Monday, May 18, 2009


Léon, Anna and Thomas are currently sitting watching 'Chicken Little' dubbed into Danish. Half way through the movie two of the Danish-speaking characters suddenly burst into song and sing the well-known Spice Girls number Wannabe. Unlike the rest of the movie, the song isn't dubbed - they have kept the original sound track for those 3 minutes. The first time I witnessed this phenomenon was back in Germany in the early 80s, watching an episode of Dallas when suddenly while the Ewings all sat round the table discussing life and the universe in German, they suddenly burst into Happy Birthday in English - the soap suddenly switching to the original soundtrack, complete with everyone's voice temporarily changing.
Obviously I was brought up as an English native speaker, so we don't have dubbed TV. If we never learn a foreign language, we never see dubbed TV. What I wonder is - when you are Danish or German or whatever, doesn't it freak you out a little when the characters in the soap or movie you are watching suddenly swap language and voice for 3 minutes once an hour (especially if they swap to a language you don't actually understand), or don't you even notice because you've grown up with this bizarre phenomenon? I'm also puzzled as to why they rarely dub songs?


Thomas Widmann said...

Because those songs are known only in English. It's not like Spice Girls used to sing in Danish a lot.

Phyl said...

Sure but isn't it really odd when a chicken with say a Jutland accent suddenly lapses into pure Bronx for 10 lines then back to Jutland????

Harry Campbell said...

And Happy Birthday is about the most international song there is.

Phyl said...

I know but even if someone knows the words I don't expect them to change from having a deep Jutlandic accent to suddenly being a native newyorker with a squeaky voice for the duration of it - it totally spoils the illusion - get the dubber to sing it in English if you like but in the character's voice

The Scudder said...

Do you two only talk to one another via Blogs now that your office is upstairs ?
Oh & PS : Re the dubbing thing .,,.
I too find it a totally bizarre experience ,.., however I did find a Porn Week prog on Sky once where the dubbing was fantastic fun ,. :)