I logged on to write my blog today and a writing prompt popped up on the screen: ‘Write About Evil’. I thought this over for a minute and came to the conclusion that when one is trying to write an essay or get some study done, distractions are the most evil thing in the world. I have written previously about one of my favourite distractions, Buzzfeed, and today I am going to investigate another distraction – music! It’s not such a big distraction for me because, unlike many of my friends, I never listen to music when I’m studying. I can’t concentrate when there is any background noise WHATSOEVER while I am trying to write or learn vocab or verbs! (For this very reason, I bought a pair of industrial headphones to wear while studying for the Leaving Cert, and let me tell you that they worked a treat! Now I use them when my neighbours have parties, which, in my exhausted opinion, is far too often.) That said, music can be very distracting. If there’s a new album out by my favourite band or I have an earworm (NOT as gross as it sounds! It’s just the slang term for a song you can’t get out of your head.) then music can definitely be a force for evil. However, all is not lost. Music can also be educational!
I’m going to segue into radio for the purposes of this blog entry, because it is a distraction which is often musical. I LOVE listening to the radio. Every morning, I wake up to the sound of Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 as my alarm clock. I am deadly serious about this! I like to hear the news and Spin Southwest read their news from Twitter. That’s not news. They also play Miley Cyrus and Pitbull, neither of which I consider as “music”. So Morning Ireland it is, and I feel so informed (and yes, smug too) for the rest of the day. The radio, just like listening to an iPod or Spotify, can be a distraction, but just like music again, it can also be a force for good!
Now I get to the point of this blog entry… Listening to music or the radio in other languages is an EXCELLENT way to a) learn a language, duh, b) get used to hearing how a language sounds and absorbing those sounds/accents/etc, c) hear local and national news from that country, d) hear some awesome new tunes in a different language! There are loads more reasons than this – listening out for the weather reports can help you to focus on learning your vocab for describing weather, you might hear a news report or a guest speaker on a radio show who will fascinate you, and you might hear a ridiculously catchy jingle that you just can’t get out of your head. *sings in falsetto: “N-R-J!!!”*
When I was studying for my Leaving Cert aurals and orals, I used to listen to the radio in Spanish and French while I was going about my room during the day. To this day, I like to listen to http://www.nrj.fr/ for French tunes and Radio 3 on http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/rne/radio-3/ for Spanish. One of my favourite radio programmes is an indie/rock show every night on Radio 3. That’s my favourite kind of music (toss in a little electro or poppy influences á la The Cure circa the 90s and that’s my ideal song), and as many of the songs are in Spanish and the presenters are speaking Castellano, it is absolutely perfect for me! I haven’t yet found a German radio station but I have listened to some German songs lately in preparation for my German aural, which was on this week. To find songs in other languages, I check out their Top 40 listings online and search for any songs that look like they’re in German on YouTube or Spotify. YouTube is a goldmine for songs in other languages. I like to look for the lyric videos because then I can understand what the song is saying!
Finally, I shall leave you with a link to a Demi Lovato tune which is especially beloved by some of my friends. It is a translation of her song ‘Skyscrapers’ into Spanish, renamed ‘Rascacielos’. Enjoy! 🙂