Here’s a question: Do y’all listen to music in another language besides your first? If so, why?
I’ll answers these two questions myself. To the first, yes. On my iPod, I have a song in Hebrew, a song in French, a song in Russian, some Italian arias, a song in medieval Latin, and at least ten songs in Spanish. Of course, English still dominates because it is my first—and currently only—language. The odd part is my inclination to listen and enjoy these songs over English ones.
I guess I’m just used to it. My first language is a constant and essential presence. Heck, I wouldn’t be able to play video games or blog without it. But, it’s becoming vanilla to me, good but too plain for my growing interests. That’s the main reason why I listen to songs in other languages. Personally, the most accessible is Spanish. I live in Texas, and picking up words is almost inevitable. Then, there’s its connection to my dancing. I cannot imagine a salsa or bachata in any other language but Spanish. There’s something conveyed there that I believe would be lost if it was translated into English.
Speaking of which, I’m sure my readers had to read classics during their schooling. Maybe you read Crime and Punishment, Homer’s Iliad, or some Shakespeare (assuming English is not your first language). The tension for any translator is preserving the original text as much as possible while rendering it accessible. Unfortunately, each language seems to have subtle, artistic intricacies that are lost in the process.
I can feel those intricacies as I choose to participate. I definitely think it’s a reason why some books and musical pieces are timeless. They can reach across the language barrier and significantly move you. One of the best parts of my recent vacation was listening to Italian. I’d stay silent and listen to our guide answer the phone, count the number of people in the tour, greet their countrymen, etc. The cadence is unforgettable. It’s my favorite sung language, too. When words fail me, I put in my ear-buds and listen to the music of different ones.