What English sounds like to non-English speakers

[Snaps and thanks to Ryan and his RSS feeds for finding this gem.]

Explanation: It’s a 1972 song written by the Italian Adriano Celentano called “Prisencolinensinainciusol.” According to the Wikipedia gods, “The lyrics are pure gibberish, intended to sound like American English as heard by a non English-speaker.”

An article in the New Yorker describes the artist and this song quite nicely.

In the video, which is from Italian TV, the composer is a professor being asked by “his students” to explain his song… cue the dance scene and get out of the way. Watch out, it’s catchy…and wonderful. Turn up your speakers and enjoy. 🙂

Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!

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  1. eleena · January 4, 2010 Reply

    Loved the video! The “professor” bears an uncanny physical resemblance to Sascha Baron Cohen of “Bruno” and “Borat” fame. It’s like they were separated at birth! 🙂

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