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A week or so ago, in my online lesson with my client, Maurizio he asked me if we could go over the Second Conditional Tense. As I was showing him the structure and the uses of the tense (If + Past Simple of Main Verb, Subject + Would + Main Verb – used for imaginary future), and he was giving me sentences using the tense, the song If I Were a Rich Man” from the film The Fiddler on the Roof started playing in my mind.

The more I sang the song in my head, the more I realised it would be a fun way for English Language Learners to practise the Second Conditional Tense.

I truly believe that learning English through music is one of the best ways of improving fluency. Why? It’s fun and it’s all about repetition. The more you hear the words, the more your brain absorbs the language sub-consciously and before you know it, you’re singing to the song like a native speaker!

And there’s no reason why you cannot use songs to practise your English Grammar, too.

The Lyrics

“Dear God, you made many, many poor people.
I realize, of course, that it’s no shame to be poor.
But it’s no great honor either!
So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?”

If I were a rich man,
Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man.

I’d build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,
Right in the middle of the town.
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
There would be one long staircase just going up,
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

I’d fill my yard with chicks and turkeys and geese and ducks
For the town to see and hear.
Squawking just as noisily as they can.
With each loud “cheep” “swaqwk” “honk” “quack”
Would land like a trumpet on the ear,
As if to say “Here lives a wealthy man.”

If I were a rich man,
Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard.
Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man.

I’d see my wife, my Golde, looking like a rich man’s wife
With a proper double-chin.
Supervising meals to her heart’s delight.
I see her putting on airs and strutting like a peacock.
Oy, what a happy mood she’s in.
Screaming at the servants, day and night.

The most important men in town would come to fawn on me!
They would ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise.
“If you please, Reb Tevye…”
“Pardon me, Reb Tevye…”
Posing problems that would cross a rabbi’s eyes!

And it won’t make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong.
When you’re rich, they think you really know!

If I were rich, I’d have the time that I lack
To sit in the synagogue and pray.
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I’d discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.

If I were a rich man,
Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.
Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man.

Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man.

 

Let me know what you think about learning English through music. Do you have favourite songs in English that could be used in an English Lesson?

Ciao. Until the next time.

Shanthi

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