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lyrics or spoken words that are not in English

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BaldFriede View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 22 2018 at 06:48
You often hear words in other languages than English on albums, even if most of the lyrics are in English. Sometimes one is lucky and speaks that language or at least knows enough of it to understand these words, but often this is not the case.

This thread is to help the people who don't understand these words, either by giving them the opportunity to ask about a certain passage or by explaining such a passage.

I will give an example:

On the 3rd track of "Made in Germany" by Amon Düül 2, "Wilhelm Wilhelm",  Renate Knaup speaks German words between some of the English lines.

The first time she says "Mensch Willi, du bis' doch knorke, warum besuchst de mir nich ma?". This is in the dialect of German spoken in Berlin and means "Well, Willi, you are really cool, why don't you visit me some time?", but a few explanations have to be made here. "Mensch" actually is German for "man" (in the sense of "human being", not in the sense of "male person"). However, at the beginning of a sentence the meaning of this word rather is like the English "Well" at the beginning of sentences. She says "mir" instead of the grammatically correct "mich". This is typical for the Berlin dialect; it is the only German dialect in which the dative is used instead of the accusative. "Knorke" is a word from the Berlin dialect which could best be translated as "cool" in the sense of "good". The origin of this word is not completely clear; however, the German female cabaret artist Claire Waldoff claimed she had invented it (she liked to tell an anecdote about how the word came up). The word is first known to be used in 1916. "De" is Berlin dialect for "Du", "German for "you".

The second time Renate Knaup says "Mensch Willi, ick lieb' dir so sehr", which again is Berlin dialect and means "Well Willi, I love you so much". Note that she says "dir", which is dative, instead of the grammatically correct accusative "dich"; again this is the Berlin way of using the dative instead of the accusative. She also says "ick" instead of "ich" meaning "I".  "Ick", sometimes "icke", is Berlin dialect for "I". The "Willi" referred to here is of course Kaiser William (German "Wilhelm"); "Willi" is colloquial for "Wilhelm".

You can see that a lot of meaning is in these two simple phrases, meaning which is quite common knowledge for native German speakers, but which is by far not common for non-native speakers. I had to explain these two phrases to Jean, though her German is excellent.

Edited by BaldFriede - February 22 2018 at 06:56

BaldJean and I; I am the one in blue.
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moshkito View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2018 at 07:13


I guess I was a bit lucky, born in Portugal, went to Brazil and then the US ... and in a house of literature, mostly Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilian, and a lot of Italian and French (the latin based languages), I got to see this first hand in the differences between the Portuguese that is spoken/written in Brazil and then the same thing in Portugal, and while they are basically the same, they are so different that understanding what was said, has the same similar details that you mention on that one piece. Portugal is small and has mostly one dialect, but Brazil has about 4 or 5 dialects, depending on where you are where this is likely to be found, as you mention.

That same subtlety, btw, is also present in the Edgar Froese book about Tangerine Dream, where you can tell that the translation into English is ... amiss ... not on the spot, and the comment comes off as softened a lot more than it likely should/could be ... but at least the flavor is still there for me, as a FOREIGNER that is aware of different languages, and someone else that might not ... this subtlety is easily visible in my artist/sister in Paris, when talking to us, for example, and in myself, when talking to my own brothers and sisters ... they do not always pick up the nuances that come across (probably the same for me the other way!), that I would be able to explain if asked.

But the main issue that we have heard/had over the last 45 years, starting out with Guy Guden and Space Pirate Radio (ran for almost 25 years!), was that (for me!) a lot of the languages were not a problem, and I enjoyed it all the same ... as if I knew what it was about, and what they were saying, since for me, the FEELING would stand up a lot more than the precise words ... and this is an issue I have with the current rock fans, sometimes taking up the words seriously, and thinking that is what the song is about ... as if Stairway to Heaven, the music itself, had anything to do with the lyrics, except that Robert made a point of being as strong as he could to match the guitars, and keep the poetic edge alive.

Thus, hearing AD2, Ange, Le Orme, some Spanish bands, and then sp,e Sadistic Mika Band, do its thing in Japanese, it became for me an enjoyment that NEVER has taken the personality of those bands away from them and let some fan comments hurt the totality of the work, which for me is not fair ... you and I do not sit here and say that the red brush stroke that Picasso used in Guernica was horrible and the fudging pits and annoying!

There were times, when I wanted to know what the words in "Deutsche Nepal" were ... and in a couple of other songs, so I would feel I know AD2 better than I do, but in the end, I feel like I don't need to ... I don't think that it does not say, or think, anything else that the band had not said or did not say after it ... that helped create the amazing artistry that their curriculum shows, that is so under-apreciated by rock fans, that just want this or that ... in their song ... when it's not even about the artistry any more.

To me, that has become the part that ... it's OK ... there is no need to translate and to specify this or that ... you are allowed to use that bit of make up, or not as you see fit, and I still accept the person for who the band/you are ... and to me, that is quite a treat and nice ... you get to see/feel the person even when you don't know them, and will never meet.

I do live (probably too much!) off those moments, I have to admit ... they are beauty personified, because it is in that special second that the person behind it is truely alive on a stage and/or in front of the camera ... the feel and the touch, can not even be done again more often than not, because it just won't come off right!

... none of the hits, none of the time ... now you know what the inner art is all about!
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micky View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote micky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2018 at 09:16
wooo hooo.. .thanks Pedro...  you rule

*Pedro drinking game in play*

this fresh Guinness Extra Stout goes in....

gulp.. gulp...

2 swigs
I find your lack of Bassoon disturbing.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote octopus-4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2018 at 02:48
Dream Theater: "Ora che ho perso la vista,ci vedo di piu'". It's Italian and means, "Now that I'm blnd, I see better".
There's something similar on the Guilt Machine album where an Italian lady says something at the end of the album but I donb't remember what it was.
In Vangelis "See You Later" there a long speech of the Italian duo "Krisma" about an apocaliptic post-nukes extra-polluted world. Non italian speakers must be grateful of not understanding it...

Curiosity killed a cat, Schroedinger only half.
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Matti View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matti Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2018 at 03:28
OK, is Keishiro or someone around to say what the Japanese girl is saying in 'Twilight' from the VANGELIS album The City (1990)?
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Booba Kastorsky View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Booba Kastorsky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 27 2018 at 16:13
Kraftwerk , The Robots. They say: "Ja tvoj sluga, ja tvoj rabotnik", which means in Russian "I'm your servant, I'm your worker".
The word "robot" was invented in science fiction play by the Czech writer Karel ČapekR.U.R.
Robot came from Czech word "robota" that means means "work" in a few Slavic languages, including Russian.

Also, Kraftwerk in Nummern (Computer World) count in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Russian.
Besides, Kraftwerk recorded some of their hits in different languages:
- Les Mannequins & Showroom Dummies
- Das Model & The Model
- Computerliebe & Computer Love, etc. 
I prefer their German versions! :) They sound more organic. 

Edited by Booba Kastorsky - February 27 2018 at 16:30
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