Since the start of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2003, no less than 38 languages have been featured in the contest. Let’s start from the very beginning.
2003 – Thirteen languages make their debut
As the contest began in 2003, we heard a grand total of thirteen languages that year across sixteen participants. The United Kingdom and Malta sang in English, while Belgium and The Netherlands sang in Dutch and Cyprus and Greece sang in Greek.
FUN FACT: The first ever language heard at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest (excluding the presenters’ script) was Greek. Nicolas Ganopoulos from Greece was responsible for opening the show with his song “Fili gia panta”. He finished in 8th place.
The other languages were Belarusian, Croatian, Danish, Latvian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, and Swedish.
2004 – Another two languages join in on the fun
While eighteen countries featured at the 2004 contest (the sixteen from 2003 plus the debutants France and Switzerland), only two new languages were heard this year.
That’s right, it’s the two new countries that brought new languages to the contest – French (France) and Italian (Switzerland). This was Switzerland’s first and only entry in the contest to date.
2005 – Two more languages are added to the list
With the debut of Russia and Serbia & Montenegro, the list of featured languages so far reaches 17. Russia sent their Russian entry “Doroga k solnstu”, while Serbia & Montenegro’s first and only entry was entirely in Montenegrin.
2006 – Five new languages feature this year
Three countries had their first appearance on the Junior Eurovision stage this year – Portugal, Serbia, and Ukraine. Portugal sent their entry in Portuguese, and Ukraine in Ukrainian.
Serbia’s entry, which is its first as an independent nation, contains no less than eight languages: Serbian, English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, and Romanian.
2007 – Another four languages take to the stage
2007 was arguably one of the most exciting contests, with the overall winner Belarus taking the victory by just one point. Debutant Armenia took the second place spot with their Armenian song “Erazanq”. With the first appearances from Georgia, Bulgaria, and Lithuania, we hear (you guessed it) Georgian, Bulgarian, and Lithuanian for the first time this year.
2010 – One new language after a short break
2008 and 2009 featured no new languages (boo), so it’s a pleasant surprise to see that Malta brought Maltese to the contest for the first time in 2010. Nicole Azzopardi sang “Knock Knock!… Boom! Boom!”, finishing in 13th place with her Maltese and English bop.
2012 – Three more languages appear
Although 2012 only featured twelve countries, the smallest number of participants in the contest’s history, three new languages were heard this year. Thanks to the introduction of Albania, Azerbaijan, and Israel at the contest, we heard Albanian, Azerbaijani, and Hebrew for the first time.
2014 – Only one more language this year
As there was nothing new to report in 2013, it was up to Slovenia’s debut in 2014 to change this. Their entry from Ula Ložar, “Nisi Sam”, was sung entirely in Slovene, and gave Slovenia a 12th-place finish.
2015 – Three more are heard this year
This year Ireland made their debut at the contest with a song that featured both Irish and Latin. “Réalta na mara” by Aimee Banks finished in 12th place.
Like Serbia’s 2006 entry, Albania’s song “Dambaje” featured eight languages, including a phrase in Turkish.
2018 – Two more countries, two more languages
Twenty countries took part this year, a record for the contest. Two countries were seen for the first time – Kazakhstan who sang in Kazakh and English, and Wales, who sent an entry entirely in Welsh.
2022 – Plus one
Although Portuguese was first heard in 2006, last year Brazilian Portuguese was featured at the contest. Portugal’s Nicolas Alves sang “Anos 70”, finishing in eighth place, the country’s best result to date.
2023 – One more brings us up to 38
This year, we see the debut of the Estonian language at the contest, with Estonia’s first participation just around the corner.
Arhanna will sing “Hoiame kokku”, a song revolving around staying together, fostering hope, and assuring that a good friend will be there for you.
Will we see more languages crop up in the near future? We think (and hope) so! Only time will tell.
Image Source: Andres Putting