In a previous research blog post I wrote about Eurovision and the increasing popularity of English songs in the competition; now that I’ve decided on a case study (France and Europe/Eurovision) I will post some songs that I find worth noting in my paper and records of which countries tend to sing in which language.
France: France has sung most of their songs in French with only a few having phrases in other languages such as English for instance, the 2017 song “Requiem”. Two songs have had Corsican: “Mama Corsica” in 1993 which had some phrases in Corsican and “Sognu” in 2011, which was sung entirely in Corsican. Another, “Diwanit Bugale”, was sung entirely in Breton.
Germany: Germany used to sing their songs entirely in German but have switched to singing mostly in English, or songs in English and another language, since 2002. The song “I Can’t Live Without Music” started the recent trend of songs in English for Germany. What’s interesting about Germany is that they are one of the “big five” countries that automatically make it to the final round regardless of their position on the scoreboard.
Italy: Italy, like France, has sung most of their songs entirely in Italian with only a few having phrases in other languages and a couple only in English.
Portugal: Portugal won the 2017 Eurovision with the song, “Amar Pelos Dios”, which was the first song sung in Portuguese to win Eurovision and the first winner since 2007 be entirely in a language other than English. Part of its popularity was that the song was sung very naturally and the artist had a lot of passion. Portugal is holding the 2018 Eurovision competition.
Countries with less common or popular languages, such as Russian, Ukrainian or Romanian, tend to sing predominately in English with a few phrases in their own languages. Ukraine was an interesting case, they joined the competition in 2003 and won in 2016 with a song in English and Tatar that criticized the Russians.
Here we have a list of Eurovision winners by language: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_in_the_Eurovision_Song_Contest