It’s no secret that Ed Sheeran wrote his latest album while travelling the world and soaking up different cultures and styles of music. But he went further than that. He also isn’t afraid to delve into the world of languages either. What’s most impressive is his commitment to getting the foreign lyrics and their pronunciation spot on, and he has previously said he would only sing in other languages if he could do it properly.
However, it’s not just on his latest album that he tries his hand at other languages, but in songs recorded before and after too. Take a look below!
Twi – “Boa Me” & “Bibia Be Ye Ye”
Last year Ed teamed up with Highlife and Afrobeats artist Fuse ODG to create a new track called “Boa Me”, where Sheeran sings the entire chorus in flawless Twi – a dialect from Ghana. The song was actually written at Fuse ODG’s house in Ghana with his friends, and Ed has described it as “probably the most fun I’ve had writing a song”. The song peaked at #52 in the UK charts. While it didn’t reach the top 40, this upbeat track is definitely worth a listen!
This actually isn’t even the first time that the Twi language has featured on an Ed Sheeran track! The song/lyrics “Bibia be ye ye” from the Deluxe version of his latest album ÷ (Divide), is also Twi, and means “all will be well”. Fuse ODG was also involved in the writing of this song which peaked at #18 on the UK chart.
Spanish – “Barcelona”
“Barcelona” is another song which appears on the Deluxe version of ÷ (Divide), and this time Ed takes on Spanish at the end of the song which includes the following lyrics:
Mi niña, te amo mi cariño
Sí tú, te adoro, señorita
Los otros, viva la vida
Siempre vida, Barcelona
In case you’re wondering, “Mamacita” roughly translates as “hot mama”!
This is another feel-good song which tries to incorporate the atmosphere in this amazing city. It charted at #12 in the UK charts.
Italian – Perfect Symphony
Spanish isn’t the only language from mainland Europe that Ed sings in! After the incredible success of “Perfect” (initially debuting at #4, before climbing to #3), and then “Perfect Duet” with Beyoncé which propelled the song to #1 in the charts, Sheeran collaborated with Italian legend Andrea Bocelli to create a more operatic version, known as “Perfect Symphony”. Bocelli translated part of the song into Italian but it’s not just him who sings the Italian, with Ed also joining in. Incidentally this is also the first song in which Ed collaborated with his brother Matthew, himself a classical composer, and whose string section appears on both this and the original version.
Gaelic – Thinking Out Loud
Ed is clearly in touch with his Irish roots, spending plenty of time across the Irish sea with his family, having some tattoos in Gaelic, and also musically with two Irish-influenced songs “Galway Girl” and “Nancy Mulligan” appearing on ÷. But he went even further back in 2015 by recording a Gaelic translation of one of his biggest hits “Thinking Out Loud”. It was recorded especially to be included on the album CEOL 2016, which was that year’s album from Conradh na Gaeilge (an organisation promoting the Irish language) and their Irish-language radio station Raidió Rí Rá, produced for “Irish week” (Seachtain na Gaeilge), featuring Gaelic tracks from the best Ireland has to offer.
The whole song is translated into, and sung in Gaelic, which I think we’ll all agree is pretty impressive! I’ll leave it up to native Gaelic speakers to let us know how good his pronunciation is, but I’m sure, as with the other songs, he wouldn’t have released it if he wasn’t able to get it right, as is his great professionalism and his respect for other languages and cultures.
Keep up the great work Ed!
Iceland, the land of ice and fire, counted 350,710 inhabitants in 2016. The crazy thing is that, last summer, Iceland hosted 2 million tourists. Why are there so many people willing to visit this Nordic island? Here are some pieces of information that might interest you.
Iceland has a very rich culture and a breath-taking scenery which appeals to any travel lovers. If you decide to go, expect to remain speechless all along. You’ll see mountains, glaciers (Europe’s largest glacier is in Iceland), rivers, waterfalls, craters, volcanoes, geysers, geothermal areas, hot springs, lagoons, icebergs, black sand beaches and more. What is crazy about visiting Iceland in summer time is that the sky remains bright all-night long. Indeed, the sun rises at around 3am and sets a little bit before midnight, allowing only a few hours of half-darkness. Let’s just say that it can be a bit disturbing… However, if you decide to go in winter time, you are more likely to see amazing northern lights and the land covered with a thick coat of snow. Two completely different worlds!
Iceland’s traditional dishes include lamb, fish and skyr (a yoghurt-like cheese).
If you love animals, you can expect to see sheep and Icelandic horses all around the country. Watch the sheep while driving, they are free! Also, Iceland’s only native mammal is the Arctic Fox.
Sport is an important part of Icelandic culture. The main traditional sport in Iceland is Glíma, a form of wrestling. Popular sports are handball, basketball and football. The Icelandic national football team qualified for the 2016 UEFA European football championship for the first time. Thus the 2018 FIFA World Cup is very important to Icelanders (I’ve heard 98% of Icelanders watched the games of their national team). Iceland has excellent conditions for skiing, fishing, snowboarding, ice climbing, rock climbing and hiking. Iceland is also one of the leading countries in ocean rowing, Icelandic rower Fiann Paul became the fastest ocean rower. He has claimed 24 Guinness World Records in total for Iceland. Swimming is also popular in Iceland, as geothermally heated outdoor pools are widespread, and swimming courses are a mandatory at school.
I hope you’ve learned a lot by reading this article and that you are already booking your flight to Reykjavic! Besides, one thing that you have to experience at least once in your life is a relaxing moment in the stunning Blue Lagoon.
International YOGA Day
Yesterday, 21st June, the day of the summer solstice, was the International yoga day. The date was chosen because it is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and a meaningful day all over the world. In India, it marks the transition to Dakshinayana and it is said that the first yogi, Adi Yogi, began imparting the knowledge of yoga to mankind on this day. The United Nations, recognising how popular yoga has become all over the world, proclaimed this date as the International Yoga day. For this year the theme is Yoga for Peace.
Let’s learn some terms!
Yoga – In Sanskrit it means “union” or “connection” and is used to indicate both a state of connection and a body of techniques that allow us to connect to something.
Asana – yoga poses or postures. This is what we refer to when we say that we take ‘yoga classes’. But it is only one aspect of yoga. Asana has the purpose of opening the energy channels and create balance in body and mind.
Chakra – Represents the energy centres in the body, located between the base of the spine and the crown of the head. We have 7 chakras and how we feel and where we are in life is reflected in these chakras. Therefore, having balanced chakras has a positive effect on people’s well-being.
Mantra – is a word, sound or phrase repeated either out loud or in the mind to make concentration easier while meditating.
Namaste – is an Indian greeting. In Sanskrit “Nama” means “bow”, “as” means “I” and “te” is “you”. When saying Namaste, people should bring their palms together in front of their heart or forehead and bow the head a little, closing their eyes. It is a custom to start and end a yoga class with Namaste.
Prana – is the life energy or life force in all living beings. The equivalent of Qi or Chi.
Sutras – a collection of teaching about yoga (“sutra” means literally “aphorism”) originated from the sage Patanjani. They describe the philosophical basis of yoga.
So now that you’ve been introduced to the basics, why not celebrate this day by attending yoga tester sessions like millions of people around the world?
The fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday. However today, the United States are going to celebrate their flag day, which was first created on June 14, 1777.
On that day the resolution read: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field representing a new constellation. ”
The first celebration of the U.S. flag’s birthday was held in 1877 on the 100th anniversary of the flag resolution. However, it is believed that the first recognition of the flag’s birthday dates back to 1885, when the school teacher, BJ Cigrand, organised a group of Wisconsin school children to observe June 14. Cigrand is now known as “Father of Flag Day”.
The anniversary of the flag resolution was officially established by the proclamation of the President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. However, the flag day is not considered as an official federal holiday, except for New York and Pennsylvania, which on June 1937 became the first U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday. On the other side, New York statutes designate the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday.
Flag Day parade
The 68th Annual Appleton Flag Day Parade was held on June 9, 2018. Appleton Wisconsin, claims indeed to be the oldest National Flag Day Parade in the nation, which is held annually since 1950. Nevertheless the oldest one probably takes place in Fairfield, Washington, that began in 1909 or 1910.
This year the Appleton parade was preceded by a patriotic concert and flags were handed out along the Parade route one hour before the Parade began.
Nowadays, Parades do not only celebrate the flag. They are also to celebrate the army, honouring men and women that are serving the army forces and also veterans.
If today you feel the Americanism in the air, do not forget the Danish Day Flag tomorrow 15th of June!
Are you aware of your country’s Flag Day?
Here few examples:
Italy: 7th of January
England: 23rd of April
Wales: 1st of March
Scotland: 30th of November
Romania: 26th of June
Canada: 15th of February
European Union: 9th of May
Lithuania: 1st of January
Moldova: 27th of April
Norway: 17th of May
Portugal: 1st of December
Ukraine: 23rd of August
The French open 2018
Roland Garros is almost here!
On the 21st May, some of the best will take to the clay courts to compete for the French Grand Slam title. Now, when it comes to clay, we’re always going to think it will be Rafael Nadal, but this year, who knows! Could it be the comeback year for Novak, will Roger take the title to add to this years Aussie open, or will Andy be fit enough to try and win his first French open title?Serena Williams is back from having a baby, and will be looking to get her title back! She has shown that her time away from the sport hasn’t slowed her down as she’s been on fire since returning.
So, how many of the players would have been familiar with French tennis vocabulary?
All should by now be familiar with the scoring system as it is called out after every point. But what about other vocabulary, such as the type of shots they were playing, or even the type of court they were playing on?
I thought it would be good to include a list of some important vocabulary related to the sport as, who knows, maybe one of the games stars will read this and find it useful! Or, perhaps more likely, it could come in handy to those studying the language, or could maybe be interesting to those who enjoy a game of tennis, or maybe a mixture of the two.
So here goes:
- le court de terre battue clay court
- le court en dur hard court
- le court en gazon grass court
- le filet net
- la ligne de fond baseline
- la ligne de service service line
- la balle de tennis tennis ball
- le carré de service service box
- le couloir alley, tramlines
- la raquette tennis racket
- un ace ace
- un amorti drop shot
- le coup droit forehand
- la deuxième balle second serve
- une double faute double fault
- un effet spin
- une faute fault, error, out
- un let let
- le lift topspin
- un lob lob
- le revers backhand
- le revers à deux mains two-handed backhand
- le service service, serve
- le slice slice
- un smash smash
- la volée volley
- la balle de break break point
- la balle de jeu game point
- la balle de match match point
- la balle de set set point
- un jeu décisif tie-breaker
and finally, a few verbs for you:
- donner de l’effet (à une balle) to put spin (on a ball)
- être au service to have the service, to be serving
- frapper to hit
- jouer to play
- prendre le service de quelqu’un to break someone’s serve
- servir to serve
- tenir le score to keep the score
Roland Garros women’s final is on June 9th, with the men’s final on June 10th- more than enough time to learn some helpful phrases to understand the umpire!
Signing up a birth
You might’ve seen my blog a few weeks ago about an Iranian couple who required an interpreter for the birth of their child. I’m sure anyone who has given birth or been a birth partner will say it is a scary and traumatic experience. You are hoping that everything runs as smoothly as possible, so a healthy baby arrives. Imagine being surrounded by healthcare professionals and not understanding them…
Luckily, interpreters are on hand to try and reassure the mum-to-be and birth partner with translations from the doctors and midwifes around them. The interpreters can explain what the midwifes expect to happen, if there are any complications. Same with the mum-to-be. She can voice her worries, feelings, pains to the midwifes. Though some things don’t need to be translated.
When you hear that cry from your baby, whatever the language, you know that for that moment, everything is ok. The baby is awake, and out! No interpreter needs to interpret a cry. It can be heard and understood in any language.
Well…. I’ve been watching more of One Born Every Minute (I have it on series link…). And another couple were in to deliver their baby and required an interpreter… a sign language interpreter! Both mum and dad were deaf and were delivering through caesarean. I was very interested in this birth as they wouldn’t be able to hear that cry from their baby… and with caesarean, you might not actually feel the moment your baby is born.
Delivering with signs
Mum and dad, through the sign language interpreter were able to voice their thoughts and feelings about the caesarean and went off to theatre to have their baby delivered. They hadn’t found out the gender of the baby and asked for the midwife to bring the baby around to them, so they could see rather be signed the gender.
The dad made a fair point. With sign language, everything is about sight and feelings – neither would be able to feel the birth due to the aesthetic, but they would be able to see the gender if the baby was brought around to them.
The interpreter did a wonderful job helping both mum and dad in theatre, and when the interpreter heard the baby cry, she immediately signed that over to the parents, so they knew their little one was born and was awake. You could see they were both overwhelmed when they were told, so their new adventure could begin with their baby.
This was probably a very special experience for the sign language interpreter as well! It’s not every day you get to tell a couple their baby has arrived!
Without this interpreter, the experience for mum and dad would’ve been unbearable. They were not able to understand their doctors, and their doctors not understanding them… Interpreters are needed for all sorts of situations in our lives – be it medical, legal, educational… the list goes on. Without them, the bridge between language would be vast. They are the hidden heroes of the world!
I still have a few more weeks of watching One Born Every Minute before my new adventure begins, so you might see another blog on this!!