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Singing Boosts Language-Learning Skills

Update Date: Jul 18, 2013 02:31 PM EDT

Having a hard time learning a new language? Try singing it out loud.

Singing in a foreign language can significantly improve learning how to speak it, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that adults who listened to short Hungarian phrases and then sang them back performed better than those who spoke the phrases.

The study found that those who sang the phrases back also performed better than those who reported the phrases by speaking them rhythmically.

The latest study, published in the journal Memory and Cognition, involved three randomly assigned groups of twenty adults.  The participants were asked to take a series of fie tests.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh's Reid School of Music found that the singing group performed the best in four of the five tests.

What's more participants who learned through singing performed twice as well in one test as those who learned by speaking the phrases.

Researchers said those who learned by singing were also better at recalling the Hungarian phrases.

"This study provides the first experimental evidence that a listen-and-repeat singing method can support foreign language learning, and 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," lead researcher Dr. Karen M. Ludke said in a statement.

Researchers said they chose Hungarian for the study because it is unfamiliar to most English speakers and is a difficult language to master.  Researchers said Hungarian has a completely different structure and sound system to the Germanic or Romance languages like Spanish and French.

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