Eurovision’s Favourite Language – And the 12 Points Go To English!
Yes, it’s that time of year again, and yet again many of the acts in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest will be singing in English instead of their own native languages. English, it appears, is taking over Europe.
It wasn’t too long ago when French was the dominant European language, it was the official language of the European Union and the second language learnt by most UK school children, and of course it was the host language of Eurovision, although scores and commentary were always translated into English at Eurovision as well. However, nowadays Eurovision is hosted in English, with a simultaneous translation into French. How times have changed!
If you think back to previous winning entries of Eurovision, can you remember any acts who didn’t sing in English? Only those acts who can sing in English tend to make a big impact on the European music scene, take ABBA for instance who became a global phenomenon after winning Eurovision in 1974. Although, to be fair ABBA did actually perform their winning entry Waterloo in Swedish during the competition, but they are the only previous non-British winners I can think of at the moment!
Nowadays, Eurovision is renowned for its politics, more so than its musical acts, with multiple groups of countries voting in favour of each other for reasons other than the best performance on the night. English has now become the language of choice for acts wishing to not only win Eurovision, but to also use the contest as a platform to burst onto the international music scene.
Language experts tell us that in the future, native English speakers will be in the minority as the global uptake of English as a second language means that there will be around 2 billion people, a third of the entire population of our planet, speaking English as well as their own native language. This majority of ESL speakers will soon start to influence and eventually control the evolution of our language and this, it is believed, will leave native English speakers at a distinct disadvantage. So, in the future, is it possible that instead of reaching for your Oxford English Dictionary you may have to instead rely on your newly acquired Beijing English Dictionary, in order to ensure that words and phrases are spelt correctly? Could majority English eventually evolve into a dominant language and leave us natives behind, much like Eurovision and the EU have done to the French language?
Only time will tell!
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