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Star Wars Episode 4 To Be Dubbed In Navajo

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the that-is-one-complicated-language dept.

Star Wars Prequels 155

New submitter Unixnoteunuchs writes "Coming to a theater in Window Rock in the Navajo Nation on July 4, 2013, Star Wars Episode 4 dubbed in the Navajo language. This is the first time a major motion picture has ever been dubbed in a native American language. This effort will help the Navajo nation preserve its cultural heritage in its language, a complex and beautiful Athabaskan tongue heavily reliant on adjectives and compound words. Listen to this article and how 'computer' and 'droid' would translate."

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Diplomatic blunder? (5, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#43839945)

Dub in Navajo.

Show it in Japan.

Just to piss them off.

Re:Diplomatic blunder? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43840017)

Nah, the big diplomatic blunder would be to dub it in Navajo then show it in India.

Re:Diplomatic blunder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43840591)

I'd love to see the Navaho version, and I don't speak Navaho.

The funniest movie I ever saw was the 1969 western "True Grit." I saw it in Thailand, dubbed in Thai with undescipherable subtitles (Chinese? Japanese? Arabic?). Hearing John Wayne saying "Chow dui! Chow dui!" in a squeaky little Thai voice was one of he funniest things I ever saw.

Re:Diplomatic blunder? (4, Funny)

jitterman (987991) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840965)

Oh so close to haiku :)

Dub in Navajo
Show it to the Japanese
Just to piss them off

Re:Diplomatic blunder? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841171)

Oh, for mod points...

Re:Diplomatic blunder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43842245)

Haikus are based around the amount of syllables, not words.

How do you say (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43839951)

Jabba the Hut is heap big injun?

Preserve Cultural Heritage (4, Insightful)

Sean_Inconsequential (1883900) | about a year and a half ago | (#43839953)

How does dubbing a movie that has nothing to do with Navajo culture help preserve Navajo culture? Not trying to troll, I am asking honestly. It seems a bit insulting, the insinuation being that the whole of their culture is distilled down to their native language.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (5, Informative)

Mystakaphoros (2664209) | about a year and a half ago | (#43839971)

How does dubbing a movie that has nothing to do with Navajo culture help preserve Navajo culture? Not trying to troll, I am asking honestly. It seems a bit insulting, the insinuation being that the whole of their culture is distilled down to their native language.

Not trolling at all-- that's a good question. My thought is that limiting the use of Navajo to the ceremonial marginalizes it to be used only in ritual form. By finding "everyday uses" for it, such as in movies, people form a much more functional use for the language.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840007)

By finding "everyday uses" for it, such as in movies, people form a much more functional use for the language.

". . . may the horse be with you . . . use the horse, Luke, use the horse . . ."

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (3, Informative)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840383)

By finding "everyday uses" for it, such as in movies, people form a much more functional use for the language.

". . . may the horse be with you . . . use the horse, Luke, use the horse . . ."

Despite the popularity of picturing Indians with horses, there were no horses on the American continents until they were brought here by the Europeans.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43840781)

Despite the popularity of the horseless pre-Columbian era, it is a fact that the ancestors to horses evolved on the American continents:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_horse

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841969)

Yes, but your own link points out that they became extinct there 12,000 years ago. The pre-columbians may have eaten horses (and possibly even drove them to extinction), but they never rode them -- horses were first domesticated much later: probably around 4000BC.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43841567)

Mr. Ed is offended by your slanderous use of 'horse' in a sarcastic manner.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840037)

Will Navajo even have words for space ships, robots and laser beams...?

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840101)

Will Navajo even have words for space ships, robots and laser beams...?

They were able to adapt it for use describing different types of tanks, airplanes, ships, bunkers, machine guns, calling in artillery and air strikes, etc. [wikipedia.org] I think they can do ok.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (3, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840315)

The problem with translating (eg.) "R2" as "little white metal man who whistles" is that it takes much longer to say.

When you're dubbing a movie the dialog has to keep up with the action.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (2)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840367)

I never knew "R2" means anything like that in any language. Guess I have to take a few more english classes....

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43841089)

This didn't stop Italian dubbing from renaming R2-D2 to C1-P8, don't ask me why (in the dubbing of episodes 1 2 and 3 it went back to R2-D2, creating confusion for some people...)

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841577)

I never knew "R2" means anything

Please hand in your geek card and remove slashdot from your bookmarks. Thankyou.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840625)

Could they not simply translate it to a letter and number? I am not sure R2 means anything in English.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841587)

Funny how TFA uses it as an example....

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841767)

Funny how we don't read those on slashdot, heretic!

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840769)

And yet the French manage to dub movies quite often. Most DVDs in Canada are sold with a French (and often Quebec French) language track. I'm not sure how they manage to do it, seeing as how much longer most of the text on signage and product packaging becomes so much longer when translated.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (3, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841537)

I live in Spain and see a lot of dubbed movies and sometimes the Spanish/English dialog is completely different.

It took me a while to figure out why, ie. because some Spanish translations have simply too many syllables to fit. When this happens they rewrite the dialog to fit.

Description words (1)

ace37 (2302468) | about a year and a half ago | (#43842105)

Unlike, say, Finnish, where the Finns will typically just take an English or Swedish, Russian, &c word and spin the pronounciation to expand their tongue, the Navajo typically create a new compound word that is a description. This is a rather laborious way to rapidly expand a language. A fun example is the Navajo word for "Dog," ééch'í. That literally means "one who eats poop."

Outsiders like most of us can't cause a traditional language to adapt. The burden is on the speakers. In this case, teaching English as a second language (or French or w/e) is a better solution than trying to quickly and drastically expand a language spoken by so few, then figuring out how to translate every time we need to interact.

The Navajo language was only written in the 20th century. Even if we were able to fully expand Navajo to cover conversation with the same breadth and depth of a multicultural language like English/French/etc., and if further we could somehow teach all of the new words to all of the Navajo-speaking Indians right away, then if they don't have for instance any Navajo cabinetmakers who use the new words for cabinetry tools all the time, all those related words would die in a few years. After a decade or two, we'd be left very nearly where we are now.

Language is a living thing, and words that are long unspoken die. It's a pity, but at a certain point, a nearly dead language becomes a cultural relic, as Navajo is today. Preservation of this as a cultural relic is great, but not easy.

Dog - didn't come over, limited character set (1)

ace37 (2302468) | about a year and a half ago | (#43842133)

It appears the limited character set on Slashdot is also contributing to the demise of the Navajo tongue. The "L" and "A" derived characters won't come through. The word is written here for those that are interested:
http://www.native-languages.org/navajo_words.htm [native-languages.org]

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43840111)

Will Navajo even have words for space ships, robots and laser beams...?

Of course not! Exactly as every other language before they either invented a word for them or took them from other languages.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840355)

So if I took Star Wars back 100 years in time, would it matter if a linguistic committee somewhere had decided what those words were?

It would all be gibberish to the ordinary people watching the movie.

World War II code talkers (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840125)

Will Navajo even have words for space ships, robots and laser beams...?

They'd probably pinch a few words from WWII-era code talker lingo [wikipedia.org] or something. Hand grenades were called the translation of "potatoes", tanks were "turtles", bombers were "buzzards", submarines were "iron fish", etc.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43840161)

Did english have words for space ships, robots and laser beams 100 years ago?

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (4, Insightful)

Mystakaphoros (2664209) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840187)

Did english have words for space ships, robots and laser beams 100 years ago?

And English even stole the word "robot" from Czech!

Re: Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

evanism (600676) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841107)

Back to work!

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (2)

orzetto (545509) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841555)

I think both "space" and "ship" are words from long before 100 years ago...

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841091)

LASER is an acronym from 1955. Robot is from 1921 or so but the concept (humanoid automata) isn't new. Much of star wars could be recreated on Leonardo da Vinci's ideas (flying machines, tanks, humanoid robots).

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43842063)

Why not? It worked well enough in the original historical Japan setting..

The Hidden Fortress (1958)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051808/

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840163)

would English? for that first word we combined two words with ancient meaning. for the second the Czech word robota means drudgery or hard labor or the period of labor of a serf for a lord (used in a play by Karel ÄOEapek). The third is an acronym, could be directly used in any language, or a descriptive phrase meaning "stimulated emission of light" could be used.

So yes, Navajo could have the words and in the same manner english does. Any modern concept could be brought into Navajo the same way it was brought into English, bridging from the old into the new.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840411)

So yes, Navajo could have the words and in the same manner english does. Any modern concept could be brought into Navajo the same way it was brought into English, bridging from the old into the new.

Most of the modern words added to Navajo are translated pidgin-style (eg. according the the article "R2D2"="the short metal thing that's alive"). It takes far longer to say. Making the dialog fit the on-screen action will be challenging, to say the least.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841763)

The literal back-translation "the short metal thing that's alive" may be long, but it doesn't mean the name in Navajo is. Let's try a more terse English version: "live metalie" -- that's four syllables, just like R2D2. A "live" thing is alive, the suffix "-ie" is a diminutive (little doggies etc) and is now almost always used in relation to living things (including familiar name forms: Johnnie/y, Jeannie, etc).

Now, the fact that they say "that's alive" makes me immediately assume that Navajo has a specific way of distinguishing between animate and inanimate objects, and when I search for "animacy" on the Navajo language WP page, I find that animacy is indicated with a single syllable... at most. In some situations, all that is required is a single consonant. So there's insufficient grounds to conclude that the Navajo name is longer.

Now, why not simply R2D2? Well, the problem is that Navajo is a highly inflected language, so the name has to be alterable to match its grammatical function. Letters and numbers don't work that way. This used to be a problem for most European languages, which is why the names of saints, kings etc are traditionally translated.

Re: Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840549)

I'm betting the words space and ship are in there to some extent. Ship probably being adjectives added to the word canoe and made compound. Space likely would be something closer to sky, still, it's a pretty safe bet that words to describe the place where the stars are exist in every language (except the mole men, they don't see the stars).

Re: Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840763)

Canada has copyrighted "spacecanoe"

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841173)

The movie came out in the 1970s. If Navajos haven't still added those words to their language yet, then we (white men) will. YOUR CULTURE VILL BE PRESERVED!

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840193)

Getting the youth interested is key. This brings it mainstream and demonstrates to the youth that it isn't just the elders being old and stodgy and reminiscent, but is something current and recognized outside of their own community.

Re: Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840511)

Think how kids take to Star Wars and othe popular entertainment. Having something major in Navajo will make it so much easier for kids to pick up their native language. If it had been available in Spanish when I was a kid ('70's- only bootleg tapes available then) I might have learned Spanish growing up.

Hell, I may pick up a copy if available just to start picking up Navajo. Is not like I don't know the movie by heart anyways.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (2)

xclr8r (658786) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840811)

How does dubbing a movie that has nothing to do with Navajo culture help preserve Navajo culture? Not trying to troll, I am asking honestly. It seems a bit insulting, the insinuation being that the whole of their culture is distilled down to their native language.

Not trolling at all-- that's a good question. My thought is that limiting the use of Navajo to the ceremonial marginalizes it to be used only in ritual form. By finding "everyday uses" for it, such as in movies, people form a much more functional use for the language.

I did a paper on Native American Religions. One thing I discovered is that the Cherokee nation has assisted Apple in creating syllabry to be utilized in Appe’s mobile and computer operating systems.
American Indians and the Mass Media p.222

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year and a half ago | (#43842299)

What "everyday uses" for it are there? That's like trying to find "everyday uses" for classical Latin or Gaelic. No one uses that as a primary language, so why force the language for primary uses?

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43839999)

The same way Tolkien's books are English culture

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840463)

The same way Tolkien's books are English culture

I would have pissed on the popcorn stalls if they had dubbed lotr here..

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43840047)

Ask Ed Chigliak why he dubbed the Prisoner of Zenda in Tlingit.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840099)

Keeping their spoken language alive - before one runs, one has to learn walking.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840141)

Makes total sense to me. It's been dubbed into many other languages over the years. Shouldn't one of the great American films of the 20th century also feature the original native language of this country? .

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43840495)

I'm sure the Cherokee, Iroquois, Huron, Sioux, Shoshone, Cherokee, Chippewa, Seminole, etc would disagree that Navajo is 'the original native language of this country'.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841545)

How many Navajo speakers don't speak English? A few thousand at best? Most of them elderly.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (2)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840201)

According to a radio show I listen to Hebrew, with was only a liturgical language for much of the Common Era, was revived, in part, by Eliezer Ben Yehuda after he was inspired by reading a hebrew translation of Robinson Crusoe. Use in popular media will standardize and spread a language. For instance English was much less of fixed language prior to the time of Shakespeare. By the Mid 17th century,many words were added and the structure more fixed into what we speak now, in part due to Shakespeare standardizing the grammer. Some of this was done by the first truly influential dictionary in 1755.

Which is to say that simply by the processing of translating a play this could form a basis for Navajo as a modern language.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840751)

"...in part due to Shakespeare standardizing the grammer." Brilliant. You left that in intentionally didn't you? Although I guess that's spelling, not grammar.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840239)

How does dubbing a movie that has nothing to do with Navajo culture help preserve Navajo culture? Not trying to troll, I am asking honestly. It seems a bit insulting, the insinuation being that the whole of their culture is distilled down to their native language.

Consider the analogy of Latin: It was(and is, universally until quite recently, even now optionally) deeply embedded in Catholic practice across Catholicism's entire operational reach(as well as in certain areas of academia, law, and the sciences); but even among devoutly Catholic populations, it was crushed by vernacular languages pretty brutally more or less across the board. Even as a prestige language among the learned and privileged of society, that helped keep in in the curriculum into the 19th and 20th centuries in some areas, could save it from substantial obscurity.

Navajo has similar challenges; without even the same advantages(it isn't a prestige language almost anywhere, it has ritual connections to a religious/cultural tradition with a fairly tiny reach, and, unlike Latin's romance-language spawn, it doesn't really have an equivalent of the latinate-derivative languages). Unless a body of material of mainstream interest is available, there isn't a lot of incentive for young potential speakers to bother, and if they don't bother, even the ritual/cultural uses survive in largely fossilized form.

If you want to preserve a language(which is very helpful in preserving a culture, though the two aren't identical) you don't want to set it up as 'Language X' vs. 'Pop Culture'. Except among the most ardent ethnic nationalists, guess which one wins every time, leaving only old people with fading memories and failing life-critical systems?

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

DrXym (126579) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840279)

Besides which they should be dubbing it into Klingon first.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

DrXym (126579) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840311)

Clone chaq veS tagh!

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43840299)

How does USING THE NAVAJO LANGUAGE have nothing to do with preserving Navajo??

Did someone shit in your brain or are you simply American?

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840435)

It seems a bit insulting, the insinuation being that the whole of their culture is distilled down to their native language.

Could you understand algebra if your language had no concept of plurality past "more than one"?

Language provides the framework within which we order our thoughts and interact with the outside world. This has a huge cultural impact. When one is lost, a way of thinking is lost too. People can still study Navajo culture without studying its language, but there's a certian level of understanding of that culture you can never have if you are only capable of thinking in English.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841141)

How does dubbing a movie that has nothing to do with Navajo culture help preserve Navajo culture?

Using the language helps preserve it. Preserving the language helps preserve the culture.

It seems a bit insulting, the insinuation being that the whole of their culture is distilled down to their native language.

Ones language and one's culture do tend to be very closely linked. And the death of the language is likely the final nail in the coffin for the culture as well.

All that said, watching dubbed movies is wrong. Watch them in their native tongue with subtitles.

Re:Preserve Cultural Heritage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43841147)

In Paraguay, where I was born and raised, Guarani in one of the official languages, alongside Spanish. Over the years, a lot of efforts have been made to enrich the cultural heritage of Guarani, some well thought through and some misguided. The language itself is not in danger of disappearing anytime soon, mind you, since it is widely used especially in rural areas, but its use is mostly informal. As one of many attempts to introduce the language to more formal uses, phone books in Paraguay have the references on the yellow pages printed in both languages, with a lot of translations for the more technical terms patched together by compounding existing Guarani words into long, unwieldy invented "words" that a person actually speaking Guarani would never dream of using. Especially ludicrous is the fact that there is an entry for people and/or companies that make CAD drawings (digitizing blueprints and stuff), so the idiot translator decided to come up with a Guarani word for "AutoCAD." Why oh why on your favorite deity's green Earth would anyone want to refer to a business trademark by a translated word that nobody will recognize, instead of the short, practical, perfectly functional original name which everybody calls it???

No dialog this time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43839993)

If that's what's required to keep Jar Jar Binks quiet then it's fine by me.

Re:No dialog this time? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840119)

If that's what's required to keep Jar Jar Binks quiet then it's fine by me.

On the plus side, Wookiee language would be as expressive in Navajo as it is in English.

Re:No dialog this time? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840283)

If that's what's required to keep Jar Jar Binks quiet then it's fine by me.

Good heavens, man! This is Episode IV, not Episode I!
 
When Lucasfilm proposed dubbing the films 'in their true order', the reply was "That's the worst 'help' we've been offered since Lord Jeffrey Amherst showed up!"

Re:No dialog this time? (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840373)

I don't recall seeing Jar Jar Binks in Episode 4...

Re:No dialog this time? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841095)

Boba Fett wasn't in it, either, and he's the character they used in the picture.

Re:No dialog this time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43841205)

What, you mean there is a new alternate version of Episode 4 that includes Jar Jar? You mean, George Lucas has screwed up his own movies even more than he had already?

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43839995)

This effort will help the Navajo nation preserve its cultural heritage in its language

And Star Wars relates to the Navajo cultural heritage how exactly?

If they're going to need to make up words to cover words like computer and droid, it sounds like they're doing the opposite.

Re:WTF? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840245)

If they're going to need to make up words to cover words like computer and droid, it sounds like they're doing the opposite.

I don't think so... their culture managed to resist somehow the contact with palefaces, firewater and fire horse. No wonder the R2D2 is translated as "the short metal thing that's alive" - listen at about 2'30".

Re:WTF? (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840895)

This effort will help the Navajo nation preserve its cultural heritage in its language

And Star Wars relates to the Navajo cultural heritage how exactly?

If they're going to need to make up words to cover words like computer and droid, it sounds like they're doing the opposite.

I expect that by now they've already come up with a word for Computer. As I understand it, they came up with distinct Navajo names for each of the myriad parts of the automotive internal combustion engine. My kind of people.

As for "droid", it wasn't even an English word before Star Wars. Sure it's merely an abbreviated form of "android", but the actual word "droid" wasn't part of the common language. If we can add words, so can they.

WWII vets? (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840049)

Hope they checked to make sure they weren't accidentally calling down a fire mission on the theater's location.

So what? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840059)

So what?

Star wars has been dubbed to much more obscure languages before!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCDb8g_kuu0 [youtube.com]

Re:So what? (1)

Phrogman (80473) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840185)

If I recall correctly some of the minor species languages that you encounter in Star Wars were actually people speaking various African languages - which caused a lot of humour when the movies played in Kenya etc.

Which version of episode IV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43840075)

I think the Navajo will want to know, did Greedo shoot first?

Droid was not translated in the audio clip... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840205)

They said how to say "computer" in Navajo, but not how to say "droid". They only explained that R2D2 would be a concept along the lines of "metal thing on wheels that is alive".

Re:Droid was not translated in the audio clip... (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840425)

They said how to say "computer" in Navajo, but not how to say "droid". They only explained that R2D2 would be a concept along the lines of "metal thing on wheels that is alive".

Or they could have just called it R2D2. One doesn't generally translate names into a description, but into a translated name, or if none is available, then the closest phonetic match.

Re:Droid was not translated in the audio clip... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840673)

Yeah, I am not called by a different name when I am speaking another language. Even if that language has a similar name. Translating a name does not make good sense.

Re:Droid was not translated in the audio clip... (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841861)

Yeah, I am not called by a different name when I am speaking another language. Even if that language has a similar name. Translating a name does not make good sense.

Actually, in some languages, it does. The Romans didn't just translate names out of snobbery -- Latin just doesn't work without appropriate endings that allow the name to be assigned a grammatical class to match its function in the sentence. Check out the way it worked in Latin here [nationalarchives.gov.uk] . Navajo has its own complex system of noun declensions, so a name has to be well-formed in the language or you simply cannot use it properly.

Re:Droid was not translated in the audio clip... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841973)

That sounds like a terrible way to build a language.

Perhaps it is better neither of those are still in popular use.

Re:Droid was not translated in the audio clip... (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year and a half ago | (#43842327)

If you'd ever tried teaching English, you'd understand how much superior this type of language is in terms of clarity. English is a horrible, horrible language, full of inconsistency and dubious logic, yet everyone uses it. It's a bit like Javascript, I suppose....

Re:Droid was not translated in the audio clip... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43842431)

English is a bad language as well, but this seems pointlessly complex.

We should first fix our spelling, that would improve the language a lot.

Re:Droid was not translated in the audio clip... (1)

xclr8r (658786) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840975)

Episode IV as I'm sure you already uses both the word droid and R2's name as well. I guess you could call him an R2 unit in place of 'droid but where does that leave 3pO?

Re:Droid was not translated in the audio clip... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841649)

They said how to say "computer" in Navajo, but not how to say "droid". They only explained that R2D2 would be a concept along the lines of "metal thing on wheels that is alive".

Or they could have just called it R2D2. One doesn't generally translate names into a description, but into a translated name, or if none is available, then the closest phonetic match.

Sure, but our brilliant slashdot-mangled summary told us

Listen to this article and how 'computer' and 'droid' would translate.

So if someone were to click on the article and listen to it hoping to hear a Navajo expression of "droid" they would be sadly disappointed. The audio clip does give the Navajo expression for "computer" but not for "droid".

Disney PR opportunity. (1)

Loether (769074) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840225)

I think it's a great idea, although I would have chosen Empire. But after seeing and hearing the bluray quality of the remastered ep4 I hope they use the new remastered bluray audio. Heck I know every line from that movie backwards and forward from my misspent youth, I could probably still enjoy the film in Navaho. I sometimes enjoy watching it in foreign languages. If you watch the bluray in a non English language the initial crawl text is in that language, not just subtitled, but the actual crawl is in the foreign language. It would be good publicity for Lucasfilm / Disney to take the Navaho text and run it through their crawl macro for free. Lucasfilm used to be super touchy about this sort of thing, maybe Disney could be more magnanimous.

How about a Siouan language? (4, Interesting)

T.E.D. (34228) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840249)

It would be interesting to see it dubbed into a Siouan language, cheifly because Lucas' The Force is a nearly identical concept to their own Wakonda, which was the basis for most Siouan tribal religon. If anything, The Force translates better into Siouan languages than into English. [google.com]

It is diflicult to formulate the native idea expressed in this word ... Wakonda that is the permeating life of visible nature -- an invisible life and power that reaches everywhere and everything and can be appealed to by man to send him help.

You quite often see this translated as "Great Spirit" or "Great Maker", and treated as if it was merely a quaint native term for the Judeo-Christian God.

Re:How about a Siouan language? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841485)

So, Lucas ripped off the concept of the "Force"? Does that mean they could Sioux him?

Re:How about a Siouan language? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43842313)

Scalping would be more appropriate.

Cheyenne Autumn (1)

Shugart (598491) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840449)

I would like to get an English translation of the Navajo spoken in the movie Cheyenne Autumn by the Navajo actors. I understand that it is very funny. It is ribald and obscene as well as just plain funny. The Navajo apparently enjoy watching the movie because of that.

Navajo, eh? (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840475)

I think I'll wait for the subbed version. Subtitles are always better.

Dubbed In Navajo (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840493)

Dubbed In Navajo

FFS, Avatar was just a movie. Get over yourselves.

Navajo already has non ceremonial use. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840523)

It is the best "open" code language. Used in the Pacific theatre in WWII.

Re:Navajo already has non ceremonial use. (1)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840655)

No, that is wrong.

The "Navajo Code" was a cipher that used Navajo words as part of the ciphering/deciphering process.

Please stop this. (1)

mmcxii (1707574) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840603)

Haven't the Native Americans been punished enough by the white man's foolery as it is?

Re:Please stop this. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43841161)

Haven't the Native Americans been punished enough by the white man's foolery as it is?

If R2D2 is translated to "short metal thing that's alive", couldn't "Stormtrooper" be translated to "white man"?

Re:Please stop this. (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841901)

If R2D2 is translated to "short metal thing that's alive", couldn't "Stormtrooper" be translated to "white man"?

That would be absolutely poetic. Oh please, please let them do this!

(I am a white European.)

Code Talkers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43840607)

no offense, but I thought Windtalkers (2002) was also dubbed in Navajo. Maybe my memory is wrong.

Re:Code Talkers? (1)

3dr (169908) | about a year and a half ago | (#43841971)

There's a difference between "dubbing" and "merely including a snippet of" a language in a movie.

Should be easy (1)

gregg (42218) | about a year and a half ago | (#43840971)

That's what protocol droids are there for. Let me know when they translate it into Bocce.

Lakota dubbed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43841943)

Seeing that movies should be dubbed into Native American languages, I propose dubbing Dances with Wolves into Lakota. Most of the work is already done.

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