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i__forget

Difficulty of Chinese songs

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i__forget

Is it just me or are Chinese songs incredibly difficult to understand? Even after 2 years of studying this language I still can't understand a single song! I can probably understand as much as I would if I listened to kpop having never studied Korean. 0% . Maybe 5% if you include some ridiculously common expressions like 没想到  or 爱你. This percentage is so low that it is not meaningful to listen to these songs for a language learning purpose. I find reading a newspaper much easier (with the help of a dictionary) and more enjoyable than listening to songs.

Anyone with me on this?

P.S. I just downloaded the app Xiami Music, it's great as it allows you to find the current hits as well as see their lyrics.

Waiting for your replies.

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Shelley

I am not surprised,  sometimes I can't understand the words in English songs.

 

I was always advised its not a good idea to try and use songs to practice listening skills because as my Chinese teacher put it "The tones go out the window".

 

There are usually subtitles if you want the meaning otherwise just enjoy it for the melody and mood.

 

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DavyJonesLocker

Wouldn't worry about that in the slightest. It's a bad marker for a Chinese level. Can you understand every English song,  I certainly don't.

 

I look at the associated lyrics on xiaomi music just mainly out of curiosity. 

 

These 3 are not bad and lovely songs

选择 叶倩文/林子祥

 

祈祷 王韵婵/王杰

 

故乡的云.费翔

 

Although I get told to turn them off as I'm told it's what old people listen to haha 

 

 

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i__forget

I think songs are an essential part of the culture (even modern pop), we should be able to understand them....

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Shelley
2 hours ago, i__forget said:

I think songs are an essential part of the culture (even modern pop), we should be able to understand them....

 

I don't see why you should be able understand them as they are being sung, or at least I wouldn't worry about it.

 

If you want to know what the words are, read the lyrics, there are usually translations and transcripts. then when you listen you have half a chance of figuring out what is going on.

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murrayjames

@i__forget

 

If you find it difficult to understand Chinese song lyrics when reading them, choose songs with simpler lyrics and work your way up. Start with songs for children. 《拔萝卜》 and 《小燕子》, for example. When you can understand these lyrics, graduate to teen pop/bubblegum pop music. These music genres are mostly love songs with simple lyrics targeted at teenage audiences. See if you can understand the lyrics to 《Rocket Girls》 by 火箭少女101, for example. When you can understand these lyrics, graduate to mainstream pop, then rock music, and so on, until you get to 戏曲. Then you win.

 

If you find it difficult to understand Chinese song lyrics when listening to them, but can understand the lyrics when reading them, you have nothing to worry about. Understanding song lyrics can be difficult even in one's own native language. Listen carefully and repeatedly to a small number of simple songs by one singer. Pay attention to the way the singer enunciates while singing. Guess what the singer is singing and check your guesses against the written lyrics. When you make mistakes, listen to the song again, with the written lyrics in front of you, focusing on how the singer sings the words you guessed wrong. Rinse, repeat.

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i__forget

I can't understand the lyrics by reading them either...

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Wurstmann

And that's why you shouldn't measure study time in years :D When you say two years some people will assume you did 10 hours a day, others that you only did one hour a week.

 

If you keep listening, reading, watching and learning new words, you will get there. 加油!

 

How about this song?

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Shelley

Ha that was fun @Wurstmann

I caught quite a lot once I got over my disbelief that it was that easy, the sub titles did help.

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Lu

I'm surprised you find Chinese songs that difficult. I was taught 月亮代表我的心 in my first year and while I misunderstood about half of it (for quite some time I thought it was 星星有一个问 'the stars have a question' - hey, it fit the theme) most of the lyrics made sense for me. Same for 对面的女孩. In my third year (2002-2003) I watched the music videos on Channel V a lot, found a lot of singers and songs I liked and I could make sense of much of that as well. Not everything, but enough.

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Wurstmann
16 minutes ago, Lu said:

对面的女孩

Right, it's easy too.

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Publius

Have a try at 王菲 Faye Wong:

《流年》

《矜持》

《人间》

《执迷不悔》

《红豆》

《棋子》

《将爱》

《因为爱情》

Unlike some Taiwanese singers I don't care to name, she usually has a clear enunciation. But then the vocabulary could be an obstacle.

I quite like her. Partly because she grew up in Beijing. And she's adorkable.

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Shelley

@Publius Off topic: But I am surprised that the word "adorkable" although probably a typo, does actually work as a portmanteau word meaning an adorable dork. Brilliant.

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murrayjames
6 minutes ago, Publius said:

Have a try at 王菲 Faye Wong

 

Seconded! Also check out her 《不留》. While not the easiest from a vocabulary standpoint, it’s probably her best song.

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