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Language in the Eurovision Song Contest: Wikis


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The following is a list of languages used in the Eurovision Song Contest since its inception in 1956, including songs (as) performed in finals and, since 2004, semi-finals. The rules concerning the language of the entries have been changed several times over the years.

From 1956 until 1965, there was no rule restricting the languages in which the songs could be sung. However, in 1966 a rule was imposed stating that the songs must be performed in one of the official languages of the country participating.

The language restriction continued until 1973, when it was lifted and performers were again allowed to sing in any language they wished. Several winners in the mid-1970s took advantage of the newly-found allowance, with performers from non-native-English-speaking countries singing in English, including ABBA in 1974. In 1977, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Contest's organisers, decided to revert to the national language restriction. However, special dispensation was given to Germany and Belgium as their national song selection procedures were already too advanced to change.

In 1999, the rule was changed again to allow the choice of language once more. This linguistic allowance led to the Belgian entry in 2003, "Sanomi", being sung in an entirely fictional language. In 2006 the Dutch entry, "Amambanda", was sung partly in English and partly in an artificial language. In 2008, again a Belgian entry, "O Julissi" was made in an imaginary language.

Since the re-introduction of this language rule, several countries have chosen to sing their songs in a mix of languages, often including English and the national language of the country. Prior to that, several songs (such as Croatia's "Don't Ever Cry" in 1993, Austria's "One Step" and Bosnia and Herzegovina's "Goodbye" in 1997) had the title and a line of the song in a foreign language (mostly English).

The country that used the most languages in a song is "Liubi, Liubi, I Love You" that was sung by the group Todomondo, that represented Romania in the 2007 Contest. The song was sung in 6 different language, Romanian, English, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian.

Order Language First
Country First performer First song
1 Dutch 1956  Netherlands Jetty Paerl "De vogels van Holland"
2 German 1956  Switzerland Lys Assia "Das alte Karussell"
3 French 1956  Belgium Fud Leclerc "Messieurs les noyés de la Seine"
4 Italian 1956  Italy Franca Raimondi "Aprite le finestre"
5 English 1957  United Kingdom Patricia Bredin "All"
6 Danish 1957  Denmark Birthe Wilke & Gustav Winckler "Skibet skal sejle i nat"
7 Swedish 1958  Sweden Alice Babs "Lilla stjärna"
8 Luxembourgish 1960  Luxembourg Camillo Felgen "So laang we's du do bast"
9 Norwegian 1960  Norway Nora Brockstedt "Voi Voi"
10 Spanish 1961  Spain Conchita Bautista "Estando contigo"
11 Finnish 1961  Finland Laila Kinnunen "Valoa ikkunassa"
12 Serbian[see 1] 1961  Yugoslavia Ljiljana Petrović "Neke davne zvezde" (Неке давне звезде)
13 Croatian[see 1] 1963  Yugoslavia Vice Vukov "Brodovi"
14 Portuguese 1964  Portugal António Calvário "Oração"
15 Bosnian[see 1] 1964  Yugoslavia Sabahudin Kurt "Život je sklopio krug"
16 Slovene 1966  Yugoslavia Berta Ambrož "Brez besed"
17 Viennese 1971  Austria Marianne Mendt "Musik"
18 Maltese 1971  Malta Joe Grech "Marija l-Maltija"
19 Irish 1972  Ireland Sandie Jones "Ceol an Ghrá"
20 Hebrew 1973  Israel Ilanit "Ey Sham" (אי שם)
21 Greek 1974  Greece Marinella "Krasi, Thalassa Kai T' Agori Mou"
(Κρασί, θάλασσα και τ' αγόρι μου)
22 Turkish 1975  Turkey Semiha Yankı "Seninle Bir Dakika"
23 Arabic 1980  Morocco Samira Bensaid "Bitaqat Khub" (بطاقة حب)
24 Icelandic 1986  Iceland ICY "Gleðibankinn"
25 Romansh 1989  Switzerland Furbaz "Viver senza tei"
26 Neapolitan 1991  Italy Peppino di Capri "Comme è ddoce 'o mare"
27 Corsican 1993  France Patrick Fiori "Mama Corsica"
28 Estonian 1994  Estonia Silvi Vrait "Nagu merelaine"
29 Romanian 1994  Romania Dan Bittman "Dincolo de nori"
30 Slovak 1994  Slovakia Tublatanka "Nekonečná pieseň"
31 Lithuanian 1994  Lithuania Ovidijus Vyšniauskas "Lopšinė mylimai"
32 Hungarian 1994  Hungary Friderika Bayer "Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet?"
33 Russian 1994  Russia Youddiph "Vyechniy stranik" (Вечный стрaнник)
34 Polish 1994  Poland Edyta Górniak "To nie ja"
35 Vorarlbergish 1996  Austria Georg Nussbaumer "Weil's dr guat got"
36 Breton 1996  France Dan Ar Braz "Diwanit Bugale"
37 Macedonian 1998  Macedonia Vlado Janevski "Ne zori, zoro" (Не зори, зоро)
38 Samogitian 1999  Lithuania Aistė "Strazdas"
39 Styrian 2003  Austria Alf Poier "Weil der Mensch zählt"
40 Imaginary 2003  Belgium Urban Trad "Sanomi"
41 Latvian 2004  Latvia Fomins & Kleins "Dziesma par laimi"
42 Catalan 2004  Andorra Marta Roure "Jugarem a estimar-nos"
43 Ukrainian 2004  Ukraine Ruslana "Wild Dances"
44 Võro 2004  Estonia Neiokõsõ "Tii"
45 Montenegrin 2005  Serbia and Montenegro No Name "Zauvijek moja"
46 Albanian 2006  Albania Luiz Ejlli "Zjarr e ftohtë"
47 Tahitian 2006  Monaco Séverine Ferrer "La Coco-Dance"
48 Bulgarian 2007  Bulgaria Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankoulov "Water"
49 Czech 2007  Czech Republic Kabát "Malá dáma"
50 Armenian 2007  Armenia Hayko "Anytime You Need"
51 Romani 2009  Czech Republic "Aven Romale"

Source: The Diggiloo Thrush

Proponents and opponents of the allowance of language rule

Proponents of this rule state that singing in English is more appealing and brings more votes from other candidates, and many countries achieved success singing in English. Sweden, Norway and Finland have already won at least one time the ESC singing in English. On the other side, many intellectuals, mainly from the southern European countries state that singing in English is a depreciation of their own culture. French legislator François-Michel Gonnot have already criticized the French television and launched an official complaint on the French Parliament, as the song which represented France in 2008 was sung in English. "French Singer Stirs Storm". 2008.   (English)


  1. ^ a b c At the time, the language spoken in Yugoslavia was called Serbo-Croatian, and these entries were sung in it. The term Croatian came into use during the seventies; Serbian and Bosnian evolved politically in the 1990s (see Serbo-Croatian for more details). Strictly speaking, the first post-breakup entries can be considered the first for the respective languages: "Ljubim te pesmama" for Serbian in 1992, "Sva bol svijeta" for Bosnian in 1993, and "Don't Ever Cry" for Croatian, also in 1993.




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