Last week we blogged about our office rule surrounding the Eurovision song contest: if your country wins, you must bring a cake into the office to celebrate.
So, who took the cake in Europe’s Favourite TV Show last weekend?
With Denmark bagging the top prize for the third time in the country’s history, we’re disappointed to say that for the second year in a row, there was no cake in the Today Translations office.
This hasn’t been the only controversy, however, as Eurovision never seems to be simply about the music; it also comes with a number of political ramifications. The Economist has observed that language plays a large role in the voting process, with linguistic neighbours often being generous with their votes, rather than judging on musical talent. Linguistic neighbours such as Cyprus and Greece, or Finland and Estonia, will often give each other the maximum 12 points. This year Denmark and Sweden gave their 12 to Norway, and Norway gave its 12 to Sweden, which indicates a Scandinavian continuum. With the only song sung in Romanian, Moldova earned 12 points from Romania. However, this year Moldova only scored their linguistic neighbours a 10. Could this tension be due to Romania singing in English, perhaps?
On that note, it is interesting to note the number of Eurovision entries that choose to sing in English. From 1956-1965 and again from 1977-1999, there was a contest rule that required countries to sing in their own language. Despite this, songs sung in English have won 24 times, songs in French have won 14, with the remainder (about a third) have won the contest in any other language. Eurovision 2013 saw only 8 of the 26 songs performed in a country’s native language, with Iceland entering their first Icelandic song in 15 years. The highest-ranking song with lyrics devoid of English was Italy’s entry of “L’Essenziale” which placed them in 7th.
Emmelie de Forest’s song Only Teardrops sees another English song take the top prize. Does this mean that pop music is another area where English is taking over Europe? It has already been noted that English is the primary language of business and the European Union. Does this mean there won’t be as many problems for Britain’s monolingual kids as we think?