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7 Songs to Listen for Better English Articulation

Songs are an excellent resource for language learning, especially if you want to improve pronunciation.

Benefits are many:

  • First, you practice listening and learn to understand native speakers.
  • Second, you practice writing when taking lyrics to grammatical/lexical pieces and learn unknown words from them.
  • Finally, you practice speaking when singing aloud, as well as reading when checking the lyrics.

What?

No one said you would sing? Sorry but language learning through songs works this way.

Here go seven songs that will help to polish up your English pronunciation. Check the lyrics for unknown words, translate them to understand what’s there in the song, listen carefully how a singer pronounces core sounds to get the difference in tone, and practice them aloud.

 

1) Beyonce — Halo

This one will help to practice pronouncing the /u/ letter. Thus, you don’t read it in “built”; and it doesn’t follow the rules of pronunciation when you need to say “put”.

 

Also, the lyrics have many words with the /gh/ combination, aphonic in most cases. Don’t be afraid of plagiazing those sounds for more fluent articulation.

 

Lyrics

 

Remember those walls I built?

Well, baby, they are tumbling down.

And they didn’t even put up a fight.

They didn’t even make a sound.

I found a way to let you in.

But I never really had a doubt.

Standing in the light of your halo,

I got my angel now.

 

It’s like I’ve been awakened.

Every rule I had, you break it.

It’s the risk that I’m taking.

I ain’t never gonna shut you out!

Everywhere I’m looking now,

I’m surrounded by your embrace.

Baby, I can see your halo.

You know you’re my saving grace.

You’re everything I need and more.

It’s written all over your face.

Baby, I can feel your halo.

Pray it won’t fade away.

I can feel your halo.

Halo, oh, oh.

 

Hit me like a ray of sun

Burning through my darkest night.

You’re the only one that I want.

Think I’m addicted to your light.

I swore I’d never fall again

But this doesn’t even feel like falling.

Gravity can’t forget

To pull me back to the ground again.

 

2) Bruno Mars — The Way You Are

 

Listen to this song to practice pronouncing /ing/, /r/, and /ai/. Also, improve the articulation of the “laugh” word.

 

Lyrics

Oh, her eyes, her eyes

Make the stars look like they’re not shining.

Her hair, her hair

Falls perfectly without her trying.

She’s so beautiful.

And I tell her every day, yeah.

 

I know, I know

When I compliment her, she won’t believe me.

And it’s so, it’s so

Sad to think that she don’t see what I see.

But every time she asks me ‘Do I look okay?’,

I say…

 

When I see your face,

There’s not a thing that I would change,

‘Cause you’re amazing

Just the way you are.

And when you smile,

The whole world stops and stares for a while,

‘Cause, girl, you’re amazing

Just the way you are.

 

Her lips, her lips,

I could kiss them all day if she’d let me.

Her laugh, her laugh,

She hates but I think it’s so sexy.

She’s so beautiful.

And I tell her every day.

 

Oh, you know, you know, you know

I’d never ask you to change.

If perfect’s what you’re searching for,

Then just stay the same.

So don’t even bother asking if you look okay,

‘Cause you know I’ll say…

 

3) Christina Aguilera — Beautiful

 

This song helps to hear the difference between /oo/ and /o/, learn /ng/ pronouncing, and practice /w/ variations.

Lyrics

Don’t look at me.

Every day is so wonderful

And suddenly, it’s hard to breathe.

Now and then, I get insecure

From all the fame, I’m so ashamed.

 

I am beautiful, no matter what they say.

Words can’t bring me down.

I am beautiful in every single way.

Yes, words can’t bring me down.

So don’t you bring me down today.

 

To all your friends, you’re delirious.

So consumed in all your doom,

Trying hard to fill the emptiness.

The piece is gone

And the puzzle undone.

That’s the way it is.

 

You are beautiful, no matter what they say.

Words won’t bring you down.

You are beautiful in every single way.

Yes, words won’t bring you down.

Don’t you bring me down today.

 

No matter what we do,

No matter what they say,

We’re the song inside the tune

Full of beautiful mistakes.

 

4) Eminem — Stan

 

Oh, yeah… This one is challenging but worth trying. The song is full of letters and vowels combinations, difficult for non-speakers to master. Rhyming makes it more effective to remember.

 

Just try it, step by step. Who could teach you articulation better than Eminem, after all?

 

Lyrics

 

My tea’s gone cold, I’m wondering why I got out of bed at all

The morning rain clouds up my window and I can’t see at all

And even if I could it’d all be gray, but your picture on my wall

It reminds me that it’s not so bad, it’s not so bad

 

Dear Slim, I wrote you but you still ain’t callin’

I left my cell, my pager, and my home phone at the bottom

I sent two letters back in Autumn, you must not have got them

There probably was a problem at the post office or somethin’

Sometimes I scribble addresses too sloppy when I jot ’em

But anyway, f*ck it, what’s been up man? How’s your daughter?

My girlfriend’s pregnant too, I’m ’bout to be a father!

If I have a daughter, guess what I’m gonna call her? I’m gonna name her Bonnie

I read about your uncle Ronnie too, I’m sorry

 

I had a friend who killed himself over some bitch that didn’t want them

I know you probably hear this every day, but I’m your biggest fan!

I even got the underground shit that you did with Skam

I got a room full of your posters and your pictures man

I like the shit you did with Ruckus too, that shit was bad

Anyway, I hope you get this man

hit me back, just to chat, truly yours, this is your biggest fan…this is Stan

 

5) Coldplay — The Speed of Sound

 

Learn and sing this song to practice /i/ variations, the difference between /s/ and /z/, and stresses in words with the prefix /under/.

 

 

Lyrics

 

How long before I get in

Before it starts before I begin?

How long before you decide

Before I know what it feels like?

Where to, where do I go?

If you never try then you’ll never know

How long do I have to climb

Up on the side of this mountain of mine?

 

Look up, I look up at night

Planets are moving at the speed of light

Climb up, up in the trees

Every chance that you get is a chance you seize

How long am I gonna stand

With my head stuck under the sand?

I’ll start before I can stop

Or before I see things the right way up

 

All that noise and all that sound

All those places I got found

And birds go flying at the speed of sound

To show you how it all began

Birds came flying from the underground

If you could see it then you’d understand

 

Ideas that you’ll never find

All the inventors could never design

The buildings that you put up

Japan and China all lit up

A sign that I couldn’t read

Or a light that I couldn’t see

Some things you have to believe

Others are puzzles puzzling me

 

6) Aretha Franklin — I Say a Little Prayer

 

This song is for you to remember /ai/ and /ea/ pronouncing. Numerous variations with /a/ are here to practice, too.

 

Lyrics

 

From the moment I wake up,

Before I put on my make-up,

I say a little prayer for you.

While combing my hair now,

And wondering what dress to wear now,

I say a little prayer for you.

 

Forever and ever, you’ll stay in my heart

And I will love you.

Forever and ever, we never will part.

Oh, how I love you.

Together, forever, that’s how it must be.

To live without you

Would only mean heartbreak for me.

 

I run for the bus, dear,

While riding I think of us, dear,

I say a little prayer for you.

At work I just take time

And all through my coffee-break time,

I say a little prayer for you.

 

7) Adele — One and Only

 

Practice the difference between /ch/ and /c/ pronunciation. Remember how the “know” sounds, the /o/ variations for different letter combinations, and sounds of /y/ in words endings.

 

Lyrics

You’ve been on my mind.

I grow fonder every day,

Lose myself in time,

Just thinking of your face.

God only knows

Why it’s taken me so long

To let my doubts go.

You’re the only one that I want.

 

I don’t know why I’m scared,

I’ve been here before.

Every feeling, every word,

I’ve imagined it all.

You’ll never know if you never try

To forgive your past and simply be mine.

 

I dare you to let me be your, your one and only.

Promise I’m worthy to hold in your arms.

So come on and give me a chance

To prove that I’m the one who can

Walk that mile until the end starts.

 

If I’ve been on your mind,

You hang on every word I say,

You lose yourself in time at the mention of my name.

Will I ever know how it feels to hold you close?

And have you tell me whichever road I choose, you’ll go?

 

Before you start singing…

 

Music (melody) is a kind of anchor for words in your brain, and that is why songs make new lexical items more memorable. It means that listening to songs in target languages, you can learn new words easier.

 

But it’s not so easy to integrate those words and expressions from songs lyrics into conversation with natives because a language from songs doesn’t sound natural in some cases.

So, if you want to re-articulate language from songs in everyday conversation, here go strategies from Olly Richards, who speaks eight languages, to listen and remember:

  • Identify words from the song that you want to learn and use.
  • Keep a list of those words next to you during language lessons.
  • Use those words for writing.

Practice regularly, and you’ll reach progress in English articulation soon. Speaking in a foreign language is challenging, it requires hard work and dedication, as well as time; so, don’t postpone it for tomorrow. Especially when you have such a great instrument as songs to get wants and needs met.

 

About the author:

Lesley Vos is a private teacher of the French language and a professional web writer, contributing to publications on education, marketing, and self-development. Read Lesley’s works on Twitter.

 

PS. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System

 

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Starc

    Hello Robby plz answer .
    Sentence correction
    1)My friend has invited me for this Sunday.