Congratulations to Lena Meyer-Landrut, the teenager from Hanover, for winning the the Eurovision song contest for Germany - its first victory since 1982. The amatuer singer won singing a song in "English", and in this she was not alone: most of the acts were performed in English this year. What happened to the rich cultural diversity of Europe?
Actually, Lena's English is rather odd. Roger Boyes of the London Times is smitten with Lene, but he writes:
Du bist ein nettes Mädchen aus Hannover, das ein komisches Englisch spricht – ein bisschen wie eine Figur aus einem Charles Dickens-Roman, ein bisschen wie ein australischer Schaf-Scherer und ein bisschen wie ein Ost-Londoner Drogendealer.
(You are a nice gril from Hanover, who speaks a funny English - a little like a character from a Charles Dickens novel, a little like an Australian sheep-shearer, and a bit like an East London drug dealer.)
In fact, Lena - and entire Eurovision contest - shows the dominance of "Globish" - a global variant of English that Robert McCrum writes about his new book Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language. Globish, McCrum writes "starts from a utilitarian vocabulary of some 1,500 words, is designed for use by non-native speakers . . . is now quite widely recognized across the European Union, and is often referred to by Europeans who use English in their everyday interactions." Globish was introduced into pop music by the group ABBA, who also won the Eurovision contest in 1974.