Last December I took my daughter to see Disney’s Frozen and I am the first to admit that I loved it as much as she did. I laughed (and cried) and instantly fell in love with the music. Having grown up with musical theatre (my mother worked in wardrobe), I have a real soft spot for musicals. Apparently Frozen is the highest grossing animated film of all time and it is a film with music and characters that are so loveable, watching my daughter’s reaction reminded me of how I felt when I first saw The Lion King (the third highest grossing animated film).
Now, one year later I am writing about how Frozen has affected our lives and influenced our language learning.
Our obsession with Frozen
My daughter would watch this movie every day if she could. She went through a few months before school started when she would sing the songs all day long. We got dressed up as vampire Elsa and vampire Anna for Halloween. Basically, we are obsessed.
I have read a number of different articles about the strange obsession that this film and its songs has created in our children. It’s the music, the visuals, the characters and the lyrics all at the same time that make it so loveable.
Dorian Lynsky argues in this article that Let It Go is a song that sparks something in young girls and that is ultimately about defining ones self and becoming independent. He also discusses how the title and lyrics of the song are interpreted in different languages, but having the same feeling:
The titles of various international versions speak volumes about the different potential emphases: Let Out Your Secret (Arabic), Let It Be (Estonian), Let Go and Forget (Russian), Doesn’t Matter (Ukrainian), It Ends Now (Serbian), I Have This Power (Polish), I’m Free (Portuguese), Freed, Released (French) and, somewhat literally, Ice Heart Lock (Cantonese).
Multilingual Frozen songs
After hearing the song in languages that she can understand my daughter began to ask for other languages such as Portuguese, Italian, Castilian Spanish and so on.
And then I found the video below, illustrating multilingual Frozen at it’s best and seamlessly in 25 languages.
Variations in translation
When we were in Mexico this year my niece would sing the Latin American Spanish version of Let It Go, titled Libre Soy (I’m Free). My daughter learned bits and pieces of this version, but also ended up translating her own Spanish version from her understanding of the English lyrics. Listening to her translation process, and helping her to learn the lyrics in other languages definitely gives me a reason to be okay with singing, humming and listening to this song every day for a year.