Do you think it’s a little boring to learn Chinese if we talk about only grammar? How about learning Chinese by singing Chinese pop songs? It sounds interesting, doesn’t it? However there are something you should know before learning Chinese by singing.
First of all, you can’t learn the Chinese tones from singing. The reason is that the tones of Chinese don’t necessarily match the melody of a song. So you will lose the tonal part of the lyrics when you sing a Chinese song.
Besides, the singer will probably change his pronunciation slightly in order to match the melody. So you might be misled by the singer and learned the wrong pronunciation.
There is one more thing that you should know. Sometimes the grammar of a Chinese song is not the standard one. Due to the length of a song, the number of words used in a song is limited. Therefore the lyricist must change the grammar to comply with the restriction of the length. Even he will write the lyrics in classical Chinese because of the relatively simple classical Chinese grammar.
Despite these defects mentioned above, there are still some advantages for you from learning Chinese by singing. For example, you can increase your vocabulary in such a way. And you can also remember these words more easily. Furthermore you will know how to use these words properly because these songs offer you a context for practice.
Now you know the pros and cons of learning Chinese by singing. I want to recommend several songs to help you learn Chinese.
1.月亮代表我的心 [yuèliàng dàibiǎo wǒ de xīn] The moon represents my heart / Singer: Teresa Teng 鄧麗君 (Taiwan)
Teresa Teng is regarded as an icon of Chinese pop music. Due to her popularity, this simple ballad is the most popular Chinese song ever. This song is very easy to learn and the pronunciation of Teng is very clear. So it’s usually the first song you will know after you learn Chinese.
2.對面的女孩看過來 [duìmiàn de nǚhái kàn guòlái] Look over here, girl / Singer: Richie Jen 任賢齊 (Taiwan)
It’s another popular and easy song for you. You will learn several Chinese direction words from this song,as well as the usage of the direction words with verbs.
3.對不起我的中文不好 [duìbuqǐ wǒ de zhōngwén bù hǎo] Sorry, my Chinese is not so good / Singer: Transition 前進樂團 (UK)
“Transition” is a band from UK. When the members of the band learned Chinese in Taiwan, they released this song to record their learning situation. They used several basic Chinese phrases like 對不起(sorry) [duìbuqǐ] and 你好嗎(How are you?) [nǐ hǎo mā] in this song. It’s quite useful for beginners.
4. 哭了 [kū le] I have cried / Singer: Mavis Fan 范曉萱 (Taiwan)
This song is very interesting, with a lot of “了”. The word “了” is very important in Chinese and often mistaken for an affix of past tense. If you are learning the word “了”, this song provides you a good practice.
5. 小幸運 [xiǎo xìnyùn] A little happiness / Singer: Hebe 田馥甄 (Taiwan)
This song is the theme song for the popular Taiwanese film “Our Time” (我的少女時代 [wǒ de shàonǚ shídài]) . This movie received good response in many countries so many non-Chinese audiences know this song. The grammar is not hard and you can also learn some new words from this song.