9 ways that poems can help you learn English!
Listening to poems is a great way to improve your English. They can help you perfect your pronunciation, increase your range of vocabulary and assist with your spoken English. But that’s not all!
Learning English by listening to poems is easy. Just load up your MP3 player with your favourite poems and press play. And you can listen to them whenever and wherever you want, so you can learn English while you’re walking, driving, doing sport or relaxing on the sofa.
While you’re listening to a poem, you’re receiving language in the form of lots of useful English words, expressions, phrases and sentences. So, you’re increasing your range of vocabulary and learning English the natural way – without having to study or do exercises.
Poems are great for expanding your range of vocabulary. A lot of poems are based on a particular topic. So, you’ll learn lots of words around a theme, which is a good way of organising your learning. Plus, it makes remembering words a lot easier.
Poems can give you a new perspective on life, allowing you to see things from a different angle. As William Butler Yeats (an Irish poet – 1865-1939) once said, “[Poetry] is blood, imagination, intellect running together… It bids us to touch and taste and hear and see the world, and shrink from all that is of the brain only.”
5 Colourful language
Poets often use colourful language such as metaphor, imagery and symbolism to describe things. Through poems, you’ll also learn about the flexibility of English as poets often break standard grammar and punctuation “rules”.
Poems are great for your general listening skills. While you’re listening to poems, you’re getting used to the sounds in English. More importantly, you can use poems to practise listening for gist – listening for a general understanding of something, without trying to understand every single word.
Poems can teach you a lot about culture as the topics are often to do with traditions or historical events. This will help you learn about different countries and their customs, as well as important events from the past.
Poems are great for your pronunciation. There’s often a repetition of sounds through rhyming words. This will help you get used to the different sounds in English. You can also learn about things such as connected speech (when the final consonant sound of one word merges with the initial vowel sound of the following word), sentence stress (the way certain words are stressed in sentences or phrases) and intonation (the way a variation in pitch can transform meaning).
Finally, poems can help you understand and appreciate the rhythm of English. English is a stress-timed language. This means that stressed syllables are spoken at regular intervals; and unstressed syllables are shortened to fit in with this rhythm. Poems can help you understand this and get used to it.
So, load up your MP3 player with some poems, put on your headphones and press play – you’ll learn so much!
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to improve vb = if you “improve”, you become better at something
a range n = your “range” of vocabulary (for example) refers to the number of words you know
to load up phr vb = if you “load up” a container, you fill it with something
to expand vb = if you “expand” something, you make it bigger
a perspective n = your “perspective” of something is the way you think about it
to bid vb Old = if A “bids” you to do something, A asks, requests, etc. you do that thing
to shrink vb = if you “shrink” from something, you move away from it because you don’t like it
a metaphor n = an imaginative way of describing something by comparing it to another thing. For example, “He’s a rat.”
a variation n = a change
pitch n = the “pitch” of a sound is how high or low it is
to shorten vb = to make shorter or smaller
to fit in with exp = if you make A “fit in with” B, you reduce the size of A so it can enter B
to get used to exp = if you “get used to” something, it becomes easy for you because you’ve done it so many times
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