This year’s event marks the 63rd annual Song Contest, where countries from across the continent – and a select few others – battle it out at the campest event in the musical calendar.
The 43 participating delegations have taken to the Blue Carpet at the MAAT museum complex in Lisbon. Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and will host the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 2018! Get ready as Eurovision is just around the corner
When is Eurovision 2018?
This year’s grand finale takes place on Saturday 12 May, airing on BBC One from 8pm. The live semi-finals will be held on the Tuesday and Thursday prior to the final and broadcast on BBC Four.
Participants in 2018
The 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will see 42 countries take to the stage in Lisbon. The 2018 edition will be a special year for Sweden which will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its first appearance in 1958. Russia is also returning to the contest after a year’s absence.
That’s not to say it’s completely po-faced and fun-free. And thanks to the viral potential of, shall we say, a quirky song, there are still some tunes making the final that sound like the rantings of a fever dream, but it all adds to the occasion. Here’s what to expect, and how to survive, your very first Eurovision season.
Eurovision is progressive
Eurovision was woke way before you started your first hashtag on Twitter. Trans singer Dana International won the competition for Israel in 1998 and a bearded drag queen called Conchita Wurst took it home for Austria in 2014. Eurovision has a huge LGBTQ fan base and it’s safe to say many participating acts will have gay credentials of some kind. There are objections, of course, from less forward-thinking countries – Russia tends to cause trouble about this one a lot – but when it comes to diversity, Eurovision is charging ahead.
The Eurovision songs
First of all, around ten of the songs will sound pretty much the same. Eurovision is like a cultural microcosm with a fast turnover of pop trends and songwriting quirks. Quite often, they’re in line with last year’s winner – or the year before for some countries and usually ten years before for Britain – or will mimic a huge hit from the past 12 months.
Don’t ask. Honestly. Nobody knows. Over the past couple of years, Eurovision has experimented with changes to the scoring to involve more audience and country participation but also build excitement as the result is announced. In the olden days, often the winner would become clear early on, so to increase tension results are announced in a certain order to keep you guessing. The points system is honestly wild and combines the scores of just about everyone except next door’s cats. Do not ask a Eurovision fan about this; it’s been a long night. Just keep the drinks flowing and pretend you know what’s going on.
Who has made the final?
France, Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain automatically qualify, regardless of their positions last year, as they are the five biggest financial contributors to the EBU. Portugal also qualify as the host nation and current champions.
1. Portugal: Cláudia Pascoal – ‘O Jardim’
2. France: Madame Monsieur – ‘Mercy’
3. Germany: Michael Schulte – ‘You Let Me Walk Alone’
4. Italy: Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – ‘Non mi avete fatto niente’
5. Spain: Alfred & Amaia – ‘Tu canción’
6. United Kingdom: SuRie – ‘Storm’
Who’s tipped to win?
The current favourite is Israel’s Netta, with her chicken-noise-filled song ‘Toy’. Yes, we said chicken-noise:
Estonia is the second favourite with this opera number:
As for the UK, our odds are pretty slim at 100/1 as of mid-March. Oh dear!
And the Czech Republic are the third favourites with this insanely catchy tune:
French is the international language of dance, architecture, the visual arts, theatre, fashion and haute cuisine. It’s spoken by over 200 million people, making it the ninth most spoken language in the world. Right now, approximately 750,000 people are learning it. If you can read it, you’ll be able to dip into the original works of such luminaries as Jean-Paul Sartre, Molière and Michel Foucault, and admire the words of Edith Piaf’s belting choruses. It’s a language of diplomacy and sophistication, and an official language of multiple institutions, from the United Nations to the European Union and the International Red Cross. If you’re looking to learn a language, French is a great choice. Here are 10 of the top reasons for learning French
1. A world language
More than 220 million people speak French on the five continents. The OIF, an international organisation of French-speaking countries, comprises 77 member States and governments. French is the second most widely learned foreign language after English, and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world.
French is also the only language, alongside English, that is taught in every country in the world. France operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language courses for close on a million learners.
2. A language for the job market
The ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market. A knowledge of French opens the doors of French companies in France and other French-speaking parts of the world (Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, and the continent of Africa). As the world’s fifth biggest economy and third-ranking destination for foreign investment, France is a key economic partner.
3. The language of culture
French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature in the original French, as well as films and songs. French is the language of Victor Hugo, Molière, Léopold Sendar Senghor, Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Sartre, Alain Delon and Zinedine Zidane.
4. A language for travel
France is the world’s top tourist destination and attracts more than 79,5 million visitors a year. The ability to speak even a little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France (from the mild climes of the Cote d’Azur to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps via the rugged coastline of Brittany) and offers insights into French culture, mentality and way of life. French also comes in handy when travelling to Africa, Switzerland, Canada, Monaco, the Seychelles and other places.
5. Because it’s not that difficult
We anglophones don’t have the greatest reputation for speaking foreign languages, but French is the one language in which many of us can at least utter a few words. This is due not only to the aforementioned similarities, but also to the fact that it’s taught widely in schools, French-speaking countries continue to be popular tourist destinations, and French words tend to pop up sporadically in high brow texts that are trying to be a little more high brow. Admittedly there are a few finicky grammar rules to learn, but generally speaking, English grammar corresponds relatively closely to French grammar.
6. The other language of international relations
French is both a working language and an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, UNESCO, NATO, the International Olympic Committee, the International Red Cross and international courts. French is the language of the three cities where the EU institutions are headquartered: Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
7. A language that opens up the world
After English and German, French is the third most widely used language on the Internet, ahead of Spanish. An ability to understand French offers an alternative view of the world through communication with French speakers from all over the world and news from the leading French-language international media (TV5, France 24 and Radio France Internationale).
8. A language that is fun to learn
French is an easy language to learn. There are many methods on the market that make learning French enjoyable for children and adults alike. It does not take long to reach a level where you can communicate in French.
9. A language for learning other languages
French is a good base for learning other languages, especially Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) as well as English, since fifty per cent of current English vocabulary is derived from French.
10. Parce que je t’aime
First and foremost, learning French is the pleasure of learning a beautiful, rich, melodious language, often called the language of love. French is also an analytical language that structures thought and develops critical thinking, which is a valuable skill for discussions and negotiations.
The accent is arguably the most difficult part of starting to learn French. Consonants toward the end of words have an unsettling tendency to disappear. Once you’ve tuned into the language, however, you can turn knees to jelly with the mere utterance of a simple sentence; is there anything more romantic than the soft, whispered sound of “Je t’aime”?
Ready to get started?
We offer evening French courses, duo lessons and private tuition to suit all levels. Whether you are a complete beginner interested in learning a new language, or an experienced speaker looking to brush up on your existing skills, we offer a range of French classes to suit you.
Our courses are designed in line with the world-renowned inlingua method and are led by native-speakers of the target language. Lessons are given in small groups to maximise speaking practice and there are no mixed-level groups. We have a long history of working with local businesses and are happy to hold lessons in your office or at our language centre in Edinburgh’s West End.
Now it’s THE TIME to book your place! Our new term for evening courses will begin from 23rd April 2018.
1. Japan has the 3rd largest economy in the world.
Having only recently been overtaken by China in 2nd place in terms of GDP, Japan boasts one of the most diverse economies in Asia. With many firms established all over the world, famous Japanese brands such as Toshiba, Honda, Sony, Nikon, Toyota and Casio to name a few have become international household names.
2. Learning Japanese can advance your professional career.
With Japan’s influential position in global business, knowledge of Japanese can provide a wealth of opportunities and make Japanese-speaking professionals sought-after employees by multinational firms the world over.
3. Studying Japanese opens doors to a new culture.
Understanding Japanese will allow you to access the rich history and customs of Japan as well as its surrounding countries. While the cultures of Asian nations are varied, they share many similarities with each other that are different from Western ways of life. Learning Japanese will also allow you to explore these diverse cultures and gain new perspectives.
4. Japanese is the internet’s 4th most used language on the internet.
With 99.1 million Japanese internet users, learning Japanese will help you to unlock a whole new world online.
5. The Japanese are international tourists.
If you live in an area with a lot of tourist traffic, you will have plenty of opportunities to practice your Japanese. For those in the tourism industry, knowledge of Japanese will set your business apart from the crowd.
6. Learning Japanese will make it easier to learn other Asian languages in the future.
Though South East Asian languages vary, there are certain similarities. For example, Japanese grammar is similar to Korean grammar and both languages have a high volume of honorific terminology used to demonstrate respect. Japanese also uses the Kanji writing system which is derived from Chinese characters, bringing you one step closer to understanding Chinese languages.
7. Learning Japanese is easier than you think.
Although the writing system is different to European languages, it is relatively simple to learn the 44 hiragana or katakana characters that represent sounds in much the same way as the English alphabet does. In many ways Japanese grammar is also easier to learn than that of European languages and nouns have no gender or plural forms and there are only two verb tenses – present and past.
8. There is a growing market for Japanese cultural exports.
From the expanding fan base of Anime to a relatively recent taste for sushi, Japanese culture is becoming more and more popular in countries around the world. Knowing the language will give you a special insight into these customs and allow you to take advantage of new business opportunities
9. You will be able to travel around Japan easily.
Although most Japanese people study English at some point in their lives, many tend to shy away from actually speaking it. Knowing Japanese will allow you to easily work transport systems, book accommodation and find the best eateries whilst meeting new people along the way.
10. Have fun and meet like-minded people!
Japanese is a fun language to learn, especially for native English-speakers where you will come across many Western words you weren’t expecting such as pabu (pub), kōhī (coffee) and miruku (milk).
Ready to get started?
We offer a range of Japanese classes to suit all levels from Beginners Japanese to Advanced. For companies interested in Japanese courses for their employees, we can arrange private or group tuition, either from our school on Shandwick Place or at your office. We also offer bespoke Japanese translation services from fully certified, professional translators.
Our courses are designed in line with the world-renowned inlingua method and are led by fully qualified, native Japanese trainers. Lessons are given in small groups to maximise speaking practice . We have a long history of working with local businesses and are happy to hold lessons in your office or at our language centre in Edinburgh’s West End.
Now it’s THE TIME to book your place! Our new term for evening courses will begin from 23rd April 2018.
You may have noticed that the German language often gets a bad rap. Especially among English speakers.
People often say it sounds “guttural” or “rough,” or that German speakers are “always shouting.” That perception is doubtless due in no small part to countless World War II movies where the Germans are the bad guys constantly shouting things like Schnell! Schnell! (“Quickly! Quickly!”).
English speakers often think that English and German are on completely separate paths that don’t overlap. However, the truth is actually quite different. If you speak English, then there are likely many German words in your daily speech that you may not have even known came from German.
Both languages have borrowed liberally from each other to form their own vocabulary, and today we’ll talk about some of the most common, interesting, useful and odd German words in use in English.
If you are thinking of learning any foreign language, these five useful techniques will make it so much easier:
1. Make mistakes
From the moment we born, we are said to do things properly, but the only way to learn a language is to get things wrong. Why? Because when you make mistakes you are able to remember them and do as much as possible to change them.
2. Scrap the dictionary
Have you ever noticed how much confusing reading a language can be? That is because we are used to our mother tongue sounds. Sometimes, and more for a beginner, it’s more useful to scrap the dictionary and study it phonetically.
3. Ask people to correct you
When you start learning a new language, you need someone to introduce words and grammar in the same way as you learnt your mother tongue. As time goes by , it’s important to have someone who will not hesitate to correct your mistakes while encouraging you to improve. At inlingua Edinburgh, our teachers’ method means you will have as much speaking practice as possible with frequent error corrections.
4. Keep talking
It’s easy to stop using a language when you reach your goal. But unfortunately, if you don’t keep training your skills, you’ll forget it, so try to make native-speaking friends or find a language exchange partner who you can practise with on a regular basis.
5. Make it fun!
If you find learning a new language tedious, you’ll never reach your goal. So make it fun!