A worm in your ear …

I was quite excited to discover that the library now includes Earworms in its collection. No, I’m not referring to those annoying snatches of songs that get stuck in your head – Christchurch City Libraries’ are not your common garden-variety earworms, but rather a series of “specially composed melodies with rhythmic repetitions” of phrases in foreign languages and English that “take the hard work out of learning.”

Earworms Rapid Arabic
Earworms Rapid Arabic

I have always been a bit of a sucker for “revolutionary accelerated learning techniques” – at one stage, a few years ago, I even tried playing tapes (yes, that’s how long ago it was) while I slept, in the hope that osmosis would do its thing. (It didn’t, though the fact that I couldn’t fall asleep because I was too busy listening probably had something to do with it…) So, as soon as I saw the title in the RSS feed of just ordered titles, I placed a hold on a brand-new copy of Earworms Rapid Arabic Volume 1.

My personal “musical brain trainer” came with a booklet listing the 200+ words and phrases that are on the CD, together with their phonetic transcription, as well as a very persuasive explanation of the science behind Earworms. Does it work? Well, my definitive answer is maybe! Remembering the words hasn’t been particularly hard, but I have to admit that I did cheat, because I chose a language that I was already familiar with. On the other hand, while the sing-song conversations were not too painful to listen to, I wasn’t drawn to go back to them again and again, as the booklet suggested would be the case. Still, I think I’ll give it another shot, perhaps with a language I don’t know at all. Chinese, here I come!

Have you tried any of the Earworm series? Did they work for you? Do you agree with Wikipedia that having a touch of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder makes you more susceptible to earworms? And, most importantly, if earworms have been driving you crazy, is it true, as I seem to remember being told at some stage, that the solution is to listen to Faith by George Michael?

2 thoughts on “A worm in your ear …

  1. Lynne 2 November 2009 / 5:57 pm

    I tried the Italian earworms and thought they were good. The first one is really basic but the second one has useful phrases like “Puo spegnere il suo cellulare” (Could you turn off your cellphone). It’s amazing how much grammar you pick up as well, it sort of percolates into the brain, painlessly.

  2. Vanessaccl 4 November 2009 / 8:27 am

    Hi Lynne, that’s good to hear they worked for you. Do you think they are better than the usual CDs that have conversations without the music?

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