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The Study Music Project: Christmas Edition

The Study Music Project: Xmas Music

The Study Music Project: Christmas Edition…

In Music for studying foreign languages I introduced you to Dennis Kuo’s Study Music Project. For those of you cramming for finals or in need of decent Xmas music, the talented Dennis has created four songs for your enjoyment. All free. But only for Xmas.

Three Kings
Save My Christmas
Hark! the Herald Angel Sing

Dennis Kuo: I just want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season! Thank you all for listening to my music. It is the best present I can ask for. Whether it be school or jobs, hope the Study Music Project can get us through our work as break approaches!

Once again, throughout now until the end of the season, the videos will be available on this channel! However, on January 2014, all the Christmas Study Music Project will BE REMOVED AND DISAPPEAR into thin air…so enjoy these tunes while they last!

For those of you who love the Christmas music, and is sad to see them go away when the season ends, come back to the Study Music Project channel on Christmas Day for a link to the *FREE* “CHRISTMAS MUSIC ALBUM” from Study Music Project! This is my way of saying Thank You for those who have been supporting me and my music.

Where to find Dennis Kuo:

Website: Study Music Project
YouTube: StudyMusicProject
Facebook: StudyMusicProject
Facebook: Dennis Kuo Music
Twitter: @denniskuo

Thanks Dennis! And a cheerful ho ho ho to one and all.

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Music for Studying Foreign Languages

Music for Studying Foreign Languages

Music for studying foreign languages…

Listening to Baroque music has long been touted as cure-all for studying languages. Some even go as far as to say that listening to Mozart improves the quality of your health and well-being. From my personal experience, both statements are reaching a fair bit.

It’s a no brainer that listening to Mozart won’t make you smarter. Because if that were true, I’d be a genius by now. And while I do enjoy Baroque music on occasion, a nootropics stack washed down by a hefty dose of caffeine seems to garner more immediate results. Or perhaps just different… I’ll have to get back to you on that.

I won’t go as far as to say that the Mozart Effect Doesn’t Work at all, because anything that helps my frame of mind while I study is a benefit. But I’ve yet to try listening to Stephen King!

BBC: Does listening to Mozart really boost your brainpower?… One study found that listening to Schubert was just as good, and so was hearing a passage read out aloud from a Stephen King novel. But only if you enjoyed it. So, perhaps enjoyment and engagement are key, rather than the exact notes you hear.

My interest in using music while studying languages is purely for the feel-good factor. It’s a simple concept really. If I’m in a good mood then I’ll study longer. And if I relate good moods with studying, then I’ll look forward to my next study session. The result? Studying for longer and more often will (hopefully) mean that I’ll be learning more.

Awhile back I became impatient with the Mozart Effect and Baroque music. After one or two songs I was done. I’ve long known that I needed to source new music to listen to while studying languages but it wasn’t until now that I made it a priority. So the need to come up with interesting posts for WLT does indeed have its perks. Well. Interesting to me, that is.

My updated music collection for studying languages…

Some of the music resources (below) have been on my iTunes for years but most are new. And even though jazz is on the list, I’m not 100% sure about longterm results. Have you ever listened to jazz when studying? Is it just ok? More than bearable? The bee’s knees?

What you will notice is that the majority of the songs have no lyrics. Some students don’t find lyrics distracting but I do. Enormously. And there’s a logical reason for this.

University of Phoenix: … listening to music with lyrics is an especially bad idea when studying languages, because lyrics affect the same parts of the brain that comprehend language.

“You think you’re focused on your Spanish lesson,” Axford says, “but your brain is also hearing — and is distracted by — the words to the song playing in the background.”

I also discovered that I can’t listen to instrumentals of songs (especially the Beatles) because I’m forever singing along. Distracting.

What I was chuffed to find is that there’s an actual Study Music Project, thanks to the hard work and talents of Dennis Kuo. If you are interested in cheering Dennis on or even offering suggestions, follow him on his Facebook page: Study Music Project.

iTunes: Study Music Project: Music for the Mind
iTunes: Study Music Project 2: Cram Session

Below is even more music purchased from iTunes. Some have been created especially with the student in mind. It’s early days but I can see how a music industry specifically for studying can only grow and improve.

iTunes: Exam Study Soft Jazz Music Collective
iTunes: 50 Revision Classics by Classic FM
iTunes: The Best of Baroque Music
iTunes: The Piano Guys

I only have one study playlist from YouTube to share with you. I guess that’s because when I’m studying, I don’t pay attention to visuals. There are sure to be many more so I’ll source them later (when I have more time … time … so rare these days).

YouTube playlist: BEST Study Music Playlist

I barely managed to dip into last.fm and 8tracks.com but the potential is there. But beware of the lyrics in songs. I found several study compilations where they’ve added soft background voices. Even at a soft level voices soon become distracting.

last.fm: Beautiful Minds – Best Study Music, Music for Concentration

8tracks.com: study time
8tracks.com: audible adderall xxxr
8tracks.com: EDM Study Buddy
8tracks.com: Study With Accompaniment II
iTunes iOS app: 8tracks Radio

And here’s a compilation I’ve been hooked on from the beginning of my search: The Journey: StellarDrone Schumann Mix.

The Schumann Resonances are electromagnetic waves that exist in the space between the surface of the Earth and the Ionosphere – 7.83, 14.3, 20.8, 27.3 and 33.8 Hz. They are said to be the heartbeat of mother earth.

When a person’s brain waves resonate with 7.83 Hz, it has been shown in scientific studies to be an essential requirement for physical and psychological health. Laboratory research has also shown that exposing living cells to the Schumann Resonance had the effect of increasing their immune protection.

Do I believe the hype? Um, honestly, I just like his music. If you are interested, there’s more at Stellardrone (name your price) or pay for Light Years and Echoes at iTunes. I did.

Note: I’ve left out other Brainwave/Binaural/Ambient type compilations on purpose. I do own a collection (most are on iOS apps). If you do use them with success, I’d be interested in any benefits you’ve found.

Even more study music resources to wade through…

classicfm: Music For Studying
Lifehacker: Ask the Readers: Best music for studying?
Lifehacker: Get Productive to Groove Salad
ExamTime: Music for Studying: 10 Tips to Pick the Best Study Music

So, what music do you listen to during your language studies? Bach, Beethoven, rock? Curious minds want to know!

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Book Review: Language is Music

Language is Music

Susanna Zaraysky and Language is Music…

I’ve read a number of books about learning languages. Some are made up of information that anyone can find on their own with a google or two. Others are written by thoughtful people sharing actual experiences of their own. Susanna is such a thoughtful person and Language is Music is such a book.

A child of Soviet immigrants struggling with English, Susanna Zaraysky grew up in California, then went on to study ten languages and speak seven languages fluently. Susanna’s language skills paved the way for her to live in nine countries and travel to fifty. Impressive.

In her new book, Language is Music, Susanna teaches you how to immerse yourself in your target language to make learning languages a part of your daily living.

While reading Dr. Oliver Sacks’ book Musicophilia, about the neurological aspects of music, I became inspired to write about how music helped me learn foreign languages.

After solving my personal mystery about why I was so dexterous in learning foreign languages, I developed fun tricks and lessons to enable others to be successful.

In Language is Music, I share these listening methods so that anyone can have fun learning any language. The book has over 70 tips and 90 free or low-cost Internet resources that teach enthusiasts how to use daily activities, such as watching T.V. or listening to music; conversation partners; and attendance at cultural events to become masterful speakers of any tongue.

Language is Music table of contents…

  1. Conductor’s Notes
    Tips on how to think of language as music.
  2. Listen, Listen, Listen
    Suggestions for listening to music in your target language.
  3. Concert Time
    Play your instrument by speaking.
  4. Radio Time
    Tune into a new frequency online or off.
  5. Television for Homework
    Learn to speak by watching TV.
  6. Films to Fluency
    Learn languages from the stars.
  7. Be Part of the Symphony
    Speak with others in your target language.
  8. Day-to-Day
    Exercises to ingrain the language into your brain with daily rhythms.

While Susanna shares many tips to help you get over your language learning hump, the tip below spoke to me personally.

Give up your ego. If you are a perfectionist, you need to take on an alter-ego of a fearless person who makes mistakes in your new language.

My father was a producer of musicals when I was growing up. I was a painfully shy young thing, but the inevitable happened – he put me in one of his plays. And then another.

I discovered that if I was playing a part, I was no longer the shy me. I was whoever I needed to be at that time.

So I can see how this very same trick can be used for language learners who are either shy or perfectionist, or both. As I have nothing to lose, I’ll certainly give it a try.

Susanna can be found at Create Your World Books. You can purchase Language is Music here.

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Top Thai Language Learning Resources

Top Thai Resources

Resources for (mostly) entry-level learners…

In the WLT Resources there’s a section dedicated to Learning Thai. Some resources are quite brilliant. Others are focused on smaller windows into Thai learning. Below are my personal favourites.

Thai Language Learning sites:

Learn the Thai language with the Bangkok based e-learning company, ITS4Knowledge (free and paid).

Mp3 audio and mp4 video files for learners of the Thai language (free).

Learning Thai the Easy Way
Home of Read With Manee, it’s also an extensive resource to learning all things Thai (free).

Learn Thai Podcast
Thai language lessons and online course by your kind hosts, Jo and Jay (free and paid).

Learn to Speak Like a Thai – SpokenThai.com (offline for now)
Video and audio clips of real situations and conversations to help you speak like a Thai (free).

SEAsite Thai Language and Culture Learning Resources
Supported by Northern Illinois University and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, SEAsite offers a comprehensive resource for learning the Thai language (free).

slice-of-thai.com: Thai Language
slice-of-thai.com has a generous offer of Thai learning aids: Thai consonant / vowel flash cards, consonant shape learning aid, voice viewer, the five tones of Thai, the consonant sounds of Thai, the vowel sounds of Thai, syllable stress, pronunciation guide systems of Thai, free Thai fonts, resources and websites for learning Thai (free).

Thai lessons for beginners to advanced students living, working, or retired in Thailand (free).

Online Course Materials:

FSI Thai Basic Course
Language courses developed by the Foreign Service Institute. Mp3 and ebook downloads (free).

The Fundamentals of the Thai Language
Text book (with sound) for English speakers to learn how to speak, read and write Thai. Fifth Edition version, by Stuart Campbell and Chuan Shaweevongs (free).

Thai Language Textbook for Foreigners
Textbook by the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) in cooperation with Chiang Mai University. Listening and speaking, reading and writing (free).

Spoken Thai
Adapted from the book of the same name, by Mary R. Haas and Heng R. Subhanka.

Thai Language Courses (with Cd’s):

Benjawan Poomsan Becker Series from Paiboon Publishing: Book, CD’s (American / Thai speakers) and online resources. Speak, listen, read and write the Thai language – Thai For Beginners, Thai for Intermediate Learners, Thai for Advanced Readers, Improving Your Thai Pronunciation, Speak Like a Thai – vol 1 and 2, Practical Thai Conversation 1 and 2 and all be purchased online at Paiboon Publishing.

Book and CD’s (British / Thai speakers). Listen, understand and speak the Thai language.

CD’s only (American / Thai speakers). No textbooks. Written exercises and drills to hear, learn, and speak the Thai language. Used by the FBI, CIA, and business professionals.

Shortcut for Speaking Thai
An excellent deal, it comes with a book and three CD’s.

Teach Yourself Complete Thai
Book and CD’s (British / Thai speakers). Listen, read, write, practice, speak. By David Smyth, author of Thai: An Essential Grammar.

Thai Learning Courses (books only):

AUA Language Centre
Books only. The course is dated and dry, but useful if you can slug it out. Learning with a trained AUA teacher is advised. Not minding their transliteration method, a must.

Thai Reference Books:

Thai: An Essential Grammar also on Kindle.
Guide to the basic structures of the Thai language. Useful for both students and independent learners.

Thai-English English-Thai Dictionary for Non-Thai Speakers
Brought to us by the prolific Benjawan Poomsan Becker.

Thai Reference Grammar
Information on the advanced sentence structure of the Thai language. Written for students and teachers. Written by James Higbie, who also wrote my favourite Thai course, Essential Thai.

Online Thai – English Dictionaries:

English – Thai Dictionary OnLine!
An additional plus is their Thai Dictionary forum (no longer active).

English-Thai, Japanese-Thai, German-Thai, French-Thai Dictionary Service. Tip: Be sure to switch to English, as well as check out their downloads page to access their toolbars and more.

SEAlang Library Thai Dictionary
Based on the Mary Haas Thai Dictionary Project.

Thai-language.com Dictionary
Over 36698 Thai words and phrases with English definitions, and 13140 audio clips.

Thai to English dictionary & transliteration
Also known as T2E. This is the online dictionary I use for transliteration on WLT.

Books on Learning Languages:

How to Learn Any Language
Interesting concept (review in the works…)

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast
You can read my review on WLT here.

Language Learning Forums:

Serious language forum for polyglots and polyglot hopefuls.

Learning Thai: Paknam Web Thailand Forums
Extensive resources for learning the Thai language.

Thai-language.com forum
Forum discussions include learning Thai, Thai language learning books and courses, Thai culture and travel, and more.

Thai Visa Thai Language Forum
A wide-ranging and helpful forum where members range from beginners to academics.

Thai Language Blogs:

Behind the Curtain – Stuart Jay Raj
Original home of Stuart Jay Raj’s ‘Cracking Thai Fundamentals’. Stu now has stujay.com (check it out).

Learn Thai from a White Guy
Excellent posts to get you galvanized into learning the Thai language. The only thing missing is sound (which reminds me…)

Thai 101
One of the top Thai language blogs, with educational posts on Thai language, history and culture.

Thai Language Tricks
Excellent blog, but stalled in April with All Hell broke loose.

Sanook Lei!
Hilarious TV commercials from Thailand (a great way to listen to Thai).

Language Learning Blogs:

All Japanese All The Time Dot Com
Insert Thai for Japanese and you are home free with 10,000 sentences and SRS (my new toy).

Language Geek
A student studying languages, posting his opinions and experiences as he goes.

Multilingua.info Presents Confessions of a Language Addict
Constant niggles to keep you excited about learning a new language.

Learning the Thai Alphabet:

60 Minutes to Learn the Thai Alphabet
Online flash-style book (PC). A quick jump-start into learning the Thai Alphabet.

Reading Thai is Fun
Soft cover book with an easy to use method for learning to read and write in Thai.

Learning the Thai Language Through Music:

Top 10 Thai Music Charts
Many of the Thai songs have been translated into English.

Thai – English Children’s Books:

Nanmee Books
Books with combo English and Thai.


Getting Started with Shadowing
The basics of shadowing. Includes further links for more.

Foreign Language Study
The site of Alexander Arguelles, polyglot. Excellent tips on how to learning a foreign language by using the shadowing method.

10000 Sentences Resources:

10,000 Sentences

10,000 Sentences
Input Before Output.

10,000 Sentences
Learn Any Language.

10,000 Sentences
Answers To Questions.

SRS – Spaced Repetition System:

What is an SRS? 1
Khatzumoto shows the way with SRS.

What is an SRS? 2
Khatzumoto goes into more SRS detail.

SRS Products:

A program designed to help you remember words and phrases (Mac, Windows, Linux and Debian).

Easy-to-use vocabulary trainer (Mac).

A learning method that makes it possible to learn fast and retain memories for years (Windows).

The Mnemosyne Project
A flash-card program to help you memorise question/answer pairs, but with an important twist: it uses a sophisticated algorithm to schedule the best time for a card to come up for review (Mac, Linux and Windows).

If you have favourite language learning resources, please feel free to contact me via WLT’s contact form, or leave a note in the comments.

Note: This post will be edited.
Last edit: 10 Sept 2014

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