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  1. HaraKiriBlade's Avatar
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      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Korean
      • Home Country:
      • South Korea
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      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Apr 2005
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    #1

    Question to any native speakers of English

    My question is this: can you sing along just about any song played on the radio without looking at the lyrics? I mean, can you understand (or rather, catch) every word in those songs without looking at the lyrics? I'm not talking about heavy metal or rap music whose lyrics tend to be harder to catch; I'm talking about everyday radio songs.

    It's just that my ESL teacher gave us an in-class assignment in which we had to listen to several songs and transcribe their lyrics, and I did very poorly on it. I just want to know whether nativer speakers of English would breeze through such assignments; if affirmative, I know that is the level I need to work toward. If negative, I know i'm not alone.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: May 2005
    • Posts: 2,047
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    #2

    Re: Question to any native speakers of English

    I'm not sure what an everyday song would be. Most Country and Western songs that I've heard were fairly easy to understand. Rock and Roll songs range from easy to understand to unintelligible, with most leaning toward very hard to understand. Rap songs are, by their nature, easy to understand if they don't rely too heavily on dialect and idiom.

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2006
    • Posts: 4,142
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    #3

    Re: Question to any native speakers of English

    It depends upon the singer. I can't figure out any of Elton John's songs without a lyric sheet. (I'm talking about his mid-to-late 70s material, like "Benny and the Jets.") I have a friend who has a knack for easily understanding the words and being able to sing along to almost any song on the radio after just a few listens.

    If song lyrics were that easy to understand, we wouldn't have many web sites devoted to Mondegreens.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 44,222
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    #4

    Re: Question to any native speakers of English

    I read that a lawsuit against Public Image Limited for their song Analisa was thrown out of court because no one could understand what he was singing. I do hope it's true.

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