last night we attended a show by Diane Schuur and her trio. My friends and us came from three differente mediterranean countries. Diane speaks obviously English, each of us speaks to the other with our third- or fourth-best known language.
What does the language you use to *listen* to a musical show matter? What does the choice of languages and nationalities in the listening party?
We discussed at length language-related points. Ultimately they connect with how the nationality of the venue and public affect the show. For instance:
- most participants understand enough English to understand Diane’s comments in a quiet place. Many will struggle to understand her spoken comments in the crowded South-European bar. Most will end up assessing her as talented and still weaker in voice than a native speaker will.
- same languages, different countries would have let the group play in a less crammed corner of the site, and with a fraction of the din. I remember the easiest-going bars in Chicago hosting the averagest singers in a much quieter situation.
- still, in this town the show was completely smoke-free. What would have been the situation in a smoking place, for the performers’ respiratory systems and for everybody’s brains?
- "lingua franca"s, including the one that gave origin to the phrase and begot Malta’s multilingual language, strongly influence people’s cooperation. English has more of a single ownership than natural and artificial lingua francas even when it is used as one.