Singing can facilitate foreign language learning

Karen Ludke, Fernanda Ferreira, Katie Overy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study presents the first experimental evidence that singing can facilitate short-term paired-associate phrase learning in an unfamiliar language (Hungarian). Sixty adult participants were randomly assigned to one of three “listen-and-repeat” learning conditions: speaking, rhythmic speaking, or singing. Participants in the singing condition showed superior overall performance on a collection of Hungarian language tests after the 15-min learning period, compared with participants in the speaking and rhythmic speaking conditions. This superior performance was statistically significant (p < .05) for two tests that required participants to produce verbatim spoken Hungarian phrases. The differences in performance were not explained by potentially influencing factors such as age, gender, mood, working memory ability, or musical ability and training. These results suggest that a “listen-and-sing” learning method can facilitate verbatim memory for spoken foreign language phrases.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number5
Early online date4 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Singing
  • Foreign language learning Singing
  • Speaking
  • Rhythm
  • Verbal memory


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