I always like to say that music has the ability to connect people. That being said, it can be difficult to understand the meaning of songs when the lyrics are written in a language you don’t know well or at all. Since I recently got into Korean pop group BTS (pictured above), I thought it might be helpful to give some tips on how to listen to a song in another language for the first time:
First, listen to the song and keep an open mind. Personally, I’m a huge lyric person. If a song has meaningful lyrics and it has a good melody, I’m pretty much sold on the song. Listening to the song first also helps me when I read the translation of the lyrics because it makes it easier to follow along.
Next, I look for a translation of the lyrics. For me, I always google “song title English (or any language you want the song translated into) translated lyrics.” Usually, I click on the first website that pops up and then I read the translation. Another helpful tip is to find a website or a YouTube video that has translated lyrics and the lyrics in the original language. Now keep in mind that something in one language may not directly translate into another and the translations that you find may not be 100% accurate. Often if I’m confused about the way a lyric is translated, I will look at multiple sites such as forums to see how other people interpreted the lyric.
Then, once you’ve found a translation that you like (I recommend looking at a side-by-side lyric translation when doing this), listen to the song again. Reading the lyrics while listening to the song helps me to put the meaning together with the music. I usually do this a few times just so that I know I’m not missing anything.
Finally, repeat any steps you want! Even when I’ve listened to a song for a while, I will occasionally go back and read a translation again. Sometimes I will even pick up on something that I haven’t heard before or an interpretation that I haven’t thought about.
This step-by-step guide is by all means not complete, but I hope this helps give an idea as to how to listen to music in a different language. As for why listen to music in another language, I’ve found that especially if I’m learning the language such as French it is helpful to listen to music in French as it really helps with comprehension. Even if you aren’t learning the language sometimes it’s cool to explore music from all around the world and make comparisons.
So, do you enjoy listening to music in different languages? If so, what do you like to listen to?
Do you need a study break and love scavenger hunts and prizes? Come to the Language Resource Center (1st floor Breidenbaugh) to play!
First, download the app “Klikaklu”* from the app store or find one of our posters located around campus for the QR code. Then, search for the “Gettysburg LRC Hunt” and come to the LRC during our open hours to play with groups of up to 3 people! The best part is that everyone receives a prize for completing the hunt!
I’d like to inform you all of a very cool website for anyone looking for Japanese reading material. It’s called Satori Reader (Satori or 悟りis a Japanese word meaning “understanding” or “comprehension”), and it is a user-adjustable digital graded reader. The site itself contains numerous articles separated into series. Each series has different topics, but more importantly cover a wide range of writing styles such as journal entries, conversational style, news reports, emails and more. This alone makes it a good tool to get a feel for the different kinds of writing styles that may be encountered throughout your time reading Japanese.
The articles themselves have adjustable difficulty so there are a few versions of the same piece with easier to harder grammar/sentence pattern. Each series is also fully narrated which lets this also be used for listening comprehension as well as practicing speech. In addition to this, Satori Reader’s kanji and furigana are highly customizable. You can adjust how many kanji/furigana are used according to your preference and reading level.
Satori Reader also takes full advantage of its digital format to allow users to get a dictionary entry for any word simply by clicking on it. And if there weren’t already enough accessibility options, the tricky words/sentences/phrases often come with additional notes that explains whatever it may be in greater detail. With all these features coupled together, Satori Reader stays true to its name and offers material that’s first and foremost purpose is to be understood. Their library is designed specifically to make reading as fluid and easy as possible regardless of your ability to read Japanese. I’d highly recommend this for anyone interested in consuming Japanese literature/media as it’s a good way to get your feet wet and scale up as you become more comfortable.
It’s also available as an iPhone app, for all your reading on the go needs. Check it out!
I am happy to announce that the Language Resource Center will be offering mini language workshops on Tuesdays at 4! Every week, you can learn the basics in a different language, taught by students on campus.
Schedule for Spring 2017:
4/4 Ancient Greek
*This workshop will be held at 2 pm on Friday, February 24th in BREI 103, next door to the LRC
Enjoy learning languages without the commitment or grades of a class! Food will be provided. Hope to see you there!
Hello! My name is Jue Gong. You can also call me Maggie. I am a senior majoring in economics and cinema and media studies. Chinese is my first language, and I can also speak English, Japanese, and a little bit Spanish. As a person who is in love with learning different languages and different cultures, I am so excited to work at LRC and help students in their language learning.
I also like traveling. Besides China and the United States, I’ve been to Australia, France, England, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Japan. I find out that traveling is not only about relaxing, but also about learning and adapting to different cultures. I spent a semester studying abroad in London. London is a beautiful city that harbors many famous artists, writers, and actors. I enjoyed walking around the spectacular buildings and appreciating grand art pieces in the museums. I am hoping one day that I can revisit the city. Kyoto is also one of my favorite cities. Different from the other cities in Japan such as Tokyo and Osaka, Kyoto is smaller and with less population. I like it because it keeps the traditional Japanese culture very well. In Kyoto, you can see the old shrine and temple everywhere and you can walk with people in the traditional Japanese costumes. It is a quiet city and everyone is warm-hearted and friendly.
Besides traveling, I like playing piano and watching films. My favorite film genre is suspense detective film. My favorite film directors are Wong Kar-wai and Quentin Tarantino. Their films have a deep impact on me and make me become a student of cinema and media studies. I watched a lot of Asian films especially Hong Kong cinema and Japanese cinema. I am always willing to share good films to you!
In the future, I will keep my interests in languages and cultural studies, and, of course, spending my time traveling around the world!
Hello! こんにちは! My name is Elvis Lau and I am a Sophomore majoring in Japanese Studies and Computer Science. Being from a family that speaks multiple languages, I really enjoy learning different languages. At home, I speak Cantonese with my parents. I also know a few words and phrases in Mandarin and Vietnamese as my great-grandparents moved from China to Vietnam. I started learning Japanese on my own three years ago. I am pretty confident when it comes to speaking, so if you would like a partner to practice your Japanese speaking skills with, feel free to come and chat with me! I hope to be able to learn and become fluent in more languages in the future, like French, Vietnamese, Mandarin, and Korean. Besides learning other languages, I would also like to travel around the world. I hope, in the future, to be able to travel all across continents like Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. I plan to go abroad to Kansai Gaidai in Japan next semester in the Fall, so I am really excited and look forward to all of the new experiences I will receive overseas.
Hello! Salut! My name is Beth and I am a sophomore majoring in French and Globalization Studies. I’m really excited to work at the LRC and help others who are passionate about learning a language or two or three! If you take French and would ever like a buddy to speak French with, I would be more than happy to speak with you! Besides learning languages, I really enjoy traveling. I’ve been to France, Spain, Italy, Greece, the Bahamas, the United Kingdom, and Canada, so I guess you could say I have a little bit of a travel bug. In the future, I would love to visit more countries and experience new cultures and new foods. One country in particular that I would like to visit is Brazil because I would love to go zip-lining through the rain forest. I also really enjoy playing and listening to music. At Gettysburg, I play cello in the Gettysburg College Orchestra (insert shameless plug about our concert April 29th at 8 pm at the Majestic, which is free with student ID!). Besides classical music, I love listening to pop music and going to concerts. In March, I’m going to see a Korean pop group called BTS (you should definitely look them up!) with my roommate. Because of this, I’m planning on learning Korean at some point (shout-out to my fellow co-worker Angela for sending me some great resources to help me learn!). All in all, I hope to see you in the LRC very soon! À bientôt!
Hello! こんにちは！ My name is Edward Dame and I’m a junior who’s majoring in Japanese Studies as well as Psychology. I fell in love with studying Japanese while at Gettysburg, and I studied abroad in Japan during the Fall 2016 semester. I can speak Japanese at an intermediate level, so feel free to come talk with me if you want to work on your speaking ability! I think that one of the greatest things I’ve gained from my studies and time abroad is a much deeper appreciation of cultural differences because going to Japan was my first time ever being out of the country. I hope to continue working on language skills while at the LRC (I’d like to start learning some Chinese as well). My hobbies include reading in English and Japanese as well as studying kanji.
Have you hit a plateau in language-learning? Are you into modern literature? Come to the LRC and check out our new collection of Spanish books! Reading is a great way to expand your vocabulary and see how grammar works. When it comes to keeping motivation alive, I would highly recommend reading content that you are interested in. That being said, you have the opportunity to read books that you would not normally read in class such as The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and The Fault in Our Stars. More importantly, reading can work to your advantage when you already know the plot of the story, because you have already read the book in English. There are books for all levels of Spanish-speakers, so even beginners can start taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Come now and take a look at our expanding Spanish section!
Also, for those of you who love reading, the Language Resource Center is partnering up with Professor Moore of the Spanish Department to start a Spanish book club. If you already haven’t, I would encourage you to like the LRC Facebook page and watch out for updates on when this will be happening.
When I was studying abroad in Spain, my teacher made my class get together to watch the movie Ocho apellidos vascos. In my past experiences from taking language classes, teachers seem to assign specific kinds of movies for class, so I was not very thrilled. The last thing I was expecting was to watch a comedy. I had really enjoyed the movie and was excited to find out that a sequel (Ocho apellidos catalanes) was coming out during my time abroad. I never did get the chance to see it in theaters but recently, Netflix added both movies to their list under English names: The Spanish Affair and The Spanish Affair 2.
If you are looking for an opportunity to have a laugh and learn about Spanish stereotypes, I would suggest this movie. The film takes place after the events of the first film, so I will not be giving away any spoilers in case you have not seen the first one. The main characters are from different areas of Spain. Each area of Spain is unique, as well as the people who live there. You will get to see those unique characteristics played out in Rafa from Seville, Amaia from Basque Country in the north of Spain, and Pau from Catalonia. This is the perfect combination for anyone who loves Spanish and rom-coms! Since Netflix sometimes switches out movies for others, I would suggest seeing it right away.