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Songs can be a great resource when it comes to learning Polish. Once you have found a few Polish language songs which you like, you can look up each one on a Polish song lyrics website so that you can sing along and look up the words which you don’t know.
Where to find song lyrics
The easiest way to find lyrics for a particular song is by searching in your favourite search engine for the song name, artist and the word “tekst”. For example, if I wanted the words to find the lyrics to “Cisza” by Kamil Bednarek, I’d search for “cisza bednarek tekst”.
Some websites like Lyrics Translate even provide English translations for you. That makes it really easy to copy and paste the original lyrics and their translations into Anki.
The website that I tend to use is Tekstowo.pl. It’s a great resource to find correct lyrics for Polish songs. It also offers a translation option for many songs, although in my opinion, Lyrics Translate’s translations are of a (marginally) better quality.
Why you shouldn’t learn from songs alone
If you think that you’re going to learn to speak Polish solely this way, it’s not a good idea. Artists sometimes use slang or incorrect grammar in their songs which could therefore influence your speech. Also, as most songs tend to centre around certain themes such as love, money and partying, the chances are that you wouldn’t pick up on some of the vital vocabulary that you’d need to communicate on a daily basis. (Assuming that you don’t only want to talk about love, money and partying.)
Although lyrics shouldn’t constitute the bulk of your learning material, they’re free resources full of sentences that you can add to your Anki deck in order to learn a new song and boost your vocabulary at the same time. By learning songs, you also have to remember the tune, voice and rhythm of the song which strengthens your memory. Ever wonder why you were taught the alphabet using a song? Learning from music has added benefits: Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, memory expert Henry L. Roediger III, professor of psychology at the Memory Lab at Washington University in St. Louis, said that “Music…provides a rhythm, a rhyme and often, alliteration. All that structure is the key to unlocking information stored in the brain — with music acting as a cue.” A catchy melody encourages us to repeat it, which in turn leads us to commit it to our memory.
Of course, rather than inputting the song lyrics themselves to Anki, you could just add some sentences which contain the words in the song which you don’t know. That way, not only can you prevent your Anki deck from being overrun by love songs, but the grammar is also more likely to be correct.
The benefits of learning Polish song lyrics
Learning song lyrics is beneficial for a variety of reasons:
- You understand what the song means. By reading the song lyrics alongside their translations, you make the song comprehensible. That means you actually understand the song that you’re singing.
- You learn the song lyrics. That’s right – you stop singing misheard lyrics like my girlfriend does to EVERY SINGLE SONG. Instantly, the world will become a nicer, less irritating place.
- You expand your vocabulary. Sure, maybe you’re never going to use the phrase: “Szukaj u nas idealnych żon.” (“Search for ideal wives here./Search for ideal wives at ours.”), but every Polish song you listen to – even “My Słowianie” by Donatan & Cleo below – should contain a few new Polish words for you to learn.
Wouldn’t you like to know what they’re singing about in this video? Of course you would! Click here for an English translation of the lyrics and get learning! If you like music like this, you can get a copy of Donatan & Cleo’s album “Hiper Chimera” here:
Which song lyrics couldn’t you translate?[alert-announce]The first time I tried this, I made great progress by adding the words from a number of songs, but then deleted them all. Why? After coming across the “untranslatable” words “cząstkowiązałkom” and “polukruję” in “Wieliczka” by Hey. Which song lyrics couldn’t you translate? Tell me in a comment below and we can try and work on them together![/alert-announce]
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