Frozen in Arabic


Jeremy and I can't stop talking about this post at The New Yorker: Translating Frozen into Arabic.

You may recall from previous posts on this blog (like this one) that Arabic has a standard spoken/written form called Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), and then lots of dialects depending on the country or region. So the Khaliji dialect they speak here in the UAE, is quite different from the Shami Arabic they speak in Syria, is quite different from the Masri they speak in Egypt, is quite different from the Maghrebi they speak in Morocco/Tunisia. But it's all Arabic, and to some degree, it's all mutually intelligible.

In general, the language of entertainment media has been Egyptian Arabic. I don't know why. But if you were to buy an Arabic version of Finding Nemo, it would be dubbed over in Egyptian Arabic. However: the article I linked to earlier points out that Frozen has been dubbed over in MSA. This is comparable to sitting your kids down in front of Frozen, turning it on, and having all the dialogue be in the style of the King James Bible. Huh? For some reason, Disney broke with tradition and put Frozen in MSA instead of the Egyptian dialect.

Which brings the author (and me) to the same conclusion: huh? French and Spanish and probably other languages get their own regional versions of Frozen, but the entire Arabic-speaking world gets stuck with Ye Olde Formal-like Talk?

I really wish they would dub the movies in different dialects. It would be so helpful in encouraging the girls to learn the spoken language in addition to the book MSA they learn at school.

And, you know, there is the small matter of the millions of Arab children who could hear the beauty of such lines as "don't know if I'm elated or gassy/but I'm somewhere in that zone!" in their own dialect.

Baby food bliss

"You're sexy again!"