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Learn foreign songs to practice languages!

You know how sometimes you can sing some lyrics from a French or Spanish song, not even knowing their meaning?

Just think about it, there is that line "Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir" from Lady Marmalade and you most probably know how to pronounce it (or even understand it) even though you don't learn French! Or for example, a much simpler "Bailamos" from Enrique Inglesias, etc.

You can pretty much practice your foreign language by learning the lyrics from a song. When you learn the lyrics and sing, it forces you to speak more quickly following the tempo, so you practice speaking fluently, already having the music in your head and just following it. You can practice the whole phrases that way and you will remember them much easily later on.

I'm sure you're already thinking about your favorite songs so feel free to share them with us! These are just some famous/random examples to start with. Add your own videos with lyrics (maybe some popular ones from that country) and let's sing in Deutch, Portugese or Italian like true pros. :)

Some French Songs

Some German Songs

Some Italian Songs

Some Spanish Songs

Some Portuguese Songs

Do you listen to some foreign singers or bands? Do you know the lyrics of a song or two in foreign language?

October 14, 2013



My German top 5 at the moment (in no particular order):

Valezka - Neue Männer braucht das Land - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY55v25-A3g

Seeed - Ding - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxXVF6qqVv8

Christina Stürmer - Ich Lebe - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ1VaM3q8Ig

Silbermond - Himmel auf - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgPjFXktfxM

Peter Fox - Alles neu - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxrR_XB-36I


Wir sind elektrisiert.............is my one


Spanish Jennifer Lopez - Que Hiciste? - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF_NP-b5QFs

I love this song! It's perfect for practicing Spanish verb tenses because she sings about how their love used to be, what could have become of their love, and what she's going to now/tomorrow.


do you like disney world


I was just thinking about making a discussion about this the other day :D Here are a few of my Spanish favorites with lyrics:

• Elena - Juana Molina - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3YaMMXAkvUlist=PL7D07B36E38AB4463index=1

• Maria Rodes - Lo Que Hay Que Oír - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouV2krd5i0wlist=PL7D07B36E38AB4463index=2

• Mariel Mariel - Foto pa ti - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c5V96p43gAlist=PL7D07B36E38AB4463index=3

• Carla Morrison - Tu Luz - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85vzXgXXkhElist=PL7D07B36E38AB4463index=4

• Torreblanca - Roma - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJljLftKX78list=PL7D07B36E38AB4463index=5

I'm sure I'll be bookmarking some from this thread... Thanks!


WOW! Carla Morrison's voice is sooo pure and the videos and music of Maria Rodes are so intriguingly complicated (AND beautiful). Hi ho, hi ho, off to Amazon I go. Thanks for the great suggestions.


Wow, seems like Maria Rodes has sung this song for Spanish learners:D Many thanks for sharing John.


Hi, thanks for sharing :) That must be a lot of work. I shall try this method learning by listening to songs. I don't usually listen to songs but I will start listening from now on. The songs are nice. Muchas gracias amiga :)


Love this guy's David Bowie covers in Portuguese: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvhGvxuOREw


"Vamos a la playa, a mí me gusta bailar, el ritmo de la noche, sounds of fiesta" lol.


If anyone is learning/interested in Norwegian: Lumsk - Trolltind - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCFfuq_1iJA


I couldn't find a video on YouTube that included the lyrics, so here's a link to the lyrics side by side with the English translation: http://lyricstranslate.com/en/Trolltind-Trolltind.html


V Brilliant V

Vivo per lei (francais, italian) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HHF0leFBE8

Vivo por ella (version espanol) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfPG3sy_iGg


For German, I love to listen to Annett Louisan! Here are some of my favorite songs by her:

And some others:

Being Swedish I can also name drop some great Swedish musicians who sings in Swedish or partly in Swedish for those who's interested: Emil Jensen, Lars Winnerbäck, Gaby and the guns, Staffan Hellstrand, Cirkus Miramar, Hoola Bandoola Band, Sarek, Gyllene tider, Dia Psalma, Nanne Grönwall, Loke (Nyberg), Laleh, Säkert!, Little Marbles...


How is it possible to type in these enumerations? I have no idea how to... Oh, and: I'm a HUGE Angizia Fan having everything originally. Glad to see they have fans in Sweden as well!


I have been listening to Spanish popular music for years as a way of practicing my Spanish. I remember in high school 30 years ago I had a teacher who had us listen, transcribe, and translate songs as a teaching tool. In those days we did not have the access we do now to music in any language we want.

For Spanish, there are many good examples. Some of my favorites are:

-- La Camisa Negra - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvEvATBiQ5U -- Mala Gente - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OuS_zGc6M0 -- A dios le pido - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAnr1I6xs_4

Jessie & Joy: -- Espacio Sideral - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuY7HYSDoTM

Mana: -- Bendita Tu Luz - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44kityInDvM

La Quinta Estacion: -- Algo Mas - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQpB_Ftox7w -- El Sol no Regresa - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tutR2-MjWdc -- Me Muero - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMqek1P8RmM


Jessy y Joy are great! I also like Malú and Pablo Alborán and much more :) Like I wrote in a comment here I also love to listen to Spanish pop music and I do it by listening to the radio station Cadena Dial.


A beautiful song by Malena Muyala that three separate translations programs could not make sense of inspired me to learn Spanish. I can translate about half of it now but it is till a glorious mystery. Maybe it will still be that way after 100%. Either way, it will be worth it:


Thanks for the great post!


Me encanta esta canción! Gracias!


It truly is a great way to learn. Although I am not actively learning Swedish, I listen to a Swedish band called Dungen, whose songs are sung in the language. I love the melodies and style of the music, and one day I decided to look up the lyrics to a song. I translated them and familiarized myself with the meanings of the Swedish words and then listened the song repeatedly. Over time the meaning actually stuck, and I was amazed at how effortless it was to learn some of the language through listening to music that I enjoyed.

Here's a song of theirs and one of my favorites: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N9jgFzlabg


I also like to practice with Disney songs. You're probably already familiar with the tune and content and the songs are easily found in tons of languages. It is interesting to see the differences between the different language versions - sometimes they differences are big enough that the whole song means something entirely different!


Thanks for the idea. Great way to have more Spanish in my life.


Many times Spain creates their own dubs, so you can find a Latin American version and a Spain version. The same applies to French because France and Canada usually make separate versions. In both cases, the translations are done independently, so not only are the voices different - the lyrics are completely different as well. It´s fascinating to compare the versions - I have different preferences for different songs. I´ll share some of my favorites.

Though it's not the theme of the thread, don't forget that you can watch the videos in the languages too. As with the songs, it's easier to pick up words since you already know the stories and the basics of the dialogue. Most of the American dvds already have Spanish and French included, if you're studying those languages.


Enredados (Tangled) - ¿Cuándo Empezaré a Vivir? ("When Will I Start to Live?") - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXFl5nfyIqU

Aladdin - Un Mundo Ideal ("An Ideal World") - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNtN9nCUapM

La Sirenita (The Little Mermaid) - Parte de Él ("Part of It") - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRhWmwbrOKA


Hercule - Jamais Je N'avouerai ("I Do Not Confess") - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIdKNNdLi1Q

Mulan - Réflexion (Reflection)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL9mTVl0OMY

Raiponce (Tangled) - Où Est La Vraie Vie? ("Where is the True Life?") - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Alhgv0GWn98


Cinderella - Kjærlighet ("Love") - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W67MAMzDBEU


¡Gran idea, gracias! 'La Sirenita' es mi favorita película de Disney. Ahora estoy escuchando 'Bajo el Mar'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLGz_FIwPBY :)


THANK YOU!! This helped me so much!!


¡Muchas gracias!


For Scottish Gaelic, I listen to the band Runrig a lot. Looking at the gaelic lyrics helps with the awkward pronunciations, word spellings, and sentence structures, although unless the songs are slower, memorizing them is a challenge.

And thanks for the Spanish songs, been meaning to dig some up!


Just out of curiosity, how is your learning of Gaelic going? I'm interested in learning it myself, although I want to become more proficient at German and then move on to Irish first. I'm interested to talk to someone else going through the process though, to know what it's like, and how it compares to any other languages you know? :)


Hello! The progress is slower than Spanish; because of the lack of decent free Scottish Gaelic lessons, I'm using two different lesson projects for learning SG (one's vocal/written, the other is just vocal). Still working on basic greetings/words/conversations. It's also hard for me to make all the weird vocals noises that aren't in English, ha.The sentence structure is different from English, but so far it hasn't been hard to figure out and use.

Where are you looking to learn Irish from? :) I would love to talk to someone else who's planning on learning a Gaelic language.


I have the Teach Yourself Complete Irish 2010 edition (as well as some lesser known grammar workbooks - which are perhaps more useful at first glance), and I've amassed a fair few links and bookmarks of websites about Irish online. I also have the 1993 edition of Teach Yourself Gaelic (I don't know if there is a later one). I am half-Scottish, half-Irish, and I have many living relatives who speak Irish which is why it's my more immediate goal. :) I'm very interested in both languages - feels like a way to connect with your ancestry (if that doesn't sound too cheesy :P).

My mum once told me that that she can understand some Scottish Gaelic with her Irish - not anything more than catching some words and getting a slight idea of what was being talked about, but I found that interesting. :)

Does Duolingo have a private message function btw? I'm fairly new, and just realised it's a function I'd like! :P


No, doesn't sound cheesy at all! I'm a good mixed-blood American with roots from everywhere so I think it's awesome that you can pinpoint your ancestry so closely. :) I'm about 1/8th Irish, and no Scottish (some Polish though), but Gaelic is such a beautiful language I wanted to try to learn it.

I guess Irish and Scottish Gaelic are pretty similar, from what I've seen digging around. Something about how SG came from Irish or whatnot... Hopefully close enough so it would be a lot easier to learn Irish after SG, or vice-versa. :O How much does your family speak Irish?

Haha, good question. I'm new too, so no idea if there's a message function. I'll go find out though. :)

EDIT: Guess not, but someone gave me this- http://www.duolingo.com/comment/672818 Posting to each other's stream.


Harleklown, off topic and you probably already have it, but have you looked at the list of Gaelic resources on Sol Mór's website? http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/gaidhlig/ionnsachadh/


I love Brazilian music! We had a thread about it in the Portuguese forums recently, and the top comment is an amazing playlist that sparvoli made http://www.duolingo.com/comment/881256


Thanks for the link. Great stuff. I learn a lot by reading the lyrics as I listen.


I listen to the Spanish radio station named Cadena Dial it plays only pop songs in Spanish. I love it! http://www.cadenadial.com/player/


For Spanish, I like Mägo de Oz.

Deja de llorar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ssq7pqGuetE

Hazme un sitio entre tu piel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsZd7KVthPg

Hasta que el cuerpo aguante: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTTU8NN2fWA


In Italian: http://www.adgblog.it/2011/12/12/5050100-e-oltre-canzoni-per-imparare-litaliano/ is an incredible site with a list of over 100 songs divided by learning levels. Each song has clues, exercises and video links (a few of the links are broken, but other versions can usually be found on YouTube). This is where I found the song I am memorizing for singing in the shower or tub: "La Vasca" by Alex Britti: http://youtu.be/gl-1Y8pNi4Y. Here is the associated lesson: http://www.adgblog.it/2010/09/24/italiano-con-le-canzoni-la-vasca-di-alex-britti/. Great topic! Thanks to all!

  • 1034

Excellent links -Many thanks


I don't know the names of the Spanish songs I listen to, but there is a Mexican channel on my radio, so in the morning I turn on the radio and start singing along to the songs. It's really helpful, it helps with my pronunciation, and I feel so proud when I can understands parts of the song!


These links are great. Thank you.


One of the best ways to learn!


I don't listen to songs very much, but I can approve that this is a good learning method. Beatles' lyrics helped me a lot while learning English. I have an album by Edith Piaf on my disk, that could be a good start to add this method to my pursuit for fluency in French :-)

This especially help me while learning Latin - as a Roman Catholic, even though I don't attend masses in Latin very often, I know some prayers (prayers are not songs, but are similar, at least in this way) and gregorian chants in this nice language. It was enough to totally overshadow all my classmates at Latin lessons :-)
After two months of study I started reading Aquinas in a bilingual Latin and Czech version (looking more and more on the Latin side), but that's another story.


I noticed you mentioned elsewhere you were a Croatian speaker - would you have any links for collections of favourite traditional Croatian or Balkan songs generally? Some friends take me with them to all the local Croatian community functions at which there is usually uninhibited singing and dancing. The one song I recognise and have learnt a bit is called 'O Marijana'. I would like to surprise them next time we go ;) (My friends are from all different parts of the former Yugoslavia and I particularly like the sound and rhythm of traditional songs from Bosnia)


I think some of the most popular and best known Croatian singers are Severina and Oliver Dragojević. They have different kinds of music so listen to both and pick your favorite, and then search for similar ones. Severina has catchy pop tunes while Oliver is oriented to coastal themes and has a relaxing tone. There are of course multiple younger singers that come and go like everywhere else in the world, but these two represent our music to the point.


(Sorry if a repeat my post seems to have vanished) Wow, ty, loved Severina (just listened to Hurim). Oliver is more like what ppl groove to at the Adriatic Club. I have picked one of his (Sviratje Nocas) and will sing it (badly) to my friends on Sunday!!


I would recommend these songs:


  • Dalmatinka
  • Djevojka sa sela
  • Ante
  • Italiana
  • Grad bez ljudi

Oliver Dragojević

  • Galeb i ja
  • Cesarica
  • Vjeruj u ljubav
  • Ljubav je tvoja kao vino


the search keywords that may help: bijelo dugme, parni valjak, riblja čorba, plavi orkestar, zabranjeno pušenje, partibrejkers and a whole bunch of cheesy solo singers.


Ty, I will look later. And haha, yes, I guessed they were cheesey! And tbh, I am not a fan of that sort of schmoozy lounge singing in English. But everyone totally gets into it - male, female, young and old, so I am going to do my bit. :D


Some foreign language songs that I like apart from the ones already mentioned (in no particular order):

Of course, any student of Italian should know "Gioca Jouer": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE1SeQeZoSA


Thanks for Maggese! It's a fun song, and I recognize a lot of the words.


Avril Lavigne recorded "GIrlfriend" in every language Duolingo teaches and Chinese and Japanese! http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8513E2EFF6A167C0


It is both good and entertaining to sharpen your language skills through singing in a foreign language.

Singing songs can actually improve your accent. At least for me. :) We all are different. ;)


I myself can admit that there were more than a few times when I was confused about german grammar, and a certain phrase from Elisabeth musical just popped up in my mind and saved me. I recommend listening to musicals as the tunes are generally extremely catchy and the stories are familiar. For German one should IMO turn to Elisabeth (which also has great Japanese version), for French - to Les Miserables, naturally, Notre Dame de Paris and Romeo et Juliet, as well as many, many others (I don't want to offend anyone who loves the productions I didn't mention, it's just that those are the ones I love most).


Rammstein's "Du hast" is deceptfully simple because while the lyrics are short and simple there's some wordplays in it. "Du hast" can sound like "Du hasst" and one moment they're singing about "bis der Tod euch scheidet" (until death do you part) and then they're singing "bis zum Tod, der Scheide" (Scheide = "sheath").

Some of my favourite German songs/bands (with clear vocals)

Some Swedish songs (with clear vocals)

Some Spanish songs


I wonder what kind of group is Hocico?


It's a band from Mexico that plays "industrial electro/synth". The majority of their songs is probably in english but they've still made quite a few songs in spanish.


I know that fact. My question is because their songs promote hate, wrath, racism, violent. Very offensive!


Could you list some of their songs that promote racism or any other offensive songs?


Insticts of Perversion, Born to be Hated, Spread My Disease, Silent Wrath, and many more offensive lyrics


One of the songs mentions "stupid white men". That's a bit racist, but I'm still not convinced that they are more racist than Michael Moore.

I couldn't even find the lyrics to Spread My Disease.


Oh Komm Doch, Komm zu mir, komm gib mir deine Hand! Oh du bist so schon, komm gib mor deine hand!!! -Das beatles (I want to hold your hand)


A couple Spanish favs: - "Machete", by Novalima http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gDQpThu5bw - "Machete" again, by Tito y Tarantula (very short lyrics but I love it) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDe6CepUzGg - Many catchy songs by Manu Chao, like "Desaparecido" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2W4wglPW2c or "Clandestino" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9ix30eyXTY

French and English ~at the same time~ (listen & you'll understand): - Manu Chao, Le Rendez-Vous http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om3Meryuzq0

If you like metal and Icelandic, you <sub>have</sub> to listen to Skálmöld :)


Finnish <sub>has</sub> to be "ievan Polkka": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4om1rQKPijI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx1vZJSDNHc

I'm not studying Finnish at the moment (beautiful language though it is), so I can only wish they made songs this catchy for my languages…


Souad Massi in French and (Maghrebi) Arabic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d3dbSHimSA, Mariza in Portuguese, Arianna Savall in Spanish/Catalan and all sorts.


Listening to songs is indeed a great way to learn a language! It's fun and almost effortless. When I was beginning to learn German, I downloaded a lot of albums by a bunch of artists, but the one that I identified the most with was Madsen. I picked (unconsciously at first) a couple of songs that I liked the most and listened to them a lot, trying to sing along (sometimes with the help of the lyrics). Eventually I became so curious to read the translation that, once I did, the words kind of stuck to me (not immediately, of course).

So, what I do is basically this: I listen to the song, get it in my head, then I try to sing while reading the lyrics, then I sing while listening to it, and at last I check the translation. After that, you just have to listen to the song and try to remember what everything means. At first you won't. At least I never did. But if that happens you just have to check again. It's that simple, and it's the easiest thing to do. Just don't check too much, try hard to dig the words in your memory.

It helped me a lot with english, and at the time I wasn't even trying to learn it. That's why it's a great way to learn: you do it almost unconsciously and it's VERY effective. Plus, you're practicing your listening, speaking and reading skills.


I originally decided to learn German because of my infatuation with German music <3 I picked these songs because they do a good job at illustrating the similarities and differences between German and English sentence structure.

OOMPH! - "Wer schön sein will muss leiden" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub_0wcqMfbs OOMPH! - "Sandmann" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtjvl2Jz6GI Rammstein - "Tier" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pc_MaaYEvvY Rammstein - "Ich will" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJVdmUTMzVE Eisbrecher - "Vergissmeinnicht" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEiwup6ni1s Eisbrecher - "This is Deutsch" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LCHxwnS_mY (the synchronization of the lyrics to the music is a bit off)

And for those who dislike metal and want something a little more highbrow ;) Diana Damrau - Der Hölle Rache: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLlux8ICOfI

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Heres some artists and song titles - I've kept it to one song per artist but most have many great songs to look up and enjoy .

In Spanish : Amaral - Sin ti no soy nada- Celtas Cortos -Retales de una vida- La Quinta Estacion - Tu peor error- Carlos Santana & Mana - Corazon Espinado- La Oreja de Van Gogh -Jueves- Los de Abajo -Actitud calle- Alex Cuba -Tu boca la quita- Calle 13 - Latinoamerica- Cucu Diamantes -Alguien- Bebe - Malo-

In Italian Laura Pausini - Primavera in anticipo

In French Benabar -Politiquement Correct- Coeur de Pirate -Francis- Carmen maria Vega - La Menteuse- Nolwynn Leroy - Le jument de Michao- Keny Arkana - J'ai Ose- Kenza Farah -Désillusion du ghetto-

<pre> My French Disney favourite http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QprXlfVkpH4 </pre>

Enjoy !!


You probably have not heard of it, but I enjoy listening to vocaloid music. Vocaloids are Japanese voice synthesis programs developed by Yamaha. These programs are given an animated character and perform live as holograms in Tokyo. One of the best parts about vocaloid music is the fact that any one can write songs for them, not just the creators. There are many songs created by song writers that have been illustrated and put on nico nico and youtube. Some of these song writers manage to make a career from writing songs for vocaloid characters. Although I do not know many Japanese words, the songs have helped me to pronounce the language much better.

http://listentheworld.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/introduction-to-vocaloid/ - I do not really like the writer's choice of song, but I agree with and like the article. http://www.vocaloid.com/en/about/

A Few of My Favorite Vocaloid Songs

Magic Mirror -
Just be Friends - What hour, what minute, what second is it now? How many times has the earth spun? - Nonsense Speaker - Snow White and Blossom Red - Clean Freak - Hero - Revenge Syndrome (you can find many of the songs on this list on the same channel as this song) - Alice - Double Lariat - Trash Angel - Bad Apple - Ten Faced - Two Men of the Hanging Tree - Heaven - Wrinkles - Lie and Diamond - Rolling Girl - Pygmalion - A Realistic Logical Ideologist - The Disappearance of Namine Ristu - Super Hero - I just Hate People - Hocus Pocus (An extremely sad but touching song T-T) - Whatever (I found this song extremely amusing) - Rain Dream Tower - Inside a Silent Room - Love Words - World is Mine - Forbidden Happiness (One of the few vocaloid songs that are in English) - Circus Monster (This song can be found in both English and Japanese) - Re boot (sad but cute) - After School Stride - A lethargic coup d’ etat - Life Prolonging Treatment - Note Book - Indulging Idol Syndrome - Dark Wood Circus (My favorite creepy song so far) - Alice of Human Sacrifice (Creepy) - Trick and Treat (Creepy) - The full course for candy addicts (Very Creepy) - Difficult Love - Gigantic Girl - PopiPo (this song is sung by many vocaloids and UTAUs) - Torinoco City - The Witch and the Princess - Melt - Meltdown - Shinitagari (Many do not understand the meaning of this song. If you have trouble understanding it or hate it after watching it, please reply saying so and I will explain.)

I apologize for the list being so long, but there are soooooo many. As you probably noticed I said a ‘Few’ of my favorites, this is literally a few. There are hundreds maybe even thousands . Many of these songs can be found on Amesubs’s and Kisekui’s channels, both on youtube.



Just wanna remind you this really famous song "quizas, quizas, quizas" which I think is one of the easiest. It also helped me with objective pronouns. Here is one version: http://youtu.be/-8t4Xkf_1KE

Para tu amor - Juanes https://soundcloud.com/emerson-hurtatis/para-tu-amor-juanes-1?in=l-a-y-a/sets/espa-ol

If you're not really fond of Shakira/Enrique/ J Lo/etc, Andrea Bocelli has a handful of Spanish songs. but he's not native Spanish speaker. Here are some:

Besame mucho http://youtu.be/gPRESlT4Ccg

sueño http://youtu.be/m4d3l4Okpp0

Por ti volare http://youtu.be/VTSK8c0qb8A

Pero te extraño http://youtu.be/iFKUdqh5Ic4

nuestro encuentro http://youtu.be/6n5tiwatwP0

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