What's Happening

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Hindustani: When it come to Hindustani, I consulted my wife, born in Uttar Pradesh, India, and a secondary school teacher. She says that Hindi is a literary language that people don't really speak in everyday life in Uttar Pradesh. Hindustani is instead the vernacular they use; it mixes Hindi with Urdu and English in a manner that is considered uneducated in written Hindi. Examples: the Hindi word for the nation of India is Bharat; in Hindustani, they say either Hindustan or India. The Hindi word for neck-tie is derived from Sanskrit and contains a lot of syllables (I don't remember it right now); in Hindustani it is tai. In letter my sisters-in-law send to my wife, they sometimes even write this; you will see text in Hindi script interspersed with English words written in Latin script.

dangerus: I think the Top Secret! example is a subversion, but I'm not sure.

Nevrmore: I don't think the Team America entry really fits, since they obviously weren't attempting to fool anyone into thinking that the Middle Eastern languages they were speaking were real. It was purely for comedic reasons that each muslim said "Bakka lakka dakka mohammad jihad."

HeartBurn Kid: And do you think that the folks at Warner Brothers really thought French people said things like "Le skunke! Le pew!" Tropes can be played up for laughs, you know.

TheKakapo : I note that folks added some justifications to the Princess Diaries example... and yet, I challenge anyone to watch those movies (particularly the second one) and argue that the invented country of Genovia doesn't fit this trope to a T. I mean, come on. A peasant with an American accent!? French maids who speak in heavily accented English when alone? Yeah, Belgium is a multi-lingual country, but Genovia seems to be a monoglot state where people just speak with silly accents. And sing in French. And encourage their queens to slide down banisters on a matress. At a princess party. Oh my gosh, my brain is melting.

Prfnoff: Moved the Mad TV example to Poirot Speak.

Ninjacrat: Pulling:

(As a side-note, El Dorado was also the name of the king of said city of gold, so that name, although a bit odd, isn't as bad as what Seanbaby claims it is. It's also a Peruvian, rather than Mexican, legend, making El Dorado the equivalent of a Chinese superhero called Yoshitsune)

(As another side-note, El Dorado is a name in Spanish, so its unlikely that the king bore that name. Moreover, El Dorado was a legendary city during the Conquista and archeologists are still debating on which jungle ruin it is or if it even existed in the first place. Some of the first Spaniards actually thought that El Dorado migth be the fabled Christian Kingdom of the Presbyter Johannes.)

(Okay, people. There was a culture in the Americas that had a custom of covering their king with gold dust during a certain ritual. The name of this custom in Spanish was "El Hombre D'Oro (The Golden Man)". I don't know the name of the custom in the indigeneous language. The rumor was that these folks had an incredible amount of gold (the thinking being that if they can cover themselves in gold they must have a lot). The name "El Hombre D'Oro" became corrupted (by the Spanish) to "El Dorado". The legend was that it was a fabulous city of gold. When eventually the conquistadors actually came to the community that practiced the "El Hombre D'Oro" ritual, they found that they had stopped performing the ritual because they had run out of gold. But by that time the legend of "El Dorado" was so firmly in place that the Spanish (and others) kept looking for this legendary city of gold.)

...because holy crap, has the entire wiki taken up a lead-eating hobby or something?
Elihu:The Firefly example is just wrong.
  • The Chinese spoken in Firefly is a prime example of this trope, despite attempts to avert it; the show's crew included a Chinese-language translator — the cast, despite intense effort and practice, were unable to pronounce the complicated phrases.
In fact, they did an admirable job with the language and used real words... automatically disqualifying it from this trope.

Red-HattedPlumber: Removing:

  • In one issue of the Marvel Comics Mini Series Contest of Champions, the Brazilian character Defensor shows up speaking Just a Stupid Accent Spanish.
    • Never mind that this Puerto Rican troper would say "Defensor" is itself Spanish.
      • Isn't the official language of Brazil Portuguese?

This troper is the second bullet point, and went poking around the Internet. Defensor, alter ego Gabriel Sepúlveda, is Argentinian, not Brazilian, and thus Spanish would be proper.

Solandra: Pulling out this because of the Natter:

  • Cho Chang, an East Asian Hogwarts student in the Harry Potter series, has a name which sounds nicely exotic to an English speaker, but which makes no sense at all. Basically, it seems that J. K. Rowling combined a Japanese first name with a Chinese last name, causing much frustration to any fans who try to determine what ethnicity Cho is supposed to be.
    • I call BS on this one. First Cho isn't a Japanese name. Second, I had a classmate by that name who was Vietnamese (and there are Chinese/Vietnamese).
    • Googling "cho baby name", all the results seem to say it's a Japanese name meaning "butterfly" or "born at dawn". Cho does seem to be a last name in other Asian countries, but not a first name.
    • Plenty of people are named things like David Smith (Hebrew/English) or Amy Klein (French/German), and Britain has a large immigrant community so it's possible Cho had a Japanese mother and Chinese father.
      • Hebrew names tend to have lost their idendity root. People can be names Jacob, James, Miriam, Elisabeth, David and Michael in french, english, spanish, italian, german etc. etc. without having anything to do with their origin being hebrew. Although it might be a hint if someone is named Mihael instead of Michael and Jibril instead of Gabriel.
    • Cho Chang makes perfect sense if he is korean. 조장 doesn't seem strange for a korean, other that monosyllabic given names are pretty rare and mostly found around orphans with no idea where they come from (because usually one syllable is given from a grandfather/mother to the grandchildren. So Grandpa is called Yong-myong, dad is Cho-kyun, grandson is maybe Myong-bap.
    • Bear in mind that many of the English names in the Harry Potter series aren't used in real life. If we can have English people called Draco Malfoy, Albus Dumbledore, Bellatrix Lestrange and Ginevra Weasley, then why can't we have an East Asian character with an unrealistic name as well?

Blue Byrd: Removed the following...
  • I would like to point out that parts of all romance languages (English, Italian, Spanish,French,Portuguese) sound similar, being based on Latin roots. However, it should be noted that words and parts of languages are combined over time. For example, English, in the British Island was originally Celtic. When they were invaded by the Romans, some Latin was added, which itself is based on Greek. Then the French took over and this language was mixed in, followed by some Anglo-Saxon (like German and Dutch) via the Vikings.
... because if whoever added this did, in fact, do the research, I'd love to know what their sources were.
Removed: It's supposed to be American.
Nanban Jim Removed:
  • Daikatana is a big offender here; Many characters' names are simply not actual names. Osaka Mishima (Osaka is a city; This is basically like an American character named New York or Kansas City) and Usagi Miyamoto (okay, two things; Usagi means "rabbit", and it can be a name, but rarely; It was unusual when Sailor Moon did it. Oh, and it's also for girls. The other thing is that "Usagi Miyamoto" is the name of the main character of Usagi Yojimbo; Again, the English-speaking equivalent would be a medieval knight named Candice Ardlay) are just two examples.
Some very quick research (along with personal experience) will show that Osaka is a valid Japanese surname. The game may use it as a personal name, but the entry specifically denied its use as a name. The fact that they are rare names does not make them gibberish, especially when they are valid names. There are still people named Napoleon Bonaparte, Hitler, Quisling, etc.
Qaianna removed:
  • In Azumanga Daioh, the Bottle Fairy homeroom teacher is supposed to be a great speaker of English... but whenever she's heard speaking it, it's nothing but meaningless gibberish. (Considering the character, this may well be an extra joke of sorts.)
    • To be fair, when she actually engages a native English speaker in conversation, his speech is the same gibberish, and she seems to have no trouble actually communicating with him.
    • Parodied in the scene where Yukari and Nyamo are approached by a foreigner. After the initial "excuse me" in english, the entire conversation between Yukari and the foreigner is just them saying "Pera pera" to each other, so we only have Yukari's (highly unreliable) word as to what the conversation was actually about.
      • You know, come to think of it, this may actually be a rather clever way of avoiding this trope without having to find actors who can speak English.
    • Well, when she's doing that big speech to upstage Nyamo, she's actually speaking English, so ...

Reason? Here goes ... English is used more gratuitously than anything else in the animation. The Yukari/foreigner scene (the one involving the 'pero' use) is basically avoiding the trope. The English dub substitutes 'blah blah blah' here, and I'm sure that's what the subtitles said too, at least on the official releases. The times that Yukari does dive into English, and her voice actor is allowed to use it, it's intelligible enough. Azumanga Daioh is..well, not an example here.

Nobodymuch: Of course I doubt a modern Swede could understand a Viking anyway. Languages change.

Question: Does Asuka's horrible German in Neon Genesis Evangelion count? The Japanese version is almost incomprehensible. The English one gets better at the pronunciation but the text is still far from being good German.

Would this video count? It's an Italian singer singing in English sounding Gibberish. ~~~~

<random troper>: This maybe needs a subtrope for the unintended subversions that come about when a filmmaker asks an actor to "say something foreign" and they drop a non sequitur or say something really funny in said foreign language. Possibly also include parodies where the characters intentionally speak nonsense (or Yiddish, if we're talking Mel Brooks).