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6 languages, 1 singer, 1 signer [video]

| 17 comments | Category: particular languages, positive mentality

Now I can finally share this video with you – it combines clever ASL videos I keep seeing online that sign lyrics to songs (one example shared here), with my need to have the entire Internet hear me sing in as many languages as possible :P

I give you, 6 languages, 1 singer, 1 signer: (or 7 languages including ASL)

[If you liked this video, I'd really appreciate it if you would go to Youtube and give it a thumbs up & share it with your friends on Facebook!!]

In this video I sing 6 songs that are among the most well known ones for the languages I know best, while simultaneously signing the lyrics using ASL! I also added subtitle translations so you can understand what the songs you have likely heard some time before are actually about!

This demonstrates what I was discussing earlier in the week about ASL being so visual. I decided not to simply sign the lyrics directly (so you will notice some disagreement with what I’m signing and what the English translation of the song says), but to try to visually represent the song as best as I could.

I made sure to do the audio completely separately, so that I wouldn’t need to think about singing during the video. This also meant that I could sign differently to the lyrics and not get confused with English (or foreign language) word order. Although since I had only put a total of about 2 weeks into ASL at the time of recording, there are likely several mistakes :)

Sandra, who was helping me with my ASL over the last 2 weeks, helped me prepare the signs. Hopefully I remembered most of what she taught me when recording the video!

The songs are (in the order they appear in the video):

  • La camisa negra – Juanes (A recent pop song that has become popular internationally) [Spanish]
  • Poupée de cire, poupée de son – France Gall (Belgian winner of the 1965 Eurovision song contest) [French]
  • Buachaill Ón Eirne – Corrs (They didn’t write the song, but it’s a good candidate for internationally recognised song in Irish since it’s on one of their albums) [Irish]
  • Nel blu dipinto di blu – Domenico Modugno (Also known as “Volare”) [Italian]
  • 99 Luftballons – Nena (Sorry for the obvious choice, but it is the most famous German song!) [German]
  • Aquarela do Brasil – Ary Barroso (A well known song when you think of Brazil. Donald Duck first got me interested in my favourite country using this song!) [Portuguese]

Nothing in English or Esperanto this time!

Many thanks to my cameraman Markus, walk-in and props Jenny and Audiologist (i.e. official music “play button” presser) Karol.

Since I think the video is quite unique, I hope you think it’s worth sharing with your friends! Even if you aren’t interested in ASL, it may be cool to discover (from the subtitles) what parts of those songs you know are about!

As always, I look forward to reading your comments (both here and on Youtube). This video wraps up my brief, yet (clearly) fun first encounter with ASL and I’ll be ready to introduce my next language mission here on Tuesday!


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  • Anonymous

    Good job. But don’t you mean SEVEN languages?

    • Benny the Irish polyglot

      As far as I can tell I didn’t miscount seven for six :) You sure you watched the video??
      I could have, but didn’t sing in English and Esperanto just for the sake of making it 8.

      • Anonymous

        ASL is also a language.

        • Benny the Irish polyglot

          Very good point! I guess it isn’t clear that I meant 6 songs in different languages since the video is actually in 7! So yeah actually, I did miscount :P haha [doh]

  • TravelnLass

    Delightful! I learned ASL many years ago in college (and volunteered w/ activity programs – cross-country skiing, fishing, the Planetarium, etc. for middle school hearing-impaired kids.) And yep, signing to songs was a great way to practice/learn. Indeed, though I’m a good bit rusty nowadays, I believe I can still sign to “Desperado”! ;)

    • Benny the Irish polyglot

      I learned quite a lot in just learning how to sign these songs :)

  • David

    On a scale of 1 to 10…
    Dancing 7…
    singing 8…
    language skills…10
    extras and props 10..
    bravery and brass…10
    Song selection 10…..never knew Volare was about that.

    • Benny the Irish polyglot

      Thanks! :D

  • Andrew

    Very cool, it takes a lot of skill to do something like that. Did you have many rehearsals?


    • Benny the Irish polyglot

      Most of these clips were the second and last take, except for the Camisa Negra, which was after a couple more.

  • Jean-Michel FAYARD

    Salut Benny, super vidéo !

    Sinon la chanson de France Gall, c’est poupée de “cire” (avec un ‘c’) poupée de son

    • Benny the Irish polyglot

      Oups ! je viens de l’actualiser, merci ;)

  • Abby Ferrari

    Cannot comment I’m watching Donald Duck

  • Suzanne Warwick

    Your statement here, “I give you, 6 languages, 1 singer, 1 signer: (or 7 languages including ASL)” made me feel the need to assure you that American Sign Language is indeed a language. So make it 7 languages with no exception ;-)And you signed like that after two weeks of learning the signs for the first time? I think that’s pretty impressive and expressive of you. Like the ‘la camisa negra’ shirt :-)

    • Benny the Irish polyglot

      I know it’s a language, but I’m only *singing* in 6 languages in the video, that’s the point.
      Thanks – glad you liked it! I’ll be back in the states soon to try to improve on my signing abilities.

    • Benny the Irish polyglot

      I know it’s a language, but I’m only *singing* in 6 languages in the video, that’s the point.
      Thanks – glad you liked it! I’ll be back in the states soon to try to improve on my signing abilities.

  • tmueth1

    Eww. As much as I WANT to like this, a better test of ASL skills would be telling an ABC or handshape story, or simply a narrative. Not repeating another’s story but making up your own. True ASL is not set to music but is narrative. ASL is not performance art…