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The English Language and Music...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Matt Till, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Why is it that all these bands are popping out of countries I've never heard of... and they're all speaking English. Especially metal bands, I can't even pronouce the band names, but they speak English.
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000

    Nah, you probably heard of Brazil. ;)

    Examples, though?
  3. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Pretty much every single band to come out of Europe and cross over to America. All those Viking metal bands coming out of the Netherlands.

    I mean, it's clearly no coincidence that these bands are getting recognition in America, and speaking English, but does a band decided at day one "Ok, our songs are going to be in english."

    What's the primary language of Sweden? I mean there is a language known as "Swedish."
  4. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    Actually, on that note... what about Sepultura. I've talked to a few people from Brazil... aparently you have to learn English to get a job, more or less. It's taught very heavily. I know Sepultura does occasionally kick into their native language (which I think sounds cooler.. it's metal... who cares about lyrics. ;) ) Does Brazil not have a metal scene of any kind, so they figured English their ticket out.

    It's hard for me to grasp this. Not to turn this political (please don't go with this)... but it seems like the rest of the world has to conform to American standards, or be pushed aside. (pretend I didn't say that... just stating my purpose on starting this thread... not for debate).
  5. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Being from Brazil, I can tell you there's a massive metal movement in Brazil. Both Portuguese and English speaking, tho.

    You're right, English is an important language there and it's taught in schools, but no one's ever become fluent in English learning it in school. It's not that vital, although it's a big plus.

    It has nothing to do with conforming to anything. English is the international lingua franca and so, anyone who wants to have an international career has a better chance in succeeding if they sing in English.

    Yes, Portuguese is an amazing language to sing in, but it's not as easy as English.
  6. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003

    um...wanna try that again. :rolleyes:
  7. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Don't be so hard on him. He's american. :D

    Wait...so am I. :eyebrow:
  8. The English language is most commercially acceptable and of course, the goal of many musicians is to be heard by as many people as possible.

    Granted, I'm a New Yorican and English is pretty much my main language, I'm relatively certain though that most bands out there, like you mentioned, European metal bands, do this to just reach a more broad demographic.
  9. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    I give... what's the right answer?
  10. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Dammit: I didn't mean the netherlands... I meant Sweden, Norway, and Finland... that area. When they are group together... what are they called?

    It's been a long time since I failed geography... :(

    AHA! I just got it Scandinavian countries!!! *happy dance*

    P.S. I made this edit before Mark posted... I swear... well, not this one, but the edit before the P.S. ... the AHA! Edit.
  11. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    In Scandanavia and most European countries most people are taught English from an early age. In fact I believe in Finland people are taught four languages from pretty much early age.

    Its hardly surprising that they would choose to use English as the way of communicating their music as it gives it a wider audience. America and Australia are pretty rare countries in that there is no need to speak another language because no one you are likely to meet won't speak English in your day to day life. If you live in Europe or South America life's not so easy! :D
  12. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    It really is a bummer that so many other countries feel an obligation to drop their own language for English.
    What's more is that here in Japan it's considered to be so cool to mix English in with the Japanese, but the pronuciations, meanings and usage differ from English so much that it ends up serving only as a help to people not interested in learning the other language, all the while complicating the learning process for those who actually hope to attain proficiency in their new chosen language.
  13. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Indeed, in Scandinavia English is taught from an early age on. Also, they use English in their lyrics, not mainly for the US and Australia, but to be understood in the rest of Europe. Most Europeans (especially the younger generation) speak a fair amount of English.

    edit, oh, and The Netherlands mainly breed whiny gothicbands :D
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - I've met many people from Scandinavia and their English is always excellent - often better than people brought up in England!! ;)

    I travel around Europe and almost never need to speak anything other than English - in fact it's a real surprise when I get stuck with something I don't understand as in the last 10 years or so of travelling in Europe I've always been able to talk to somebody in English.

    So just before last Christmas we went to Madrid for a short break and it was really surprising to explore and then go into Restaurants where nobody spoke English - I just had to guess and point at things from the menu!! ;)

    Back to the original question - one of my cousins married a Swedish woman and at the Wedding there were large numbers of Swedish prople and only with the grandparents was there any difficulty in holding a conversation in English.

    Two friends of mine have married women from Scandinavia as well - one from Sweden and one from Finland and their English is immaculate no misunderstandings - one of my other cousins lives in Denmark and loves it - no problems with language! :)
  15. This is an ongoing debate also in Sweden. One thing you have not brought up is that singing in a foreign language is a way to distance yourself from the lyrics. A Swede singing bad lyrics in Swedish is embarrassing but singing the same bad lyrics in English is quite alright to a Swedish audience. Many Swedes find it easier to write in English because they feel when writing in Swedish it becomes too personal. Some bands sing in Swedish though and I think they get a closer connection with their audience, but of course they are disqualified for an international career.

    Yes, but there are five other official minority languages as well in Sweden. Finnish, Sami, Meänkieli, Romani, Jiddish. I would think 95% speak Swedish though.
  16. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
  18. Well, there were some vikings in the Netherlands at one point, but not too many :p

    And Vorago is quite right(sadly) about the whining Goths.

    a good Dutch artist that sings in English is Anouk.
    I think they're probably singing English because that's where the inspiration comes from, English bands. If you're listening to the Beatles or Stones all day and you're off to write music, you'll probably write in English.

    Besides Dutch wouldn't be a language most people outside of the Netherlands would like to hear, it's not really err.. musical and pretty imo

    The Distance between Amsterdam(Dutch capital) to Copenhagen(Danish capital(the most southern Scandinavian country)) is about 800 KM by car. In european terms, that means not that close but doable
  19. By the way, don't Americans get topography at school? I had to learn the location of about 30 American cities out of my head. not that it'd matter because what use is it anyway if i won't be visiting the states(i will be, but tons of people won't), but I just wonder
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well - according to the Scandinavian tourist board :


    it includes :

    Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.