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Language police slam 'English' Eurovision song

George Mills · 12 Mar 2014, 10:52

Published: 12 Mar 2014 10:52 GMT+01:00

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Spain's normally reclusive Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) has taken the unusual step of talking popular culture.

Based in Madrid, the institution charged with safeguarding the Spanish language usually limits its complaints to thorny linguistic matters.

But RAE president José Manuel Blecua recently wrote to Spanish national broadcaster RTVE to express his "concern" about English lyrics in the country's 2014 Eurovision entry Dancing in the Rain.

The power ballad — to be performed by Ruth Lorenzo — contains both Spanish and English lyrics while the chorus is entirely English. 

In his letter, Blecua stressed the RAE "wanted to be discreet" but couldn't ignore "a situation like this" given that Spanish has over 500 million speakers worldwide, sources told Spanish news agency EFE.

Those same sources said the academy president had sent the letter after several Latin American countries queried the song choice.

It is not yet clear whether Lorenzo will sing the song in English, in Spanish, or in a combination of the two.

Three versions have apparently been recorded, according to Spain's ABC newspaper.

Story continues below…

But one thing is clear: the multilingual version of Dancing in the Rain has been a great success in Spain.

Lorenzo, a former UK X Factor contestant who has lived in both the US and the UK, beat out four other hopefuls at the recent national finals with the song, with both professional judges and viewers giving her the thumbs up.

The song also topped the iTunes charts in Spain.
The use of English as a lingua franca is common at the Eurovision Song Contest, and Dancing in the Rain is not the first Spanish Eurovision entry to include English lyrics.
In 2007, D'Nash performed I Love You Mi Vida while Rosa López sang Europe's living a celebration in 2002.
The 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 10th.

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George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

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