IS ENGLISH THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF MUSIC?
Each May since 1956 people from across Europe and around the world have
gathered around their televisions with friends and family for an extended
evening of international entertainment: The Eurovision Song Contest. For one
night every year our continent, rich with languages and cultures, is united by
music. With up to 27 finalists and 200 million viewers, the competition may be a
fun event but perhaps it’s not the shared celebration of European language and
cultural diversity that it could be. In the first ten years of Eurovision, the UK and
Ireland were the only two countries to sing in English. Now English is what we
expect. Is it that English is becoming, or has become the official language of
From high streets in Hungary to supermarkets in Sweden, from bus stops in
Bulgaria to parks in Poland, people listen to English-language music
everywhere. And people don’t just listen, they sing it too! From sporting events
in Spain to nightclubs in Norway, from concerts in Croatia to fitness classes in France, people sing along to popular songs in their everyday lives, in English.
English is an international language spoken by over 1 billion people worldwide.
Therefore, it is not a surprise that so many musicians make music in English. Of
course, music makes money and more listeners make more money. Then
again, perhaps English simply sounds better. According to Ragnar
Thorhallsson, singer and guitarist with the Icelandic indie band ‘Of Monsters
and Men’, his language is harsh. He thinks that English is simpler and is easier
to make rhymes. Could this be true?
Let’s consider that although English-language music is everywhere, music is not
everything. As long as we continue to learn, to speak, to appreciate and to love,
diversity shall prosper.
1. Are these sentences true or false according to the text? Please write
“True” or “False” next to each sentence and justify your answers by
QUOTING THE RELEVANT EVIDENCE FROM THE TEXT:
a. Just two countries sing in English at present Eurovision Song contest.
b. French people sing in English while they practice sport.
KEY: F In the first ten years of Eurovision, the UK and Ireland were the only two countries to sing in English. Now English is what we expect. Is it that English is becoming, or has become the official language of music?
T And people don’t just listen, they sing it too! From sporting events in Spain to nightclubs in Norway, from concerts in Croatia to fitness classes in France, people sing along to popular songs in their everyday lives, in English.
2. Answer the following questions according to the facts from the text,
but USING YOUR OWN WORDS:
a. What does Eurovision Song contest mean for Europeans?
b. Why is English language widely used by musicians?
3. Find words or synonyms in the text with these meanings.
a. come together in a group: ____________________
b. a place where the most important shops and businesses in a town
c. anything that happens, especially something important or unusual:
d. difference, variety: ____________________
b. high street
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