【World Life】とは?

英語を学ぶ人は ツイてる?<英語版>

World Lifeな生活
Many people say singing songs is a great way to learn a new language like English. But did you know for some languages, like Chinese, singing songs doesn’t really help you learn?

I’ll explain why Chinese songs aren’t useful for beginners. Understanding this will help you see why English songs can be so helpful.

In Chinese, there are four different tone patterns that every word follows. Learning these tones is crucial because the same sound like “ma” can be four completely different words just by changing the tone!

The four tones are:
1st tone – A flat, sustained high pitch
2nd tone – Rising pitch, going from low to high
3rd tone – Dipping pitch, going down and then back up
4th tone – Falling pitch, going from high to low

So for “ma”:
1st tone (flat high pitch) means “mother”
2nd tone (rising) means “hemp”
3rd tone (dipping) means “horse”
4th tone (falling) means “to scold”

To speak Chinese properly, you have to memorize which of these four tones goes with each of the million or so words! The order of the tones is very important.

I thought learning songs would help me pick up on the tones naturally. But I realized the melodies don’t match the word tones at all! Composers ignore the tones to create beautiful melodies.

The key part of a song “What Day Will You Return Again” , consisting four words, has these tones: 2nd, 4th, 1st, 4th, 2nd. But the melody goes: rising, falling, falling, rising, flat – very different from the word tones!

I was disappointed to learn songs don’t help for beginning Chinese. The melodies clash with the crucial tones.

Luckily, English is a “stressed” language, not a “toned” one. We distinguish words like “desert” and “desert” by stressing different syllables, not changing the pitch pattern.

Since English rhythm doesn’t clash with melody the same way, singing songs is actually very helpful for learning English pronunciation.

So if you’re an English learner who enjoys music, you’re in luck! Singing songs reinforces the sounds and stresses. Make the most of this advantage over toned languages like Chinese.

So until the next time