Phonetic translation

kylling-softice-poelser

The first generation of Danish rock musicians started out as fans of international stars, learning the songs by listening to the records. The lyrics they sang often were nonsense,  as they had been written down from the recordings by teenagers with only limited English skills. The sound of the words and the language was more important than the semantic meaning of the lyrics.

This practice was highlighted in the mid-1970s, when two bands, Shu-bi-dua and Bamses Venner, released debut albums that contained Danish versions of rock classics and contemporary international hits. Both bands employed phonetic translations, translating the sound of the words instead of the meaning. A well-known example is Shu-bi-dua’s Kylling med soft ice og pølser (Chicken with soft ice cream and sausages), which is the title of a Danish version of Roberta Flack’s Killing me softly with his song.

Kylling og softice og pølser/Chicken with soft ice cream and sausages
Det er min favourite menu/That’s my favorite menu
Mon der noget bedre/Surely there’s nothing better
End pølsegrillens røg/Than grilled sausage smoke
Og så en herlig hot-dogs med brutale løg/And then heavenly hotdogs with raw onions
To tykke og en kage/Two fat ones and a cake
Og godt med begge dele/And good both ways
Kylling og softice og pølser/Chicken with soft ice cream and sausages
Det er min favourite menu/That’s my favorite menu …

You can hear the song here.

This according to “Kylling med soft ice og pølser”: Populærmusikalske versioneringspraksisser i forbindelse med danske versioner af udenlandske sange i perioden 1945–2007 by Henrik Smith-Sivertsen, a dissertation accepted by Københavns Universitet, Institut for Kunst- og Kulturvidenskab in 2007.

BONUS: In 1972 Adriano Celentano’s Prisencolinensinainciusol (below) poked a stick in the ribs of Italian singers who pretended to speak and understand English. Celentano’s song consisted of nonsense lyrics that in many cases sound remarkably close to North American English speech.

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Filed under Curiosities, Humor, Popular music

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