Do you ever have a hard time understanding lyrics? For some songs, it could be because the language is imaginary.

Inspired by the release of what could be the final Sigur Ros album, UWA linguist Daniel Midgley looks at music in invented tongues on this episode of Talk the Talk.


Listen to this episode

Or subscribe via iTunes
Click here for more options: How to listen to Talk the Talk


Show notes

A very good Slate article on this topic:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2011/11/29/invented_languages_in_music_a_brief_history.html

Hildegard von Bingen was an early writer of music and a conlanger
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/hildegarde.asp

Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five with “Heebie Jeebies” — from 1926, it’s one of the first scat songs ever recorded.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksmGt2U-xTE
http://www.scaruffi.com/history/jazz1.html

Though Ella Fitzgerald’s “One Note Samba” is fun and very clever.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbL9vr4Q2LU

Is it English, or is it gibberish? It’s Prisencolinensinainciusol — Oll raigth!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcUi6UEQh00

Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins talks about what she’s singing.
http://www.cocteautwins.com/html/dynamine/lyrics.html

Sigur Rós says Vonlenska (or Hopelandic) is “a form of gibberish vocals that fits to the music”.
http://thepriesthood.wordpress.com/2009/03/10/peter-rollins-on-sigur-ros-vonlenska/