Research Blog 4: English In Music

One reason English has become so popular as a global language in music is due to the creation of the internet. In the times before the internet, international music was harder to come by and you couldn’t access any song you wanted instantaneously with just a click of a finger. Nowadays, it is very easy to discover and listen to music from other countries. Many artists are popular to youth, and since teenagers and young adults use the internet, it is easier to become famous. To reach these youth, you must be accessible and create music they want to hear.

As English becomes a more widely spoken language, it is currently spoken on every continent and is one of the most popular second languages to learn, it makes sense that people are trying every method they can to learn English. Singing along to songs is one of the best ways to learn a language, as it helps you with pronunciation and allows you to feel more connected to the culture behind the song. For instance, if non-English speaking people sing along to songs in English, it helps them with their learning and to better understand American culture and cultural references.

While language learning could be one part of why so many artists are choosing to sing in English, it is also likely that they just want to produce songs that will become popular all around the world. Since English is a global language, it would make sense for them to sing in English, as it is what most of the youth today want. America has always been a country of inspiration for others, so American music has been idolized to a certain extent, which is another reason artists may choose English, so they can be more American. The American music industry has always been strong, yet many countries do not have prominent music industries, so it is easier to imitate the mainstream and sing songs in English like everyone else instead of in your native language.

Links to Music as a Tool for Learning:

“Using Music to Support the Literacy Development of Young English Language Learners” by Kelli R. Paquette and Sue A. Rieg, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

“Structured English Immersion (SEI) in the Music Classroom: Music Instruction for Crossing Borders” By: Cooper, Shelly, Grimm-Anderson, Samantha, General Music Today, 10483713, Winter2007, Vol. 20, Issue 2

“Global Englishes, Rip Slyme, and performativity.” by Alastair Pennycook. University of Technology, Sydney Australia.

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