Non Native English Speakers: Can You Understand Song Lyrics?

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  • #36
DennisN
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Both clips were excellent, micromass! I'm saving those for distribution...:smile:
 
  • #37
Romulo Binuya
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I heard miley cyrus when she sang her wrecking ball at ellen show and I didn't need to google the lyrics to understand it. Mein klaus of the scorpions has good diction too.. and many others.

Understanding the literal lyrics is one thing and interpreting it is another thing. Some can see more than a pumpkin seed because interpretation is subjective. And it's excellent to be knowing the meaning of certain2 words of the lyrics.

Example, the first youtube link I had posted is led zepellin's immigrant song. The word valhalla in the lyrics suggests that the song is about vikings on suicide excursion. But knowing that half of the slain warriors were selected for folkvangr first and the left-over half goes to valhalla will make another interpretations.

The second link is uriah heep's july morning. Imo it's about a hopeless romantic who is optimistic and persistent in finding his soulmate. More than a thousand trials failed to convinced him that a soulmate is not for him because he is basically a lone wolf.

And the last link is Apocalyptica's I don't care. Imo it's about a guy talking to himself. He's tired of being in leash and constantly henpecked by a dominant mate thus he's planning to reclaim his pride. Probably he will do that talking to himself for the rest of his life in leash, because he is a coward and probably dumb.
 
  • #38
Yanick
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I can't tell you how many lyrics, and even words, I've misheard or mispronounced my entire life!

I used to always say "bomb" by pronouncing the final "b" until my wife started teasing me for it. Apparently you are supposed to say "bom."

This commercial hit the nail on the head IMO.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvcLWQrcgtM
 
  • #39
dlgoff
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Sometimes song lyrics don't make sense, as a word may be used just for the riming. Besides, interpretation is what, IMO, MAKES a lot of old rock tunes.
 
  • #40
Romulo Binuya
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Yes I noticed, some song writers trade-off some words for the sake of rhyme, cadence, and other artistic reasons. The pop ballad "Colors of the wind" of pocahontas popularized by vanessa williams has a phrase "blue corn moon" in it. The song is about the sentiments of the native americans regarding the ecology, and the song writer knows that the phrase "blue corn moon" doesn't make sense in native american folklore, but you can listen for yourself and agree with the song writer that "blue corn moon" sounds much better than the meaningful "green corn moon".

Btw, you can check your own diction with your own "voice-input-typing apps", if it's alright typing your dictation.. try singing a stanza of your favorite song. Does it sucks like my android does? :D
 
  • #41
Romulo Binuya
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Google is our friend indeed, downloaded lyrics help me to finally discern the words in songs which I failed to catch despite several times of rewinding and listening. The first lines of bon jovi's 'it's my life' is "this ain't a song for the broken hearted, silent prayer for faith departed...". In metallica's 'nothing else matter' I got it now, it's ".. trust I seek and I found in you...". But I still believe shakira sings "..because of you I forgot the smart way to write.." though Google says it's "smart way to lie.." in the song 'underneath your clothes'. I was surprised that the ketchup song 'eserehe' which is among my video file has mixed english/spanish lyrics, I thought it's all spanish and I wonder why I failed to noticed it. :D
 
  • #42
fluidistic
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I'm a native English speaker and many songs, especially rock songs, sound like gibberish to me. I'm not particularly unusual this way, and I think we've had threads on that before. But I can't imagine how hard it must be for non-native speakers! Now that we have the innerwebs we can find song lyrics, thankfully.

So my question is for non-native speakers of English: Can you make out English song lyrics very well?

I'm in your case but with a higher handicap for sure. A few words, sometime "sentences" is all I can understand most of the time.
When I was about 13 years old I remember my mother telling me she couldn't understand many words in songs (she lived in the USA for many years and teaches English linguistics at university).

As a side note, I generally don't understand many French songs when I hear them and sometimes even when I read the lyrics. It's my first language.
 
  • #43
Romulo Binuya
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That's an intriguing psychological phenomena. I experience that too at lesser degree, lesser because reading the lyrics while listening usually helps me in discerning the english words in songs.

I found out that language and music is being processed in near-identical area of the brain and I conjectured that something is interfering with the production of neurotransmitter chemicals which directly affects comprehension... perhaps the brain goofs on which hemisphere the neuro chemicals must be sent for better processing? The wikipedia article about 'cognitive neuroscience of music' is not easy to read due to a lot of hyperlinks but interesting nonetheless. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_neuroscience_of_music
 
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