Saturday, May 16, 2009


I am sitting here watching Eurovision with Thomas - it's practically his favourite night of the year!
We've just got as far as Albania and I can't contain myself any longer. I understand many people decide to sing in English to reach a wider audience, especially if their native language is obscure. I don't even have a problem with them all singing in English if they like but what I really don't get is why when they insist on writing their own song in English, they don't have an English native speaker cast an eye over it before jumping on stage and assaulting us with nonsense phrases. Even though all the words are English they just do not collocate in English (native English that is). For example, I've just heard this wee Albanian girl singing how she is longing for someone's care - it is just foreign nonsense! Now a Romanian is telling us her hips are glowing and that she's a lonely baby. So far the only song sung in English by a non-native English speaker without a single collocational error is the Danish one and that was apparently written by Ronan Keating so that is hardly surprising. Other than that every single song has had a at least 2 or 3 phrases that are just wrong to native English ears. Maybe I'll add reading the text of potential Eurovision entries to my CV.


Harry Campbell said...

Whereas songs written by native speakers like Sir Paul "in this ever-changing world in which we're living in" MacCartney...?

Stan Freburg did valuable work in correcting "Old" Man River. "He doesn't plant potatoes, he doesn't plant cotting, because those that plants them are soon forgotting..."

And don't get me started on factual inaccuracy! Katie Melua was at least 1.7 billion light years out in her song about the bicycles in Beijing. She actually had to go back and re-record the song.

Incorrect song lyrics are a menace. As Mr Tweedly points out (thank you Mr Tweedly), the home is a classroom. Come along chaps, speak properly! "I can't ANY satisfaction". "Slap my bitch up PLEASE".

You're quite welcome I'm sure.

Phyl said...

Excellent Harry! You've spotted the business opportunity to save our mortgage! How's about you and I set up an agency to read and approve all new songs in English and then we send out fines and notification of compulsory rewrites to any old ones we find grammatically lacking! Superb.