May 30, 2024

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At Eurovision, the choice of languages ​​was “very political and strategic” – liberating

At Eurovision, the choice of languages ​​was “very political and strategic” – liberating

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Often criticized for the proportion of songs in English, the music competition nevertheless provides a unique platform for the continent’s languages ​​and dialects. The latter choice often aims to revive national or local identities.

French, Bosnian, Swahili, Latin … Since its creation, around 70 languages ​​and dialects have been used on the Eurovision stage. After years of imposing the use of national languages, the competition gave artists complete freedom from 1973 to 1976, and then again from 1999 to the present day. Group Abba, with its song Waterloo, So, in 1974, he became the first person to win the contest with a language other than his native Sweden.

Since 1956, European linguistic wealth has been at the heart of Eurovision, as presenters must speak both English and French. By adjusting the animation, “The competition shows that the European ideal is not monolingual but multilingual”, Paulette van der Woet, a PhD in linguistics who teaches a course on Eurovision at the Swedish University of Umeå, analyzes Competition has always given voice to various languages ​​and dialects, sometimes little-known, more than political institutions. “In this way, it is a great showcase to show Europe’s linguistic diversity” Adds Solveig Pollik, a doctoral student in Umeå.

“Make a Song More Accessible”

That doesn’t stop criticism every year about English’s dominance in the competition. Actually, if

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