Saturday, April 14, 2012

Geek Post

I am a language geek.  Somewhere in the multiverse I am a linguist.  In this universe I'm just a dork with books on etymology and the history of the English language.

So, as you can imagine, when they highlight dialect differences between North and South Korea in The King2Hearts I squee like a fangirl.  I don't speak Korean, so it's thanks to awesome recappers like girlfriday  at Dramabeans that I even realize some of the nuances of what is happening on the screen.

More after the jump...

Comparing girlfriday's recaps to the subs, I've come to the conclusion that the subber for K2H is really good at what he/she is doing.  The family dinner scene in episode 7 is a good example of this.  Rather than translate word for word the dialogue in the scene, the subber took a word change in English and slipped that in to explain the conflict.

From girlfriday's recap:
"Hang-ah tries to compliment Mom on her beauty and her personality, only to muck it up when she accidentally calls her “petty,” because the same word means bright and cheery in the North. The dinner comes to a screeching halt. Jae-ha smoothes it over, and everyone ends up laughing but Mom. Oh dear."  

Now, the subber used the word gay.  The old usage of that word in American English would cause the same reaction.  The speaker would seem quaint and the listeners would find their misstep amusing.  I prefer the subs to deliver the meaning intended rather than the exact translation because it helps convey the message more clearly.  But I do like to read the recaps after watching to see what I've missed.

We have similar words that cause misunderstandings like the one above in the differences between British and American English, much the same as the highlighted differences between North and South Korean.

For example, fanny is a cute, slightly more polite way to say your bottom in American English.  In British English the anatomy referred to is a bit more X-rated and telling someone you fell on your fanny is going to elicit a startled look.  Similarly, pants in American English means trousers.  In Britain, if you complain because you wore a skirt on a windy day that you wish you had worn pants it will cause a few raised eyebrows because pants means underpants.

Where I really feel I'm missing out in my need to rely on subs is that Ha Ji-won is speaking in a North Korean accent and it's completely lost on me.  I can't hear the difference.  *sad face*

No comments:

Post a Comment