Echoes on the Tongue

Echoes on the Tongue

I wrote this song between February and April of 2019 after many years of letting it brew in my mind. It's written from the perspective of the words of an endangered language that has never been written down, and has only a few elderly speakers. There are hundreds of such languages out there.


I got the idea from a lecture by David Crystal about endangered languages. He said that a good way to spread the word about the plight of such languages might be for creative people to make art, or to write songs, stories, poems, etc about them. So this is my contribution to that effort.

Echos on the Tongue

Who will speak us when you're gone?
Who will speak us when you're gone?
All we are is breaths of air
Shaped by lips and teeth and tongue

Once we were on every tongue
Whispered, yelled and often sung
Telling tales of long ago
Bringing smiles and laughs in tow

Then the new words came along
And they told us that we were wrong
They pushed us out before we knew
And now we're spoken by just a few

Soon those few of you'll be gone
With no-one left to carry on
Echos on the tongue at best
When you've gone to take your rest

Who will speak us when you're gone?
Who will sing us when days are long?
Who will whisper us late at night?
Who will shout us with all their might?

The spoken words at the end mean "We are still here" in various endangered languages - currently Welsh, Breton, Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx.

Translations by Simon Ager and Lùthais MacGriogair.

Here's a recording:

Simon Ager Echoes on the Tongue

This recording features me singing and playing the harp. You can see the score at:

Songs I've written

The Elephant Song | When you get to jiggit | Chaos | Winter | Everyday adventures | Hints of Blossom | A Panda in a Poncho | Plinkin Plookplooks | Spollagyn son tey | How Many Roads? | A Gnu in My Shoe | A Hen in My Hat | The Ballad of the Wug and the Cra | La Plume de ma Tante | Ukuleles On The Shore | Echoes on the Tongue | Dardledumdue | It's Okay To Be Odd | Monday Morning | Tall Tales | Sail Across The Sky | Two Left Feet | Thunder River | Ning | Lazybones | Goats | The Toaster Song | Hello Hi Hey | Thingamajig | Jolly Yuletide | The Pliffploff | Bubbles | Distraction | Little Lions | The Little Green Owl | Pannas Owen | Seize The Day | Music in the Air | Pocket Hedgehogs | Dust | Lillilu | Lost in a Good Book | Quiet Please | Ffaldiral | Melting 😅 | That's When We'll Do That Thing | As Easy As | What Did I Come In Here For? | Upside Down | Thoir An Aire! | Ho Ha Hey | Patience | Time | Farewell | Stuff and Nonsense | Ruith Air Falbh / Run Away! | The Other Side | Colourless Green Ideas | Noodling

Other songs


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