Lingue nell’Eurovision Song Contest

Song eligibility and languages – List of languages in the Eurovision Song Contest. The following list is of languages used in the Eurovision Song Contest since its inception in 1956, including songs (as) performed in finals and, since 2004, semi-finals.

The rules concerning the language of the entries have been changed several times. In the past, the contest’s organisers have sometimes compelled countries to only sing in their own national languages, but since 1999 no such restriction has existed.

Rule changes. From 1956 until 1965, there was no rule restricting the language(s) in which the songs could be sung. For example, in the 1965 contest, Sweden’s Ingvar Wixell sang his song in English. After this, a rule was imposed that a song must be performed in one of the official languages of the country participating. This new language policy remained in place until 1973.

From 1973 to 1976 inclusive, participants were allowed to enter songs in any language. Several winners took advantage of this, with songs in English by countries where other languages are spoken, this included ABBA’s “Waterloo” in 1974 for Sweden and Teach-In’s “Ding-a-dong” for the Netherlands in 1975.

In 1977, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the contest organisers, reimposed the national language restriction. However, Germany and Belgium were given a special dispensation to use English, as their national song selection procedures were already too advanced to change. During the language rule, the only countries which were allowed to sing in English were Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom as English is an official language in those countries. The restriction was imposed from 1977 to 1998.

From 1999 onwards, a free choice of language was again allowed. Since then, several countries have chosen songs that mixed languages, often English and their national language. Prior to that, songs such as Croatia’s “Don’t Ever Cry” (1993), Austria’s “One Step” and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s “Goodbye” (1997) had a title and one line of the song in a non-native language. In 1994, Poland caused a scandal when Edyta Górniak broke the rules by singing her song in English during the dress rehearsal (which is shown to the juries who selected the winner). Only six countries demanded that Poland should be disqualified, and with the rules requiring at least 13 countries to complain, the proposed removal did not occur.

Since 2000, some songs have used fictional or non-existent languages: the Belgian entries in 2003 (“Sanomi”) and 2008 (“O Julissi”) were entirely in fictional languages. In 2006, the Dutch entry “Amambanda” was sung partly in English and partly in a fictional language.

The entry which used the most languages was “It’s Just a Game”, which represented Norway in 1973. It was performed in English and French, with some lyrics in Spanish, Italian, Dutch, German, Irish, Serbo-Croatian, Hebrew, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian. In 2012, Bulgaria was represented by the song “Love Unlimited”, which mainly had lyrics in Bulgarian, but with phrases in Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian, French, Romani, Italian, Azerbaijani, Arabic and English. The 1969 Yugoslav entry “Pozdrav svijetu” was mainly sung in Croatian, but also had phrases in Spanish, German, French, English, Dutch, Italian, Russian and Finnish.

As of 2022, only two countries have never entered a song in one or more of their national languages – Monaco has never used Monégasque, its traditional national language, nor has Azerbaijan ever entered a song in the Azerbaijani language (although the aforementioned “Love Unlimited” contained a line in the language, and the 2021 Azerbaijani entry “Mata Hari” contained a repeated phrase in the language).

On the other hand, as of 2023, there are only ten countries whose representatives have performed all their songs at least partially in an official, regional or national language: Andorra, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, France, Morocco and the United Kingdom. In addition, former countries Serbia and Montenegro and Yugoslavia, and current countries Australia, Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom, have only been represented by songs fully in an official language.

Criticism. French legislator François-Michel Gonnot criticised the French broadcaster France Télévisions and launched an official complaint in the French parliament, as the song which represented France in 2008, “Divine” by Sébastien Tellier, was sung in English. A similar incident occurred again in 2014, when Ruth Lorenzo was criticised by the Royal Spanish Academy after winning the Spanish national selection with her song “Dancing in the Rain”, which contained some lyrics in English.

Languages and their first appearance. Languages are fully counted below when they are used in at least an entire verse or chorus of a song. First brief uses of a language are also noted.

Order Language First
Country First performer First song
1 Dutch 1956 The Netherlands Jetty Paerl De vogels van Holland
2 German  Switzerland Lys Assia Das alte Karussell
3 French  Belgium Fud Leclerc Messieurs les noyés de la Seine
4 Italian  Italy Franca Raimondi Aprite le finestre
5 English 1957  United Kingdom Patricia Bredin “All”
phrases in Spanish  Germany Margot Hielscher Telefon, Telefon
6 Danish  Denmark Birthe Wilke and Gustav Winckler Skibet skal sejle i nat
7 Swedish 1958  Sweden Alice Babs Lilla stjärna
8 Luxembourgish 1960  Luxembourg Camillo Felgen So laang we’s du do bast
9 Norwegian  Norway Nora Brockstedt Voi Voi
title in Sámi
10 Spanish 1961  Spain Conchita Bautista Estando contigo
11 Finnish  Finland Laila Kinnunen Valoa ikkunassa
12 Serbo-Croatian[N 1]  Yugoslavia Ljiljana Petrović Neke davne zvezde” (Неке давне звезде)
13 Portuguese 1964  Portugal António Calvário Oração
14 Slovene 1966  Yugoslavia Berta Ambrož Brez besed
phrases in Russian 1969 Ivan and 4M Pozdrav svijetu” (Поздрав свијету)
Viennese German 1971  Austria Marianne Mendt Musik
15 Maltese  Malta Joe Grech Marija l-Maltija
16 Irish 1972  Ireland Sandie Jones Ceol an Ghrá
17 Hebrew 1973  Israel Ilanit Ey Sham” (אי שם)
18 Greek 1974  Greece Marinella Krasi, thalassa kai t’agori mou” (Κρασί, θάλασσα και τ’αγόρι μου)
19 Turkish 1975  Turkey Semiha Yankı Seninle Bir Dakika
title in Latin 1977  Finland Monica Aspelund Lapponia
20 Arabic 1980  Morocco Samira Said Bitaqat Hub” (بطاقة حب)
phrases in Northern Sámi  Norway Sverre Kjelsberg and Mattis Hætta Sámiid ædnan
21 Icelandic 1986  Iceland ICY Gleðibankinn
22 Romansh 1989  Switzerland Furbaz Viver senza tei
Finland Swedish 1990  Finland Beat Fri?
23 Neapolitan 1991  Italy Peppino di Capri Comme è ddoce ‘o mare
24 Antillean Creole 1992  France Kali Monté la riviè
25 Serbian (variety of Serbo-Croatian)[N 1] Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia Extra Nena Ljubim te pesmama” (Љубим те песмама)
phrases in Corsican 1993  France Patrick Fiori Mama Corsica
26 Bosnian (variety of Serbo-Croatian)[N 1]  Bosnia and Herzegovina Fazla Sva bol svijeta
27 Croatian (variety of Serbo-Croatian)[N 1]  Croatia Put “Don’t Ever Cry”
28 Estonian 1994  Estonia Silvi Vrait Nagu merelaine
29 Romanian  Romania Dan Bittman Dincolo de nori
30 Slovak  Slovakia Martin Ďurinda and Tublatanka Nekonečná pieseň
31 Lithuanian  Lithuania Ovidijus Vyšniauskas Lopšinė mylimai
32 Hungarian  Hungary Friderika Bayer Kinek mondjam el vétkeimet?
33 Russian  Russia Youddiph Vechny strannik” (Вечный стрaнник)
34 Polish  Poland Edyta Górniak To nie ja!
phrases in Ancient Greek 1995  Greece Elina Konstantopoulou Pia Prosefhi” (Ποιά προσευχή)
Vorarlbergish 1996  Austria George Nussbaumer Weil’s dr guat got
35 Breton  France Dan Ar Braz and l’Héritage des Celtes Diwanit Bugale
36 Macedonian 1998  Macedonia Vlado Janevski Ne zori, zoro” (Не зори, зоро)
Samogitian 1999  Lithuania Aistė Strazdas
Styrian 2003  Austria Alf Poier Weil der Mensch zählt
37 Imaginary language  Belgium Urban Trad “Sanomi”
38 Latvian 2004  Latvia Fomins and Kleins Dziesma par laimi
39 Catalan  Andorra Marta Roure Jugarem a estimar-nos
40 lines in Ukrainian  Ukraine Ruslana “Wild Dances”
41 Võro  Estonia Neiokõsõ Tii
42 lines in sign language[8] 2005  Latvia Walters and Kazha “The War Is Not Over”
43 Montenegrin (variety of Serbo-Croatian)[N 1]  Serbia and Montenegro No Name Zauvijek moja” (Заувијек моја)
44 Albanian 2006  Albania Luiz Ejlli Zjarr e ftohtë
phrases in Tahitian  Monaco Séverine Ferrer La Coco-Dance
phrases in Andalusian Spanish  Spain Las Ketchup Bloody Mary
phrases in Dalmatian Croatian  Croatia Severina Moja štikla
45 Bulgarian 2007  Bulgaria Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankoulov “Water”
46 Czech  Czech Republic Kabát Malá dáma
lines in Surzhyk  Ukraine Verka Serduchka “Dancing Lasha Tumbai”
phrases in Armenian  Armenia Hayko “Anytime You Need”
phrases in Romani 2009  Czech Republic Aven Romale
47 lines in Armenian  Armenia Inga and Anush Jan Jan” (Ջան Ջան)
phrases in Karelian 2010  Finland Kuunkuiskaajat Työlki ellää
phrases in Swahili 2011  Norway Stella Mwangi Haba Haba
48 Corsican  France Amaury Vassili Sognu
phrases in Gheg Albanian 2012  Albania Rona Nishliu Suus
49 Udmurt  Russia Buranovskiye Babushki “Party for Everybody”
Mühlviertlerisch  Austria Trackshittaz Woki mit deim Popo
phrases in Azerbaijani  Bulgaria Sofi Marinova “Love Unlimited”
phrases in Georgian  Georgia Anri Jokhadze “I’m a Joker”
50 lines in Romani 2013  Macedonia Esma and Lozano Pred da se razdeni” (Пред да се раздени)
Chakavian  Croatia Klapa s Mora Mižerja
lines in Pontic Greek 2016  Greece Argo “Utopian Land”
51 lines in Crimean Tatar  Ukraine Jamala “1944”
52 Belarusian 2017  Belarus Naviband “Historyja majho žyccia” (Гісторыя майго жыцця)
phrases in Sanskrit  Italy Francesco Gabbani Occidentali’s Karma
phrases in Japanese 2018  Israel Netta “Toy”
53 Georgian  Georgia Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao “For You”
phrases in Torlakian[9][10][11]  Serbia Sanja Ilić and Balkanika Nova deca” (Нова деца)
phrases in Abkhaz[12] 2019  Georgia Oto Nemsadze “Keep on Going”
lines in Amharic 2020  Israel Eden Alene Feker Libi” (ፍቅር ልቤ)
54 lines in Sranan Tongo 2021  Netherlands Jeangu Macrooy “Birth of a New Age”
55 lines in Latin 2022  Serbia Konstrakta “In corpore sano”

English (47.30%), French (20.27%), Dutch (4.05%), Italian (4.05%), Hebrew (4.05%), German (2.70%), Spanish (2.70%), Swedish (2.70%), Norwegian (2.70%), Ukrainian (2.70%), Danish (1.35%), Serbo-Croatian (1.35%), Serbian (1.35%), Crimean Tatar (1.35%), Portuguese (1.35%)

Winners by language. Between 1966 and 1972, and again between 1977 and 1998, countries were only permitted to perform in a official, national or regional language of their country. Since language restrictions were last lifted in 1999, only four songs in non-English languages have won: Serbia’s “Molitva” in 2007 (Serbian), Portugal’s “Amar pelos dois” in 2017 (Portuguese), Italy’s “Zitti e buoni” in 2021 (Italian) and Ukraine’s “Stefania” in 2022 (Ukrainian). Also, Ukraine’s winning entries in 2004 and 2016 combined lyrics in English with Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar, respectively.

In 2017, “Amar pelos dois” became the first Portuguese-language song to win the contest, the first winner since 2007 to both be in a language that had never produced a winning song before and be entirely in a language other than English. Among all Eurovision winning entries, only Ukraine’s were performed in more than one language.

2021 was the first year since 1995, and the first since language restrictions were last lifted in 1999, that the top three songs were all sung in a non-English language: Italian (first) and French (second and third).

Wins Language Years Countries
35 English 1967, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2023 United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Ukraine, Greece, Finland, Russia, Norway, Germany, Azerbaijan, Austria, Israel
15 French 1956, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1983, 1986, 1988 Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Austria, Monaco, Belgium
3 Dutch 1957, 1959, 1969 Netherlands
Italian 1964, 1990, 2021 Italy
Hebrew 1978, 1979, 1998 Israel
2 German 1966, 1982 Austria, Germany
Spanish 1968, 1969 Spain
Swedish 1984, 1991 Sweden
Norwegian 1985, 1995 Norway
Ukrainian 2004, 2022 Ukraine
1 Danish 1963 Denmark
Serbo-Croatian 1989 Yugoslavia
Serbian 2007 Serbia
Crimean Tatar 2016 Ukraine
Portuguese 2017 Portugal

Entries in imaginary languages. Three times in the history of the contest, songs have been sung, wholly or partially, in imaginary languages.

Appearance Country Performer Song
2003  Belgium Urban Trad “Sanomi”
2006  Netherlands Treble “Amambanda”
2008  Belgium Ishtar “O Julissi”

Performances with sign languages. Some performances have included phrases in sign languages on stage.

Appearance Country Sign language Performer Song
2005  Latvia Latvian Sign Language Walters & Kazha “The War Is Not Over”
2006  Poland Polish Sign Language Ich Troje “Follow My Heart”
2011  Lithuania Lithuanian Sign Language Evelina Sašenko “C’est ma vie”
2015  Serbia Yugoslav Sign Language Bojana Stamenov “Beauty Never Lies”
2019  France French Sign Language Bilal Hassani “Roi”



^ a b c d e Serbo-Croatian is the name given to the pluricentric language to which Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian and Montenegrin belong. At the time of Yugoslavia’s existence there was little distinction between the four standard varieties: the term Croatian came into use during the 1970s; Serbian and Bosnian evolved politically in the 1990s, and Montenegrin in the 2000s (see Serbo-Croatian for more details). Varying sources outline the language in which Yugoslav entries were performed differently, and another view is that the first entry performed by an artist from each Yugoslav constituent republic can be considered the first for their respective languages: “Neke davne zvezde” for Serbian in 1961, “Brodovi” for Croatian in 1963, “Život je sklopio krug” for Bosnian in 1964, and “Džuli” for Montenegrin in 1983.