Language and music

Studies have found that there are connections between language and music. If you are musical you will probably also have a better ear for the sounds of language, which could help you learn to pronounce foreign languages. You might also be more in tune for the rhythms, intonation and stress patterns of language, which will certainly help when learning foreign languages. Being familiar with the structure of music may also help you to learn some grammatical aspects of language as well. The opposite might to be true as well – those with a talent for languages might be able to learn music better than others.

This report, for example, talks about an experiment that found that language learners were better at finding the boundaries between words when each syllable was given a different pitch as if they were being sung. It also mentions that the same areas of the brain are activated when listening to or making music and when speaking or listening to language.

Another report found that speakers of tonal languages such as Chinese or Thai are much more likely to have perfect pitch than speakers of non-tonal languages like English and French. Perfect pitch is the ability tp identify and produce individual notes accurately and is present in about 1 in 10,000 in the USA and Europe, but much more common in China and other countries where tonal languages are spoken. If you learn a tonal language it might help you to develop perfect pitch as well, especially if you start learning it before the age of 5.

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