Gifted Tongues

I was talking to BabylonSista about world music over the weekend and sent her Peter Fox’s video for “Alles Neu”—and then realized I’d never talked about it here:

Hip-hop, maybe even more than world travel, is the thing that makes me wish that I was a linguist. When I travel, I actually often enjoy the isolation of being unable to understand anything that’s going on around me (I mean, of course, as long as I’m able to get where I’m going without getting completely lost in Shanghai or Phnom Penh). But I feel like I only understand a tiny part of what makes this wonderful, the familiar made wonderfully strange and new in an alternate context and with alternate musical inflections. I want to know what he’s saying, to be able to hear it as he’s saying it rather than to get the rough translation.