Learning foreign languages through music

foreign languages

Aside from reading, one of my other hobbies is learning foreign languages. You may say that it is also one of my passions. I love studying how to speak in foreign tongues. If there’s a manual on how to parseltongue like in Harry Potter, perhaps I would like to get my hands on that, too. There’s something fascinating in learning another country’s language. More importantly, it is challenging to try sounding like a native.

My native language is Filipino. Since I was a baby, I was trained to speak English. I have studied Japanese and Mandarin Chinese in my university. My friends studied French so I can also understand some. Then I started to have gazillion of Korean friends which demanded a need to study their language. Too many? Not really. I still thirst for more. I am thinking of studying Spanish or Italian next. And polishing my Korean and French. And practicing my rusty Japanese. Argh.

Few weeks ago, I watched Letters to Juliet starring Amanda Seyfried, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Chris Egan. The romantic drama was set in Verona, Italy. The story was good, acting above average, but what caught my attention was the music. They are very much appropriate.

Some of the songs I like are: Sono Bugiarda (I’m a believer) by Caterina Caselli, Un Giorno Cosi by 883, and Sospesa by Malika Ayane and Pacifico. These have a certain appeal that made me want to study Italian language in order to fully understand and feel the songs. But what captured my ears and heart the most is Per Dimenticare by Zero Assoluto.


Click the Soundcloud widget below to listen to this song.

Per Dimenticare

Allora quindi è vero
È vero che ti sposerai
Ti faccio tanti, tanti cari auguri
E se non vengo capirai

E se la scelta è questa
È giusta lo sai solo tu
È lui l’uomo perfetto che volevi
E che non vuoi cambiare più

Ti senti pronta
A cambiare vita
A cambiare casa
A fare la spesa e fare i conti a fine mese
Alla casa al mare
Ad avere un figlio, un cane
Ed affrontare suocera, cognato, nipoti, parenti
Tombole a Natale, mal di testa ricorrente
E tutto questo… per amore

E forse partirò
Per dimenticare, per dimenticarti
E forse partirò
Per dimenticare, per dimenticarmi
Di te… di te… di te…

E grazie per l’invito
Ma proprio non ce la farò
Ho proprio tanti, tanti, troppi impegni
E credo forse partirò

Se avessi più coraggio
Quello che io ti direi
Che quell’uomo perfetto che volevi
Tu non l’hai capito mai

Io sarei pronto
A cambiare vita
A cambiare casa
A fare la spesa e fare i conti a fine mese
Alla casa al mare
Ad avere un figlio, un cane
Ed affrontare suocera, cognato, nipoti, parenti
Tombole a Natale, mal di testa ricorrente
E tutto questo… per amore

E forse partirò
Per dimenticare, per dimenticarti
E forse partirò
Per dimenticare, per dimenticarmi
Di te… di te… di te…

Per dimenticare, per dimenticarmi
Di te… di te… di te…

In order to forget you

So it’s true
it’s true that you’ll get married
I wish you all the best
if I don’t come, you’ll understand
And if this is your choice
only you know if it’s the right one
Is he the perfect man you were wishing for
and the man you don’t want to change anymore.
Do you feel ready to change your life
to move out
to do the shopping
to cash up at the end of the month
to live at the beach house
to have a son, a dog.
And to face the mother-in-law, the brother-in-law
the nephews, the relatives
the Christmas lottery
the recurrent headache
and all this
for love.

And maybe I’ll leave
in order to forget
in order to forget you.

And maybe I’ll leave
in order to forget
in order to forget…about you, about you, about you.

And thank you for the invitation
but I really won’t be able to make it
I really have so many, so many, too many things to do
I think maybe I’ll leave
if I had more courage
I would tell you that
the perfect man
you wanted, you never understood him.
I would be ready to change my life
to change my home
to do the shopping
to cash up at the end of the month
to have the beach house
to have a son and a dog.
nipoti, parenti,
tombola a Natale,
mal di testa ricorrente
e tutto questo
per amore.

And maybe I’ll leave
in order to forget
in order to forget you.

And maybe I’ll leave
in order to forget
in order to forget…about you, about you, about you.
In order to forget, in order to forget about you, about you, about you.


Per dimenticare is a song from Zero Assoluto, an Italian RnB and pop duo.

zero assoluto

The song is upbeat with a husky and sexy voice by the singers. It was on a repeat in my playlist for days. I felt happy when I listened to the song. Imagine my surprise when I tried to google it and found the English translation. It was supposed to be a sad song…

This only made me want to study the Italian language. After listening to other Zero Assoluto songs, I got curious about the meaning of those lovely words coming from the duo. I want to understand them. Am I getting crazy? I don’t think so. My Korean language skill is continuously improving thanks to my Korean friends and my love for Korean music, dramas, and movies. I think that with the same interest, I could learn Italian, too. What do you think guys?

Learning foreign languages is something very interesting for me. With the aid of music, I can grasp some words here and there. But of course, it must not stop there. Meeting the language through music can be a stepping stone, but I can improve by studying the language itself. Who’s with me studying Italian or any other foreign language?

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33 thoughts on “Learning foreign languages through music

  1. Music really is a great way to help learn a language. I listen to a lot of Japanese, Korean & Taiwan groups. It reinforces what you learn from studies and practice. The biggest thing for me was it got my brain used to the sounds and the way the words flow so instead of hearing a bunch of gibberish, I can hear the individual sounds and the words.

    My family lived in Italy for a few years when I was in elementary school. So I used to know a lot of Italian but, sadly, I’ve forgotten most of it.

    1. We have the same interests! Before, I got interested in Taiwanese songs, then Jpop and Jrock, and now Kpop and k-ballad. Like you, I can catch some words already and can even guess, and sometimes understand, the meaning of the entire song.

      Oh! You are so lucky. I want to go to Italy in the future. You must practice your Italian. My Nihongo got so rusty so I am thinking of looking for a language exchange partner 🙂

  2. I think most of my learning of the Chinese language comes from listening to their songs! I don’t listen to Chinese much but I do want to keep learning so I am trying to listen to more 🙂 I don’t think my brain could absorb all the languages you have learned already >.<

    1. Chinese language! Oh the horror. I remember studying Mandarin Chinese and it is too difficult for me! Good luck learning Chinese though. Perhaps I wasn’t that much interested so I couldn’t absorb much from my lessons.

  3. Awesome post, Nica!. I knew you had interest in learning new languages. It sure is fun to try and learn a something entirely new!. I tried my hand at Tagalog. Got only some words right. I never could speak it like a native. That definitely requires a lot of practice. That Italian song has a nice meaning. Haven’t listened to it yet from the attached sound clip. Will do soon 🙂

    1. It is very rare to see/know a foreigner wanting to learn my native language, but I am glad you tried. The words are difficult to study and sometimes I even find it hard to speak it fluently.

      Try to listen to that Italian song. It has such a nice vibe. You can click “play” then sing along with it as the Italian lyrics were included at the bottom of the widget. Haha karaoke time!

      1. Oh wow!. Heard the song just now and I love it. It does have a nice vibe to it. Plus that voice. Yum!.. Hehe. I didn’t hear it yesterday because I was already in bed while reading your post and I didn’t wanna play it and wake my husband up!!.I wanted to try and learn Tagalog coz I had three Filipino colleagues plus its always cool to talk a different language 🙂

  4. I love those old Italian singers like Caterina Caselli. I got introduced to them through my dad, who used to listen to it when he was young. I thought I was the only person who knew about these 🙂
    This is one of my favorite Italian songs:

  5. I studied Italian in college, and had scheduling conflicts not occurred I would definitely have continued. The language is very rich, and I used to listen to Italian radio stations (via iTunes) when I was doing homework. I would also highly recommend Italian poetry as well as opera, truly incredible stuff.

  6. What a great idea to aid the learning process, I am impressed with your multilingualness, as I have said before. I would love to hear you have a go at parceltongue as well.

  7. Deal, we will look foolish together and post some videos of us on here. that would be amusing. I have listened through a couple of times, it’s quite intuitive, It’s fun too, the best bit of learning.

    1. I can already imagine. To be fair, I will also wear my nerdy glasses and together we’ll find a Harry Potter-ish vest and cloak then start speaking in parseltongue. I just hope there’ll be no boa constrictors nearby!

      I really like that song. During the early stage of this blog, I just post my Song of the Day. Let the song speaks of my current mood.

  8. Music is a powerful thing, I have been listening to a lot as well recently, and it just moves me in ways that sometimes even a book can’t.

    We are more Potter, than Harry himself, if a boa turns up we will flatter it or confuse it with riddles until it runs away from us.

    1. I agree. I think I have asked this before, but I forgot your answer of if you ever answered my question. Do you play? like guitar or something?

      Oh dear. That will be hilarious! the boa will definitely slither away from us. If it has ears, it will want to be far from two crazy people hissing nonsense at each other.

      1. I think we would do a good line in nonsense, if it is a book hating boa then it will be in for some torture as we go on about books all the time.

        I don’t play any instruments, if I had the time and the motivation I would learn something though.

        1. Ahahaha. My imagination is soaring. the boa will certainly commit suicide by winding itself tightly. Asphyxiation will be better than listening to both of us hiss about our favorite books.

          Ah. Me, too. I think I can play the triangle, but a drummer will not want that. I am learning how to play guitar and could sound a few notes here and there, sometimes almost a song. I am still in the long process of learning though.

  9. So can we expect ten minute guitar solos played with your teeth at some point? That would be awesome and heroic as well.

    The WWF wouldn’t be happy with our assisting animal suicide business. Maybe we should charge the animal for it in some way that I haven’t thought out yet.

    1. I am not sure if I can manage what you requested, but if I could then you have to prepare a staggering amount for my talent fee. If I could not play guitar using my teeth, I’ll use another instrument named after the soon-to-be empress: harMONICA.

      Oh my G. My eyes are playing tricks on me. I thought you typed WWE. Why am I getting aggressive? It scares me.

      P.S. I am getting sleepy. It is almost 1 AM here

      1. HarMONICA, that made me actually lol. I would expect a discount for each comment I have posted you, that is only fair.
        Crikey you are up late! WWE? We could take them on and win, well you could I would watch with popcorn!

        1. Hehe me and my jokes. That got you, eh? I’ll give you 0.5% discount for every comment then.

          Yeah, and if my dark circles become worse I know who to blame. Thanks for the support. Watch me in WWE with popcorn? Okay! Hmm. Raw or Smackdown? Oh geez, I am getting aggressive indeed. Did you know I actually studied MMA (mixed martial arts)?

          1. with all these comments I will have a hearty discount awaiting me already!

            I have no idea about WWE at all, just that is looks a bit rubbish. You’ve mentioned your MMA before which is why I have so muchconfidence in you to win our fights for us. Hehe.

  10. That’s a decent amount as i must have racked up quite a discount just in these conversations!

    I have no idea about WWE, just that it looks terrible. You’ve mentioned your MMA before to intimidate me when we were fighting over books, that’s why I faith in you to win our fights for us.

  11. Go for it! Italian is very beautiful to listen to, but to speak it correctly, you have to do the body language as well… Lots of very expressive hand gestures and arm waves and so on. Don’t get my Italian friends started on that topic!
    I think for those people who have a close connection to music, it comes naturally to be interested in the languages of songs they like. I used to sing along to all my Dad’s favourite songs even before spoke a single word of English – I remember asking him once what a word meant and he said that it wasn’t a word – only years later did I realize that I had just run together several words into one big chunk.
    I’ve always liked this song (and the singer, of course):

    And this one also:

Share your thoughts, I would love to read them!