What does English sound like to Italians? Listen to this 1972 pop song

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Fun song and very catchy. English and Spanish being my main languages i generally end up not listening to lyrics but how it sounds, so listening to this song is pretty great for me. It would be cool to see someone take the song and give it actual english lyrics though (:

Really you had me at Italian and 1972… that is just a mix that will be pure crazy magic.

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I love this song, and I was just trying to find it the other day with no success… thank you :smile:
I can’t help hearing lyrics about “the color boss died”.

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In the same vein, this still blows me away every time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybcvlxivscw


That is definitely going on my karaoke set list!


Wow, the previous post is even linked to in the Wikipedia article.

I prefer the “classroom” edition. Something about the swaying students does something for me. Also, “OLL RAIGTH”.

I know I’ve seen at least one version with approximated English subtitles. I’m not sure if it was this one:


Now THAT’s entertainment. Seriously.


to Czech speakers, English speakers sound like they have food in their mouth. In fact non-english speakers often have a hard time hearing the ends of words in English because English speakers tend to swallow them.
There is famous movie from the 40s with the actor Vlasta Burian pretending to talk english (with food in his mouth), as well as french “že nežere že papá, že nesere že kaká”.

BB posted this a year or two ago. I liked the song so much I found the album with it. Gibberish aside, its a good song. Love the horn.


There was a NPR segment I heard years ago asking why Swedish sounded so funny to English speakers, and then they played some people speaking Swedish…then a tape of English in reverse. The cadence and inflection were suddenly the same. Just to prove the point, they played the Swedish backwards, and it sounded like gibberish English.

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I love that this gets posted every couple years here.

Edit: actually it was Mark again last year and Cory several years ago.

But seriously, maybe you guys should have a [Prisencolinensinainciusol] tag to collect them all?


Just to be clear, was this intended to be how English (i.e. English English) sounds to Italians, or how American English sounds? Previous BB postings have implied the former, so I was surprised to see MentalFloss say otherwise.

Flying over trout?


Somehow I’m reminded that Italy in the 1970s also brought us the film Suspiria.


A swedish friend of mine recently visited me and she had the best description of what swedish must sound like to others. She described it as aliens speaking backwards, which taking your post in consideration was fairly close to the mark.

Listening to the clip of people speaking American-English-sounding gibberish reminded me of listening to children who were just learning to talk (in my case, English). They understand the language fairly well but can’t really produce it – have almost no vocabulary, maybe five words total – and they “talk” the same kind of gibberish, imitating intonation and cadence. It’s such a recognizable component of language, and yet (to my knowledge) not explicitly taught to second language learners.

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To be fair, many English songs sound like gibberish to me. And I speak English. As a first language. (Don’t let my improper sentence structure fool you).

It’s actually fairly well studied that baby babble – long before they have learned any words – is very language-specific. English babble vs Italian babble vs Hindi babble all sound different. Babies of deaf parents also babble in sign.

Related, by about 10 months of age is when babies have started to lose much of their ability to discriminate between similar sound that exist only in other languages, because they are learning to focus on their own.

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Loads of Italian in Polari - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8yEH8TZUsk