Many people learn nihongo with songs, you can also learn without getting confused. From easy songs to more complicated ones. Like the United States and Brazil, Japan is filled with thousands of bands and singers (babymetal, Dir En Gray, L'Arc-en-Ciel, The GazettE, X Japan, Buck Tick, etc.)
With all these bands and songs, there is still a big question: How to use songs to learn Japanese?
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How to study with songs
My friend, simple advice: Read, Listen, Write and even Sing! It may seem obvious, but many people don't like to sing, out of shame, but don't worry about it. Following these steps you will not only absorb the language, but the culture, the way of speaking and even some legends and stories.
Another thing you should do is break up the songs as we do in some articles on the site. But how can I do this correctly?
How can I translate the lyrics correctly? – One of the big problems with translating songs from Japanese is that the grammar is totally different, and words have multiple meanings and cannot be translated literally.
The first thing you should do is try to find a translation of the song, with them in hand try to do the work manually, taking word by word of each phrase of the song and discovering its meaning. You can use the Jisho and Google images to know the real meaning of the word. You can find the Japanese lyrics by searching for the song name in Japanese + 歌詞 (kashi).
With the translation of each word, we recommend studying the entire sentence and not just word by word. Do as we do in our articles from breaking up songs. Then you can play those phrases and words you discovered in a spaced memorization app like anki.
putting into practice
Do you think breaking songs down completely is difficult? No need to break down the entire song, you can just focus on important words and sentences.
Let's take one more example, look how many interesting words we find in the song DOKI DOKI MORNING from the band Babymetal.
If you were able to hear, or read the lyrics, you would have noticed many words repeating themselves, and easy to spot. Look at the words I detected:
Maegami- 前髪 in English means FRINGE
Ittoushou- 等賞 in English means FIRST PRIZE or FIRST PLACE
Sugoi- すごい in English means AMAZING WOW,etc.
Ima Nanji- 今何時? in English it means WHAT TIME IS IT NOW? (formal is like this, IMANANJIDESUKA?)
Shiranai- しらない in English means I DON'T KNOW or simply I DON'T KNOW
Kirai- きらい in English ACT OF HATING (TO HATE)
Ohayou- おはよう in English means HELLO GOOD (formal is, Ohayougozaimasu).
Cho Mate means, WAIT(formal the correct is like this, Chotto Mate kudasai or Chotto Mate).
One more song of theirs that you learn quickly, I'll tell you some lyrics, now: Gimme Chocolate.
Shinpai- しんぱい in English means WORRY
Yada- やだ a slang term for (NO WAY or I DON'T WANT)
Saikin- さいきん means RECENTLY/LATELY
Hayaku- はやく means FAST
You can do the same, choose a song and try to extract sentences and vocabularies using the lyrics and audio. Keep an eye on formal and informal use to know what you can wear for business or for friends. And avoid picking up phrases and sentences that you still don't fully understand.
This article was written by our contributor Leonardo Sadao.