суббота, 23 января 2016 г.

Learning foreign languages with songs

Do you use foreign-language songs for your listening comprehension skills improvement? I do. Sometimes it is hard for me to make out the words of a song. Until recently, in such cases I searched for the lyrics on the Internet and ended up either on some lyrics online base or on Youtube, watching a lyrics video (by the way, such videos can be true objects of admiration... and blinking causes of eyes ache at the same time). This approach has one serious disadvantage: I have to look aside each time I need help to understand the words. Several weeks ago I've found the way not to waste any time for it. Here is how my iTunes looks now:

The solution is called MiniLyrics. Each time a new song starts playing, this app automatically searches for the song lyrics in a large user-generated database.

MiniLyrics is supported by various operating systems and media players.

You can view the lyrics not only for the English-language songs. However, since the online base is user-generated, you would fail to find the lyrics for most non-English songs. I don't consider this as a serious drawback: I regard French-language songs as much more understandable ones than the English-language songs (probably, this is because I prefer different genres of music in these two languages), so I need English lyrics more than anything else. If your preferences both in music and in language learning differ from mine, here are the examples of lyrics in German, Finnish and Russian:

Lyrics are time-synchronized. On one hand, it's another source of bad user experience (because of wrong timestamps in the lyrics file or a truncated audio file). On the other hand, you can use your favorite media player as a karaoke tool. For some songs, the line which is currently being played is highlighted as if MiniLyrics tries to resemble karaoke even more.

MiniLyrics requires an Internet connection to find and download the lyrics. Once downloaded, they can be stored on your hard drive (if you configure the application properly) and later be used again even if you are offline. This is one more great advantage of MiniLyrics over other ways of searching for songs words.

As for you, what features would you include into an application/plugin for the audio player aiming to help language learners?

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