sang the words recalled them with greater accuracy. Learning by singing also helped the participants remember the phrases for longer.

Dr Karen Ludke, who conducted the research as part of her PhD at the University of Edinburgh, said: "This opens the door for future research in this area. One question is whether melody could provide an extra cue to jog people's memory, helping them recall foreign words and phrases more easily."

When recalling the words later, the singers didn't have to sing the words back in order to remember them - significantly reducing the chances of an embarrassing operatic encounter while on holiday!