Chanter en yaourt

« previous post | next post »

Following up on last summer's discussion of Yaourter, Jonathan Rabinowitz sent a pointer to Garance Doré's post "Hello Sunshine" (9/9/2009), which begins

Londres, ville tropicale. Envoyez les ventilos. Il fait un temps splendide. SPLENDIDE !

and ends

Puis je suis montée sur mon échelle avec mes crayons de couleur, j’ai vu mon dessin prendre forme petit à petit, j’ai mis de la musique, et chanté Phoenix en yaourt pendant des heures. Et je n’ai même pas vu la nuit tomber.

In her English version (9/10/2009):

Welcome to London, center of the tropics. Get out the fans. It is splendid outside. SPLENDID!


Stepping up on my ladder with my colored pencils in hand, I saw my drawing begin to take form, little by little. I put on some music and sang Phoenix en yaourt***** for hours and hours. I didn’t even see night fall.


Translation : TIm Sullivan

***** So here’s the translation of Garance’s explanation of en yaourt (in yogurt) that she sent me, “en yaourt, it means in a faux english where you don’t understand anything at all, like ‘I waanagain nanana yes loveeee (you know, like I do all the time.)”


  1. Bryn LaFollette said,

    September 10, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

    I recall anime fans in college with me doing a similar type of "singing along" with the Japanese lyrics of the theme songs to some of the shows they watched. They didn't really know Japanese, or at least not well enough to comprehend the lyrics they were trying to sing along with, and so it was just a sort of a passionately impressionistic gibberish/phonetic-y rendering of the lyrics. I was always pleasantly amused by their enthusiasm, though. :)

    I wonder if "en yaourt" would likewise cover the sort of gibberish English text that one often finds on clothing in France and Japan, though. I feel like that phenomenon has been discussed on Language Log before, but I don't recall whether there was a descriptive term given to it.

  2. dr pepper said,

    September 10, 2009 @ 11:51 pm

    What did Gilbert and Sullivan call "Miya sama miya sama…"?

  3. David said,

    September 11, 2009 @ 7:39 am

    The classical example is of course the Language Fail…

  4. John Baker said,

    September 11, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

    This sounds different from just singing phonetically a song that is in a foreign language, as in Mi-ya Sa-ma, or when rock stars sing their own songs phonetically in a foreign language. This kind of imprecise approximation of a foreign language song is more like the Spanglish comedic butchering of Rapper's Delight in The Ketchup Song (Aserejé).

  5. Andrew Dowd said,

    September 14, 2009 @ 5:46 pm

    This also reminds me of the "Benny Lava" effect, which is I suppose the wilful misinterpretation of a song en yaourt.

  6. Ken Brown said,

    September 15, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

    I think we'd have called that "Double Dutch" when I was a kid. I think the primary meaning is babble, something hard to understand, but it could stretch to more or less contentless parody of the form of another language.

RSS feed for comments on this post