Eurovision 2022: Belgium’s Jérémie Makiese at the Second Semi-Final — EBU/SARAH LOUISE BENNETT

Happy Eurovision, Language Lovers!

Well, didn’t that year pass by quickly? It’s only Eurovision Day again!

It’s no secret: a love of Eurovision and language learning always went hand in hand for me. The song contest was the main reason I became so captivated by the idea of foreign languages as a kid, so I have a lot to thank it for.

But of course, things have changed over the years. The language rule was relaxed in 1999, allowing countries to enter in languages other than their official ones. In practice, that meant English for almost everybody. That said, enough brave and proud souls still keep the languages coming. France, Italy, Portugal and Spain: I’m looking gratefully at you in particular!

Still, there are always a few extra tongues that sneak in each year. In fact, this year we’re spoilt, as the final will include:

  1. Breton (for the second time for France, the last being in 1996)
  2. Dutch (for the first time in a final since 1998)
  3. Icelandic (most recently featuring in 2019 and 2013)
  4. Italian
  5. Latin (in the Serbian song – the last time being the repeated word Lapponia in Finland’s 1977 entry)
  6. Lithuanian (for the first time since 1994 – unless you count Samogitian as a dialect, in which case 1999)
  7. Portuguese
  8. Romanian (thanks to Moldova)
  9. Serbian
  10. Spanish (including a little in Romania’s entry)
  11. Ukrainian

Now call me an optimist, but that’s pretty good going for a competition which no longer enforces a language rule. And if we’re including the semis, we also had Albanian, Croatian, Greek and Slovene in 2022. Thumbs up to all those countries proving that English language participation still isn’t a given, even after 23 years of the free language rule.

In any case, however you are marking this great day, have a wonderful, joyful Eurovision.

And enjoy the languages!

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