What Red Hot Chili Peppers have got to do with learning verbs

Red Hot Chili Peppers

I still remember the days when learning English verbs was a never ending repetition of rules and, of course, copious amounts of exceptions. Don’t you find the same when trying to learn Italian verbs or any verb for that matter?

If you have never learnt any Italian, suffice to say that verbs can be compared to your fridge when your teenage kids still live with you: you pack it to the brim, only to see a day later that it’s like you haven't shopped for months. Depressing, frustrating and, mostly, inexplicable!

So how do you get through this?

It was a title of a song that nailed English verbs for me. That afternoon I could have lied by Red Hot Chili Peppers was playing when, all of a sudden, the answer was in the title.

That little construction that helps you talk about what you should or could or would have done was clear as the sun. All that was left to do was singing it.

From that day, I was able to say things like:

“I would have bought more grocery, but I found a handbag on sale”   

“I could have paid the bill, but that handbag was too beautiful”

“I should have cooked dinner, but that handbag took me out ... with the girls!”

New sentences were now at my fingertips and I didn’t really have to think about it much. So I started using songs to learn not only verbs, but also expressions and vocabulary. 

Can you really use songs to learn a language?

Yes and I highly recommend it. Here are 3 reasons why incorporating songs in your learning Italian can make it really easy for you to see progress:

  1. You don’t have to think: the song will tell you what you are learning for the day. Free to explore words you have never seen before or used before, a song can introduce you to new vocabulary and expressions that are there to be tasted and explored.

  2. Songs make you happy, relaxed, stress-free: a perfect mind set for learning and retaining information. Plus, you will associate learning with sensations of pleasure, feeling good and fun. Who wouldn’t want that?

  3. Speed and pronunciation. No doubt when you try to catch up with the singer, you just go go go, until the end. You don’t have much time to stop or pause. Words will just come out of your mouth... in Italian! My best teachers for drilling speed and pronunciation will remain the one and only The Cure.

Many more are the reasons for adding songs to your Italian arsenal, ranging from repetition in the car, to discovering hidden cultural elements, to finding new ways of saying things.

You get the idea. But if still in doubt, have a go with this video by Eros Ramazzotti, a very prolific singer and writer. What I like about him is that he pronounces his words really well when he sings, so it is perfect for learners of the Italian language. 

Il Tempo non sente ragione

You could use this song to learn and reinforce the important expression c’e` (there is). Plus this video has lyrics changing as you sing along, which is a nice bonus.

Stay tuned because in the next weeks I’ll introduce you to more Italian artists as well as tips on how to use songs to learn Italian.

And to finish this off, I'm leaving you with a video dedicated to my teachers, The Cure, with their mouth filling Disintegration.

What Italian songs do you know?


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