As usual I may be completely off the mark on this, but music in general — and hiphop/pop music in particular — feels almost universally underrated (and even discounted) as a language acquisition tool. At best, in most cases, music is merely tolerated, considered a “nice supplement”, like an iron pill, not real food.
A lot of people would get in my face, as it were, to explain why music was (is?) valuable, why it would work. But as with many AJATT things, I can’t explain why. I just bombard myself with Japanese beyond my body’s ability to recover from it. Use ’em all, kill ’em all, let God sort them out type logic.
AJATT was once criticized on a certain yellow forum for (among other things) being overkill. The critics are right. It is overkill. It’s like scrubbing with surgical soap to touch your friend’s baby (where my OCD people at?). But it works, which is more than you can say for most publicized methods/toolsets that preceeded it.
I don’t know why music works. I suck at explaining things. I’m not an explainer (explicator?). I’m not good with the words. I’m a tinkerer. I wear sweatpants to nice restaurants and talk to myself in public…loudly. I just try stuff and keep what works. I’m not even good with the tinkering, but I do it. I am stupid enough to actually try ideas. I am that idiot who read that book and did the thing the author suggested.
I use songs considerably more than I let on and use movies/cartoons slightly (only slightly) less than I let on. Earlier in AJATT (website) history, when the validity of songs/music was called into question, I didn’t push the issue because it was just an argument I didn’t want to get into, that I couldn’t get into…
…All of which makes me sound like a whiny victim, which is accurate…but beside the point. My point is that it was brought to my attention that I use music a whole lot but talk (well, write) about it a whole little. I only give it passing mentions. But a lot of my SRS cards are either lyrics or were inspired by words found in lyrics. A lot of my exposure time is to music. Songs I like. Over and over again. These are facts.
That movies have linguistic/pedagogical value seems to be obvious to most people. Songs, on the other hand, seem to require faith. But songs are just poetry 1, and no one would argue that poetry has no pedagogical (is that even the right word?) value — especially non-rhyming confessional poetry by suicidal, upper-middle-class women with too many consonant clusters in their names and, no, I am not bitter as a Tea Party member that Sylvia Plath’s work was summarily rammed down my throat at skewl. Nuh-uh.
People kill themselves trying to read abstruse, derivative, boring haikus, but suggest that they bust out a rap song and suddenly it’s the end of the world. They’re really the same thing. Really good music, especially hiphop, is like a pretty picture of an already pretty girl taken at a flattering angle — it seems to have the ability to make you fall in love with a language, its sounds, its rhythm, its possibilities.
If you stop caring about being right and even knowing why, maybe you can have fun and learn something, too. Do like the immigrants and ethnic minorities do: turn up that hiphop 🙂 .
Parting shot: Examples of highly educational ( 😛 ) song lyrics. It is no laughing matter to be able to read these words, and these songs, with their awesome beats and rhymes, make learning how to read them words that much faster and easier:
- K DUB SHINE 頭脳旅行 LYRICS 가사,歌詞 “今自然に自分の興味に より呼び起こされてく 好奇心高める 情報處理能力 データ元に分析 高速脳全體に均等に浸透 少し時間差で屆く心臓つぎ思考回路の核に到達 前より広角 開く網膜” j.mp/K6L7qF
- 時代特急 / Flick – YouTube j.mp/KzT30p “AY-YO! 未來永劫 新たに命の火 燈す子供達には PEACE を願いたくし描いてる絵 スタンガン、暴力ない世界へ戀焦がれたら晴れた日には 見ろ お前と並んで見る陽は空 紅く 染めて 優しく 西の山深く沈んでくどうぞ、これからもよろしく 末永く二人仲良くと戀をした男が優しく 差し出す手に女うなずく”
- Indeed, it’s interesting to note that poetry seems to have dominated much of literature in much of the word for most of history; if I am not mistaken, the dominance of prose is a relatively recent phenomenon…someone please correct me if I’m wrong; I never bother to fact-check any of these claims! 😛 ↩