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Say It This Way ‘Cuz I Said So

I won’t lie. I sometimes lurk around other forums. There are only a couple I regularly keep up with (my own, the FUNimation DB forum section)… but there are a couple others I have bookmarked that I check in on every couple of weeks. I feel somewhat of a responsibility to keep up with what the general zeitgeist seems to feel, think, and discuss. Even if they are discussions I have zero interest in participating in, if I am going to call myself an authority figure, I should at least be aware of what the current trends are.

This thread on the GameFAQs “DragonBall – General Message Board” area piqued my interest. I have a morbid curiosity in seeing how people explain Japanese pronunciations to other people in textual form. Someone wanted to know how to pronounce “Kuririn” — a valid question, especially considering that I have been working on my own pronunciation of the name for years. I know how to pronounce it, obviously, but my linguistic lack of skills have always slurred my “r” into “d” sounds! I think I have gotten it down pretty well these days… though I am certainly no Julian ^_~.

Anyway, this response made me chuckle:

Krillin. You’re not Japanese.

We have done whole podcast topics about “today’s fans with regards to the series and the way they view it (both the Japanese version and the English version, in relation to their [dis]placement)“. It is totally fine if you want to be that way — as Julian has humorously quoted (and I paraphrase), “If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me!”

Why bother with the “Japanese names”…? You speak English! It makes so much sense! We won’t even bother with examples like “Cell” and “Trunks” which Japanese-ify “English” words with their inherent extra syllables, but:

  • What about some of the other character names, though? Don’t you say “Kami“…? OK, fine — maybe you try to be self-consistent and translate/speak it as “God”. I will give you an “out” on that one.
  • Don’t you say “Goku“, which is a Japanese reading of the Chinese name for the Monkey King…? OK, fine — maybe you drop the “Son” surname to feel better about it and yourself.
  • Don’t you say “Tien“, which is a reference to something Chinese, never mind that it is not even how his name is spelled/pronounced in the original Japanese version of the show? I suppose this is pretty similar to the “Kuririn/Krillin” adaptation…
  • The name “Kuririn” is every bit of a pun-based name as “Ginyu“, which American fans typically write out and pronounce near-phonetically-equivalent to its original Japanese pronunciation — why is that one OK? Don’t you see the hypocrisy?
  • Don’t you say “Kamehameha“, which is a combination of actual Japanese and gibberish?
  • I am seeing hilarious conversations these days where dub fans are now trying to figure out which sounds “more cool” to keep, since the dub of (Z) Kai has changed things like “Destructo Disc” to “Kienzan” — their own overlords (the FUNimation English dub) won’t stay consistent for them, so they are left to flap about in confusion.
  • Worst of all… the Viz manga (you know, the English version) spells it as “Kuririn“. This has nothing to do with pronunciation, of course, though… but it somehow seems relevant, ya’ know?

I mean, shit… what about other shows where a character’s name is a Japanese name…? Do you “translate” it for fear of being seen as anti-American? Do you call the author of the series “Bird Mountain“, and if so, how do you reconcile the fact that his studio is literally called “Bird Mountain“…?

Why is it OK to keep some names with their Japanese pronunciations, and then disregard all others while scoffing at anyone who doesn’t choose to use your preferred dub’s spelling? Much like folks who have only read Viz’s translation (which has exclusively used the spelling “Kuririn”), I would wager that if the name was never changed to “Krillin” in the first place, these folks wouldn’t even blink at “Kuririn” all these decades later. I hate to play this card, since I am so sick of talking about it (and you are so sick of hearing about it)… but is it not simply because FUNimation just happened to have decided to change that name?

It is entirely inconsistent. It is ignorant. It is fearful. It is arrogant. It is hypocritical.

The mentality of “STFU your not jap spell/pronounce it dis way” is laughably moronic when you are using other Japanese-based (if not un-changed, entirely Japanese) character names in the same breath.

Yes, I am right and they are wrong. I dare you to argue otherwise ^_~.

(P.S. – Oh, and to answer the question… Japanese is pronounced very phonetically and with few exceptions. クリリン breaks down to “ku – ri – ri – n“. The ku is a short syllable that sounds close to the beginning of our word “cool”, the ri is a short syllable that sounds close to the beginning of our word “reed”, and there are two of those in a row, and then the last syllabic-“N” sound is pretty obvious in that it sounds just like it does at the end of our words like “pen”. It all slurs together pretty quickly so that it sounds like what I talked about here [MP3 example included]. “Krillin” is something that I feel is a totally legitimate transliteration of the name, but let’s not pretend that “Kuririn” is absurd.)

(P.P.S. – To semi-quote myself being sarcastic recently… “Shit’s serious, yo.” No, this is not a big deal. At all. It does not affect anyone’s day-to-day life. Just felt like writing about it.)

11 Comments

  1. the ri is a short syllable that sounds close to the beginning of our word “read”

    Probably better to change ‘read’ to ‘reed’ or ‘reel’ because ‘read’ can be pronounced as ‘red’.

  2. Ooooooh, good catch. Updated. Thanks!

  3. I got a ‘ridiculous internet look’ once for using ‘Blooma’. I’ve been meaning to formulate my own personal list of name spellings, so I wanted to try out ‘Blooma’. I was actually surprised somebody noticed. It doesn’t really seem like a big deal to me because it just is. I know I try to avoid stepping on casuals’ feet by NOT ‘correcting’ the names they use, but then to be turned ’round and called out for something myself is quite surreal.

    Stuff’s whack, yo.

  4. Despite near-exclusively spelling it “Kuririn” on the webs and such, even I often find myself actually saying “Krillin” just because it’s easier. It’s true that it’s a legit transliteration, so I don’t really feel bad.

  5. Oh, toooooootally guys. I have NO ISSUE AT ALL with the spelling and usage of “Krillin”. Really. I don’t. I hope I made that clear enough to the casual reader :).

    I take issue with “STFU ITS KRILLIN”… when… uhh… the average FUNimation dub fan is holding far-more-absurd things than “Kuririn” in their general lexicon.

  6. I think the Big Green Dub transliterated (is that the right usage) Krillin’s name to “Klerin.” I don’t know if that’s correct or not, but I actually like it a bit more than Krillin. I feel like it sounds more like a name. Well, a name of an English speaker.

  7. I like to pronounce it “K’dilin”, but I suppose that’s just me.

  8. Who knew you payed attention to gamefaqs.

  9. The Time Traveller

    July 11, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    People always seem to use some weird spelling for the Big Green Kuririn spelling, would it be Klirin? Not Clearin or Klerin.

  10. Dustin: They used “Clirin” (spelled as such in the subtitles) in that dub.

  11. The reason people don’t say “Kuririn” or “god” is because that isn’t how they are said in the Funimation dub. There is nothing more to it than that. It has nothing to do with actual translations or what they feel is more correct.

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