Foreign Music Can Still be Understood


K-pop group performs at Akaraka, photographed by Madison Mestas

In 2012, the trend known as Gangnam Style reached overseas and became very popular in countries like the U.S. Australia, and Russia.

But what many people fail to realize is that the song is made by a Korean artist known as Psy, and the song itself is entirely Korean, managing to break many records that no other Korean artist was able to approach. In that time it became a staple to pop culture, even being featured on video games Just Dance 2015 and 2016.

When the song was released, many kids and adults sang along, learning the Korean words phonetically along the way, meaning they used the sounds they heard and put them together to sing along. This same concept goes for any language, listening to a foreign song will often help with pronunciation. With every repetition of the chorus, listeners begin to piece together the basic meaning of the song.

“I was just starting to learn Arabic, and so I made a playlist of Arabic songs and learned to sing along,” said senior June Zrichuk. “The hardest word for me was sulhufah, which means turtle,”

Listening to foreign music does not mean you have to learn the language, in fact, many Air Academy students will listen to foreign music purely for entertainment, regardless of whether or not they understand the lyrics. To add on, music is a universal experience, everyone has that one song that makes them want to get up and dance, and for some, that song happens to be in a different language.

“I listen to K-Pop, and I know it gets a bad reputation, but the artists are so genuine about their music and just love to perform. They also love their fans immensely, because without fans artists are left with almost nothing,” said junior Madison Mestas.

Foreign music can expose you to more cultures and give a broader understanding of customs and social ideals in other countries. The music can broaden your understanding of different cultures and expose many uncommon social ideals that are out of the ordinary for some, and normal for others.

“My mom is Japanese, and so she wanted our family to visit Japan. So I started listening to Japanese music and learned many things just by watching them, both socially and linguistically,” said junior Rishita Sinha.

There are many reasons to listen to foreign music and many benefits. And although people tend to dismiss music in languages other than their own there is no harm in giving it a try, especially if the song has broken many records and is constantly played on the radio. Maybe the song is worth a listen.