Folium: How Learning Languages and Music Are Linked via The Conversation

Folium: How Are Learning Languages and Music Linked?

Folium: How Are Learning Languages and Music Linked?


For some people, music is what makes them tick. They cannot live without music. And truthfully, no one can really live without music. There are patterns within music that our brain attaches onto in order to communicate. There are sounds and repetitions that our brain needs in order to make sense of what you are trying to convey in your speech. That means that the songs that we listen to matter!

“Language and music define us as humans.”Aniruddh Pattel

George Tsoulas explains: “The two are facets of a single cognitive system. This is all just in the mind, but needs to happen before language is “externalised” as speech or writing and music is expressed through performance or by the simple act of tapping your foot to a rhythm.” We as humans are more connected to music than we think. We don’t realize the effect music has on our brains and how we react in our speech according to the different music we listen to.

"We as humans are more connected to music than we think..."

“We as humans are more connected to music than we think…”

With recent studies that have been done by psychologists, the results are that those who have studied music are able to more easily learn a second language. Several of the studies reviewed in 2011 showed that mastery of more than one language as well as mastery of music involves higher levels of executive control. This means that being able to multitask can be possible! This information makes me feel better about the countless piano lessons I took when I was little!

There has been some evidence that language and music are processed identically in the brain. When we hear a new song, we tend to listen to the song first to determine if it’s good or not, and even if it’s not a good song but a catchy song, it will get stuck in our heads and leave us wanting more. That is because our brains are constantly craving a rhythm or beat to follow, and if that rhythm doesn’t come from speaking with someone, it will come through our memorization of lyrics and beats in a song.

“The strongest and boldest hypothesis is that, apart from their basic building blocks, language and music are in fact identical.” – George Tsoulas

In the final paragraph, George goes on to explain how “speech is only one way that language is expressed.” Our musical processing in the brain is magnetized as Researchers found that the brain responses showed significant interactions, strongly suggesting that linguistic and musical syntax overlap in the brain. What that basically means is that the arrangement of words to create a well-formed sentence in our brains, is more likely when there are musical connections with the words we used.

Many say that language is more attributed in the left hemisphere of the brain while music is on the right side of the brain. But now, researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found evidence that the processing of music and language do indeed depend on some of the same brain systems. I have concluded that it is beneficial to know music in order to make learning another language easier. That we could be exploring more parts of our brains that we didn’t even think were possible to explore!

Julie Martin
LEAF Editor & Contributor

(ed. The video is long. It is also EXCELLENT. Worth the watch. Do it.)