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second language skills Looking to help your child learn a second language? You may want to turn up the French (or Italian or Russian) tunes—and let her sing along.

In a recent study, researchers asked adult participants to listen to short phrases in English and Hungarian and then repeat them back in Hungarian, either by speaking, rhythmically speaking (similar to chanting), or singing the phrases. Those who sang scored higher on language tests than those in the other two groups, says lead researcher Karen M. Ludke, Ph.D., from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K.

And while the study was done on adults in a controlled environment, “The results do suggest that a ‘listen-and-repeat’ singing method was more effective for verbal memory of the foreign language phrases,” she says, “so it could be beneficial for children to listen to and sing songs in a new language, especially if they’re also learning the meaning of the song lyrics.”

How do you help your child learn other languages and understand different cultures? Let us know in the comments section, or tweet your thoughts to @KiwiMagazine.


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