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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tarkan in English

This post concerns the bulk of mail that has been coming through to my in-box about two subjects, in particular:

For obvious reasons, I will only deal with the first part. As for the second, not having listened to them, I can't comment. But, I do want to thank all the kind fans that continuously e-mail me links to the stolen songs (including the newly leaked "fourth" English language song), but my opinion on this matter is already known by the regular readers of this blog.

In regard to songwords, I will not post lyrics of songs that have been stolen, or are currently going through the legal process. In reply to some responses from a few fans...yes, I have posted lyrics at my Tarkan Translations site to songs that haven't been released in any official album, but these are not stolen songs leaked before release. For example the lost but now found Kara Gözler song is ripped from a 1996 live TV performance. If you think about it for a moment, you will see the difference.

However, I've acquired the help of an old university friend, who works in the Oxford University English language department to discuss Tarkan's grasp of the English language. She was a Tarkan fanatic long before we met, and in fact her first question to me had been, "I have a Tarkan album will you please come translate it for me?"

As my friend never tires of telling me, she has downloaded and listens to the leaked songs constantly, and has very kindly agreed to answer the second part for those interested. I have sometimes paraphrased, and sometimes quoted ad verbatim, her reply mail to me further down below.

Rob Thomas' "Lonely No More"

The suggestion that the chorus to American artist Rob Thomas' latest single "Lonely No More" is suspiciously similar to Tarkan's catchy chorus of the song "Dudu" was emailed to me about two weeks ago, and after extensive research here is what I found: On May 08 2005, Pete Blackwell wrote an article called Rob Thomas In Deep 'Dudu' in which he makes this very same suggestion.

He even goes one step further and claims that it is "exactly the same" and even suggests that Thomas could be guilty of plagiarism , as the composition of the American artist's single is credited to Thomas alone.

In an email Blackwell sent to me personally, he also writes: "I tried to contact Rob Thomas' people about this and got no response. I posted on the message board over at his site and let's just say people were not too nice to me... I also tried to contact Tarkan's management to point out this possible plagiarism angle, but I couldn't contact them either."

Read the article, compare the songs and decide for yourself. And if you are a Tarkan fan in America who agrees with Pete Blackwell, make your voice heard. Phone your local and national radio station, quote Blackwell, or email Thomas' website.

Tarkan's Grasp of the English Language

To cap it off in one sentence, "he's making excellent progress."

If we consider other artists who are singing in a language that is not their own, Tarkan's diction is far better than most. And if we remember that English is not Tarkan's second language, but actually his third (after German), and learnt long after he was in his mid-twenties in a college in New York, Tarkan's grasp of the English language is coming along in leaps and bounds.

It is a valid point to clarify that I have never actually heard him speak in English, apart from a very quick "Thank you" speech at the World Music Awards in Monaco in 1999, and of course diction can be easier to master in song rather than speech, somewhat similar to those speaking with a stutter who can sing easily without stuttering.

But, on the basis of listening to the four songs, I would say his diction and pronounciation is of an intermediate to high level. As someone who's first language is English, in three of the four songs I can understand everything he says, though due to the unfortunate Americanisation of the songs, European counterparts to whom English is a second or third language may have problems in understanding Tarkan. But this is not to do with his diction.

One point to note however, I think that there is a time gap between the recording of some of the songs, or at the very least he has worked on others more, in that one can see a development in Tarkan's English throughout the songs. The song "Love Speak" for example is the worst, with two or three sentences completely lost to me, and with "Aman Aman" being the best, and probably recorded the most recently.

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