Ha! What English sounds like to those who don't speak it!

I listen to a lot of foreign-language music and don’t understand the lyrics, so this is a fascinating and hilarious look/listen at how English must sound to those who don’t speak it.

As it says on the blog:

I can’t access this at work, but I’ll have a listen at home.

I remember on the Tonight show when an actor (I recall it being Ricardo Montalban, but others have held it to be someone else) said that to Spanish-speaking people, English sounds like Dogs Barking. He then gave a rendition of “Fake English by a Spanish Speaker”. I have to admit that it had the cadence and general effect of English. And it did remind me of barking dogs.

So basically we all sing kinda like Elvis.

That was…weird. And actually kind of catchy! But definitely weird.


I have a thing where I can’t follow lyrics in songs. My brain just automatically ignores the words as being irrelevant. The sound sounds normal to me, which I guess means that he succeeded. But of course it means that it doesn’t sound funny to me at all.

Not a bad song though.

That’s pretty cool. To me it sounds like English, just doesn’t have any (or has very few) recognizable words.

Heh…very catchy, and just short of being understandable. In other words, it could chart right now!

It definitely brought this Onion story to mind.

One thing that helps is he did a pretty good job of singing the gibberish with an American accent. Getting the right sounds for the vowels is a big part of making it convincing. Since it is a rock song, he could be even more convincing by not speaking clearly. It’s hard enough to understand real English lyrics sometimes.

I found myself inserting real words. Especially the “all right” but even throughout the song I was mentally writing words to it. Up and coming generational song.

That is hilarious!When doing an “American” accent, all the Brits I know automatically do a western drawl so I guess Italians perceive us that way too.

Kinda sounds like someone who mumbles karaokeing a James Brown song.

Sounds like Bob Dylan.

Reminds me of the fake Spanish Chris Tucker was yelling in Friday.

That’s actually rather charming. :slight_smile:

Not bad. I’d also suggest theclosing theme from WKRP in Cincinatti.

Glad you all like it! I was delighted when I found it. I love the dancing too.

I also agree that it’s a very catchy song and could be a chart hit. I love that Onion article, and the WKRP link (thanks kunilou).

That what The Cocteau Twins used to do. Before she started singing real lyrics, Elizabeth Fraser would just make up words. It was pretty wonderful, and I treated them like foreign language songs, would sing along phonetically.

Here’s a beautiful example, very pretty song too: Pandora. One of those types of songs is used in The Lovely Bones trailer, called Alice, which was originally in the film Stealing Beauty. And oh hell, as long as I’m now on a Cocteau Twins kick, here are a few more. Aikea Guinea. Carolyn’s Fingers. Pitch The Baby. Pearly Dew Drops Drops. Cicely. The Thinner The Air. Millimillenary. Here’s a couple of English-language songs. “Song To The Siren” (Tim Buckley cover) by Elizabeth/This Mortal Coil

So, it’s Bob Dylan, you’re saying?

That’s great. I intend to play that in the background for guests, then ask them what they thought of the lyrics.

I recounted ages ago what my Welsh-speaking friend said, aged 5, about how English people sounded like to her: “shing shelane a home on all a daze.”

That was a good tune and the video was pretty cool too. I definitely would have believed it was English if you told me it was, but I couldn’t understand it.

If the writer didn’t understand a lick of English, I’m impressed. The cadences and the phonetic catalog are spot on. Mostly, at least. At times I couldn’t tell if a little strangeness in enunciation were due to the singer’s native accent coming through, or affectations of something like Dylan.