10 Disney Songs Performed in Their ‘Original’ Languages
Disney is as American as apple pie and other clichés, but most of the Disney animated motion pictures are based off of folktales from other countries. Though made with an English-speaking audience in mind (watch the way the characters move their lips) Disney has always understood the value of foreign markets and translates their films for viewing in other countries. So, we leave it to you, dear reader, to decide whether these Disney songs sound better in English, or in the languages that the characters should actually be speaking in.
‘Honor to Us All’ in Mandarin Chinese
We’re not sure exactly what Chinese dialect Mulan would’ve spoken, but we’ll play it safe and go with standard Mandarin. And yes, we know standard Mandarin wouldn’t have existed back in Mulan’s day, but this is how most Chinese audiences saw the movie when it was played overseas.
‘Under the Sea’ in Danish
The Danish version of ‘Under the Sea’ is perplexing, if only because we feel mermaids and sea creatures would have their own language. Maybe they found a Danish dictionary from a sunken ship and copied it. Or maybe we’re overthinking it. Enjoy this song as Hans Christian Andersen would’ve listened to it.
‘Bippity Boppity Boo’ in French
Everything sounds better in French, and so does Cinderalla, or Cendrillon, as she’s called in France. The song ‘Bippity Boppity Boo’ sounds even more lyrical in French.
‘Mob Song’ in French
On the flip side, the ‘Mob Song’ from ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ sung by Gaston and company, is both soothing and menacing in French. Also, this video is encoded with subtitles, allowing us to compare and contrast it with the English lyrics.
‘Once Upon a Dream’ in French
Again, French makes everything easier to listen to. Try not to relax as you listen to this version of ‘Once Upon a Dream.’
‘A Whole New World’ in Arabic
Fun fact: The original folktale ‘Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp’ is actually set in China. Regardless, it was added to the collection of Arab tales known as ‘A Thousand and One Nights,’ so it’s not hard to see why Westerners associate it with the Middle East, and why Disney set their ‘Aladdin’ in the imaginary Arabic kingdom of Agrabah. Though, right after Aladdin and Jasmine finish their magic carpet ride, they wind up in China, coming full circle back to the original tale.
‘Zero to Hero’ in Greek
A gospel choir instead of a Greek chorus gave the Disney film ‘Hercules’ a distinctly American feel, so it’s interesting to see it get flipped again in translation. Enjoy the sultry singing of these Greek ladies.
‘I’ve Got No Strings’ in Italian
While it is interesting to hear Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket in their mother tongue, we really get a kick out of hearing the puppet girls speak Italian in Dutch, French and Russian accents.
‘Heigh-Ho’ in German
In sharp contrast to French, the German language makes songs sound a bit…rougher. Still, it fits the jolly dwarfs to sing their famous song in Deutsch, the language the brothers Grimm recorded their tale in.
‘Love is a Song’ in German
Did we say German makes songs sound rough? Well, we take it back after listening to this. It’s like resting your head on a pillow.