Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Best Thing of Today: What English Sounds Like to Foreigners

I like this thing a whole lot. It's so good, it puts SNL sketches to shame. The premise of this piece is to show what English sounds like to foreigners. The caption on this video reads: "An Italian singer wrote this song with gibberish to sound like English. If you've ever wondered what other people think Americans sound like, this is it."

Only, it's not just any Italian singer who's making the point. It's musical giant and performance artist par excellence Adriano Celentano. I'm partial to Celentano as he is one of the very few modern Italian artists whose work, for the most park, begs for my continued attention. And if you have seen Fellini's filmic masterpiece La Dolce Vita, you will have also seen a very young Celentano sing and dance a-la-Elvis. If you haven't experienced La Dolce Vita, do so.

This is simply a genius exercise in phonetics, culture, artistic mannerisms, and parody. I never saw this growing up so, tip of the hat to todaysbigthing for making me aware of it.

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Zoe said...

"Senta, professore. Come mai ha scritto una canzona con delle strano parole che non dicono niente?"

HAHA! I'm afraid I'll spend the rest of the day playing this over and over and over again. Celentano is a true artist. In his day, the artist did so much, sing, dance, improvise, comedy, film and I miss seeing that in this day and age.

Genius, I agree. Thanks for this. Brightened the day.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Is this from the 70's? I've seen it three times already. Interesting things are happening here form a socio-cultural perspective but I'll just focus on enjoying the sketch for now.

Sra said...

Catchy. That's pretty good, it sounds Americanish to me. My dad once told me about a foreign business associate who did not know English but was able to imitate the sound of it. I actually used to do the same thing with German before I started to learn it, back in junior high. I convinced several of my classmates that I was fluent, when I didn't actually speak a word. But I am pretty good with phonology. So interesting, how languages have distinct sounds as a whole.

Dana said...

It's contagious! Also played it a few times. People tend to learn a language better and faster if they have the natural ability to 'imitate' its sound first.

Anonymous said...

This is dated but a goodie. I often say, I can sound French and Portuguese but I speak German. :) Has Celentano done any movies recently?

Will said...

I dig this!

aflo said...

Questo video e' fantastico!