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Thursday, February 16, 2006 3:02:06 PM
I'm still a bit shy so I am posting this here on my blog. Originally posted on wotmania.
This has been stewing in my brain for days.
Much has been made by fans, writers, cast and crew about the truly hideous pronunciations the actors have when they attempt to speak Mandarin. However, I am here to defend their terrible pronunciation. As the premise of Firefly is that it is set approximately 500 years in the future, and that the two remaining superpowers, China and the US have merged, is it so unusual that the way Mandarin is pronounced would mutate? I don't think so. Language is constantly changing, morphing, picking up tonalities and vocabularies on a daily basis. Slang leaps around the world (shiny!) (moo juice!) at faster and faster rates as we move towards a fully linked global culture, thanks to the Internet and mass media. In every country in the world, you will find a myriad of different accents, dialects and slang terms used by countrymen and women. These accents and dialects can vary wildly from towns not very far removed fom each other. Just think how easy it is to tell someone who is from Queens from someone who is from New Jersey! For another example, the British Isles has a wide variety of distinctive dialects, among them Cockney and High British.
For these reasons, I believe it is entirely plausible that the 'bad' Mandarin spoken by the characters may be more realistic than if they were able to speak flawless Mandarin. The odds of any language staying pure when two cultures meld is historically and practically implausible, if not downright impossible.
Thanks for reading. I can sleep now.
Volunteer: Battle of Serenity Valley
Zoe: "Sir, I think you have a problem with your brain being missing."
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