Eurovision and Language

As everyone will no doubt be aware, it’s the Eurovision Song Contest tonight. Say what you like about it, I have a bit of a soft spot for it. Now more than ever, we need this sort of big, international cultural event to bring everyone together and forget our divisions and differences, if only for an evening. One of the main things I watch out for every time it’s on, though, is the language each entry sings in: Do they sing in their own language, or do they use English or another language? I think it is a choice which is becoming increasingly telling, with English becoming more and more dominant, not just across Europe but the globe too. Largely thanks to the growing ubiquity of American film and culture, English is now almost a default tongue. Thus it’s always interesting to see which performances in tonight’s contest opt to sing in English, knowing it’s more likely to be understood by others, or have the cajones to use their own tongue in order to try to maintain a bit of cultural authenticity.

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