English has been the dominant language at Eurovision ever since 1999 — when the EBU finally allowed countries to sing in whatever language they wanted. In fact, over the past 19 years, only two songs sung in a language other than English have won — 2007’s “Molitva” (Serbian) and 2017’s “Amar pelos dois” (Portuguese).
But Salvador Sobral’s triumph last year has clearly encouraged songwriters throughout Europe to give English a bit of a rest and to work their Mother Tongues, This year we have 13 songs out of 43 sung entirely in some other language. We haven’t had that many since 2013.
So, as you brush up on your Albanian, French, Georgian, Greek, Hungarian and more, we want you to name your favourite non-English song of 2018. You can listen to all of the songs below and then vote for your favourite. You can vote for as many songs as you would like but remember: you can only vote once. Be sure to tick the box next to each act you want to support before pressing submit.
Non-English Songs at Eurovision 2018
Albania: “Mall” – Eugent Bushpepa
This is the 15th Albanian entry at Eurovision, but only their fifth sung entirely in Albanian. It’s also their first since 2013. The title of the song can be translated to “Yearning” and the song is about exactly that — wanting something so bad that it burns.
Armenia: “Qami” – Sevak Khanagyan
Three previous entries from Armenia — in 2007, 2008 and 2009 — have contained lyrics partly in Armenian, but “Qami” is the first entry sung entirely in the national language. The title translates to “Wind”.
Estonia: “La Forza” – Elina Nechayeva
Estonia is singing in Italian for the first time, but their neighbours in Latvia did the same back in 2007. The title “La Forza” translates as “The Force” and discusses the power of destiny.
France: “Mercy” – Madame Monsieur
It comes as no surprise that France sings in their native language, as they have done so almost every year since 1956. This year’s title is a bit of a play on words as “Mercy” is a name that can be misheard as merci (thank you). This relates strongly to the themes of the song — the opportunity to build a new life in a new country and the mercy the universe has on those lucky enough to survive the dangers of migration.
Georgia: “For You” – Iriao
Georgian has only been heard once before in Eurovision, during the opening of Georgia’s entry in 2012 from Anri Jokhadze. So this is the first time we get to hear a song sung entirely in Georgian, even though the title is in English. Georgia is the second of the Caucasus countries to sing in its native language this year, Armenia being the other.
Greece: “Oneiro Mou” – Yianna Terzi
Greece has mostly sung in English since 2001, though some of its entries have contained a mixture of English and Greek. This year’s Greek entry is only the second to be sung entirely in Greek, the other one being “Opa!” from 2010. The title “Oneiro Mou” translates to “My Dream”.
Hungary: “Vizlát Nyár” – AWS
This is the second year in a row that the entry from Hungary is sung in Hungarian and the fourth time since 2005. The title “Vizlát nyár” translates to “Goodbye Summer”.
Italy: “No Mi Avete Fatto Niente” – Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro
Italy has never had an entry in Eurovision without Italian lyrics, though we’ve had some entries with a mixture of English and Italian. This year is no exception as Italy’s “No Mi Avete Fatto Niente” is entirely in Italian. The title can be translated to “You Didn’t Do Anything To Me”.
Montenegro: “Inja” – Vanja Radovanovic
Of Montenegro’s ten entries at Eurovision, this is the sixth sung in Montenegrin and the first in that language since 2015. Montenegro also sang in Serbian and Montenegrin when it competed under the flag of Serbia & Montenegro. The title “Inje” can be translated to “Frost”.
Portugal – “O Jardim” – Cláudia Pascoal
Portugal is another country that has always sung in its native language. On three occasions Portugal included lyrics in English — in 2003, 2005 and 2006 — but those were only fragments. And as the host country this year, Portugal saw no reason to switch to English for the first time. The title “O Jardim” translates to “The Garden”.
Serbia: “Nova Deca” – Sanja Ilic & Balkanika
This is their first Serbian-language song since 2013. Prior to that, the Balkan country had only sung in Serbian. Their 2018 entry is the eighth entry to be sung in Serbian (out of eleven entries). The title “Nova Deca” can be translated as “New Children”.
Slovenia: “Hvala, Ne!” – Lea Sirk
Since 1999 Slovenia has sent ten songs in English, seven in Slovenian and two with a mixture of both. The title “Hvala, ne!” translates to “Thanks, but no thanks”. This is Slovenia’s first entry since 2012 to be sung entirely in Slovenian.
Spain: “Tu Canción” – Amaia & Alfred
Spain has utilised its own language for the vast majority of their entries. While most have been solely in Spanish, some (such as Ruth Lorenzo’s “Dancing in the Rain”) have thrown in some English. Only one song — 2016’s “Say Yay!” — was sung entirely in English. The title “Tu Canción” translates as “Your Song”.