I like languages. But I love Eurovision. So naturally the subject of languages at Eurovision looks as if one thing I’d be into. And I’m! I like the concept that music can bridge the hole between audio system of various languages and that having fun with a music is usually much more than simply understanding the lyrics. I like the concept of somebody in my small house city listening to a music in a language they’ve by no means heard earlier than and pondering, ‘Yeah it’s alright, that.’ The magic of the Eurovision Song Contest.
So, let’s check out which languages we might be listening to on the 2021 version of the competition kicking off on 18 May in Rotterdam.
For the latest contest, click on right here: National languages at Eurovision 2022
*Please observe: on this publish, I’ll often use the phrase ‘overseas language’ to indicate non-English languages. This is only as a result of re-using the phrase ‘songs carried out at-least partly in a language aside from English’ is simply boring and awkward. I’m conscious that French isn’t a overseas language in France, clearly.
Firstly, let’s begin with the fundamentals. (Die-hard Eurofans may wish to skip forward to the juicy bits.)
How many songs within the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 characteristic a overseas language?
In complete, 12 songs (out of 39) might be carried out at the very least partially in a language aside from English.
In addition, the entries from each Cyprus and Malta are sung in English however have foreign-language titles, that are repeated. Cyprus have as soon as once more gone for a Spanish title (El Diablo), whereas Malta have opted for French (Je Me Casse).
Which international locations are singing of their native language at Eurovision 2021?
At the Eurovision Song Contest 2021, the next international locations will sing at the very least partly in a overseas language: Albania, Croatia, Denmark, France, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine.
Which languages might be heard at Eurovision 2021?
Albanian, Croatian, Danish, French, Italian, Hebrew, Sranan Tongo, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Ukrainian will all be heard on the Eurovision stage this yr.
Additionally, the Czech entry additionally consists of one line of Czech. (But I haven’t included this in any additional statistics as a result of the road may be very “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it.”)
Now let’s get to the good things… statistics! (And very fundamental graphs that I made in excel…!)
How does Eurovision 2021 examine to earlier years?
For the second yr in a row, 12 entries characteristic a language aside from English. However, for the reason that withdrawal of Armenia and Belarus from this yr’s contest, the proportion of songs that includes nationwide languages has elevated.
Had Belarus’ Russian-language music not been disqualified, we’d have seen a rise to 13 songs and 33%.
However, general, the variety of foreign-language entries remains to be a lot decrease than the current peak in 2018 (the yr after Salvador Sobral gained for Portugal with a Portuguese-language ballad.)
For an evaluation of languages at Eurovision 2019, click on right here.
Which languages are making a comeback this yr?
For me, there are two surprises this yr in terms of languages: Russian and Danish.
Firstly, we very nearly had two entries in Russian this yr! (Belarus’ entry was very rightfully thought of too politic and was disqualified.) Russian has not been heard on the Eurovision stage since 2011 and never since Moscow hosted the occasion in 2009 did multiple music characteristic the language.
As I’ve talked about on this publish, Russian is a) a fantastic language and b) very extensively spoken and understood in Europe, so I discover it shocking we don’t hear extra entries that includes the language. However, given the response to Manizha’s entry in her house nation, I don’t anticipate we’ll have much more Russian-language entries in future.
Secondly, Denmark is sending its first entry totally in Danish since 1997! This yr’s Danish entry is carried out by 80s-inspired duo Fyr og Flamme, who’ve had a string of common Danish-language hits just lately, giving us (i.e. me) hope that extra Danish-language entries may be on the way in which.
Eurovision 2021 can even characteristic the debut of a brand new language: Sranan Tongo. The language is an English-based creole, primarily spoken in Suriname, a former Dutch territory. The Dutch entrant, Jeangu Macrooy, hails from Suriname and can characteristic the language in his uplifting emotional ballad about black empowerment.
Of course, we have now one noticeable departure this yr. For the primary time ever of their historical past, Portugal is not going to be singing in Portuguese. The Eurovision fandom appears genuinely heartbroken about this, as Portugal have been one of many few international locations to have all the time despatched entries of their native language. Will singing in English enhance their probabilities of qualifying? I doubt it very a lot. RIP Portuguese.
Could a non-English entry win Eurovision 2021?
HELL YES. The probabilities of a non-English language winner are larger this yr than I can bear in mind. In truth, the probabilities of the primary French-language winner since 1989 are trying significantly good.
As of twenty-two April 2021 (after I lastly sat down to jot down this publish), the highest 5 counties within the odds at Eurovisionworld.com have been 1. Malta 2. France 3. Switzerland 4. Italy and 5. Bulgaria.
The French and Swiss entries are totally in French and the Italian entry in Italian. Interestingly, the Maltese entry (although sung totally in English) has a French title which is featured thoroughout the music: Je Me Casse (which apparently roughly interprets to ‘I’m outta right here.’)
Sitting a lot decrease within the odds are Russia and Ukraine, rating at round 15th and 16th respectively within the odds.
Looking to the longer term: can we hope for extra overseas languages at Eurovision 2022?
It appears doubtless in my view, particularly if France and Switzerland carry out in addition to predicted.
Despite the identical variety of songs being carried out in a language aside from English staying the identical in comparison with final yr (12), there appears to be just a few noticeable traits.
The use of nationwide languages in Eastern Europe is an effective instance. Ukraine, Russia and Belarus all entered songs this yr in considered one of their nationwide languages (though Belarus’ entry was later disqualified), which is one thing that hasn’t occurred… ever. In truth, Russia haven’t sung in Russian for 10 years. Hopefully that is one thing that may proceed in 2022!
Secondly, the Western Balkans are persevering with to do us proud of their native languages. Although Slovenia has opted for English this yr in comparison with Slovene in 2020, Albania has returned to its native Albanian after a short fling with English in 2020. Serbia and Croatia are additionally performing (at the very least partly) of their native language/s, persevering with a constructive development; that’s 4 years on the trot for Serbia and three for Croatia. I feel we are able to anticipate this development to proceed in 2022.
Otherwise, in Finland’s nationwide choice this yr, 3 out of seven songs have been sung nearly totally in Finnish. Maybe we are able to anticipate a Finnish-language entry in 2022?
What are your ideas? What’s your favorite non-English language winner at Eurovision?