How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimao » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:48 pm

Puto wrote:Speaking of that, "Sai" typically sounds like "Say" in English? Then how come FUNimation themselves pronounced "Saibaman" (removing the i in bai notwithstanding) correctly, when it's the exact same syllable?

Should they have used "Saybaman" instead? (Or Saybayman to keep the original name while butchering the pronounciation)
Exactly. It's inconsistent. If "Sai" in "Saibaimen" (albeit, without the "i" for whatever reason) can be pronounced correctly, why can't "Saiyan"? I really do think that the reason people are holding to that pronunciation is mostly due to FUNimation's indoctrination, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but they shouldn't be arguing that it's remotely correct.
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See, he, a Japanese person, can pronounce perfectly fine! It doesn't sound unnatural to the English tongue.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Puto » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:54 pm

Seiya? The same way as the FUNi dub pronounced Saiyan, except without the n.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by jjgp1112 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:06 pm

Puto wrote:Seiya? The same way as the FUNi dub pronounced Saiyan, except without the n.
Funnily enough, here in the States I've heard that word most frequently announced "Sigha" :lol:
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:06 pm

Puto wrote:Should they have used "Saybaman" instead? (Or Saybayman to keep the original name while butchering the pronounciation)
Meh. I'm sure someone will come in here and try to claim that the "b" somehow makes it more palatable, or that removing the second "ai" sound did that, which in turn makes it a completely different scenario altogether from that crazy, moonspeak example of "Saiyan." I mean, seriously, who can pronounce that? :wink:
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by TonyTheTiger » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:07 pm

Kendamu wrote:It's a little bit more complicated than that with translating Japanese terms into English, but Mike still pretty well has it right in the idea that you lose the "vegetable" pun when you pronounce Saiyan any other way. I'd say that the pun is rather important considering that everyone under that label has a name based off a particular vegetable.
The part of that that doesn't resonate with me is that if the pun is so important (which I'm not saiyan it isn't) then why not just translate the name outright and call them Veggie People, Veggians, or something? It seems rather strange to steadfastly maintain a pun on the grounds that it is a pun while losing the pun in the process anyway.
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Kurillin-Sama wrote:lol, I can't help but laugh at people trying to make objective right/wrong statements about how to pronounce things.
But there are objective right/wrong answers in this case. Yes, words in real life do change, but this isn't real life. It's a mostly static work of fiction.
That's actually how many words came into common use in the first place. Shakespeare practically invented half of the dictionary through his work. For all the talk about "say-un" being factually incorrect, we could just as easily say the same about half of what we speak by virtue of Shakespeare's made up words alone.

"Indoctrination" seems to be presented as a negative in this case but, really, that's quite literally how language works, made up words from fiction or otherwise. Might makes right. And since "say-an" has been absorbed into American pop culture, it is essentially now the American English word by sheer force. For all the talk about "sigh-an" being "correct" well...it lost...which makes it less correct (or at least an alternate, less common pronunciation ala the different ways to say "niche"). If we were having this conversation back in 1997 before the series saw it's massive boom in America the playing field would look very different. But it's not 1997 anymore.

Apparently, Daffy Duck made prevalent the now common pronunciation of "despicable." Originally it was pronounced "DES-pic-able" but because of Daffy's speech impediment he would say "des-PIC-able." (http://tinyurl.com/cgec7yg) And since little kids watching weren't already familiar with the somewhat advanced vocabulary...

And I didn't even know this but it looks like the exact same thing happened with "grimace" because of McDonald's commercials of all things.

And anyway, the thing with language is that it is one of those things where so long as people understand you then you're doing it right and if people don't understand you then you're doing it wrong. So that's why if a word becomes "the norm" it then becomes correct by that principle. The people you're talking to need to be able to know what it is you're talking about so adhering to "common use" (even if the origins of which are dubious) means that the "indoctrination" is perfectly normal behavior.
VegettoEX wrote:DBZ's not some historical piece of literature so pervasive that it's beyond repair.
I really do think it is (at least this specific piece of pop culture terminology is), which is why going into it with the idea of "repair" would be like trying to move a brick wall and even the idea of "repair" is effectively ignoring how language becomes language. We could go out and scream to high heaven "DES-pic-able, you uneducated fools! Daffy Duck is not an authority!" But...yeah... And that would be moot anyway since "des-PIC-able" is not "wrong" anymore. By that same extension, neither is "say-an." If Warner Bros. and McDonald's can be the source of "correct" English pronunciations by virtue of common use then so can FUNimation.

Communication today has made what used to happen over 100 years take place within 10. "D'oh" is in the dictionary. Pop culture is waaaaay stronger than you're giving it credit for. I doubt FUNi redubbing the show with "sigh-an" would change anything other than creating a broken base resulting in two "correct" pronunciations, which is incidentally also what happens when language has the equivalent of a broken base.

This of course doesn't mean that sigh-an (or DES-pic-able) is suddenly "incorrect." It just means say-an is "correct." Either alone or in addition to sigh-an.

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by VegettoEX » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:28 pm

I'm not saying that the "Sayun" pronunciation would ever go away (see: "Kaio-Ken" and people still pronouncing it aloud as "Kayo-Ken" despite being changed in all English media), but you still haven't convinced me that the wrong pronunciation is correct.

A dude in Texas said it wrong, and it's still wrong 16 years later.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Kurillin-Sama » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:51 pm

VegettoEX wrote:but you still haven't convinced me that the wrong pronunciation is correct.
Wow, quite a counter argument. :lol:

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by VegettoEX » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:09 pm

Do you have something you want to add?

Plenty of other people are tossing out tons of great examples, comparisons, and viewpoints. For a subject you seem to care about, your second lol/laughing post isn't helping me take you seriously. I can't tell -- does this actually interest you? 'Cuz I fuckin' love it and I'm super proud that we can gather people like this to talk about it.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Pokewhiz7 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:37 pm

Piccolo Daimao wrote:But "Sigh-an" is pronounced exactly the same way as the English word "cyan", which we have no trouble pronouncing. Why would it be jarring in the slightest, or any moreso than the other Japanese words in Dragon Ball?

Just Saiyan. 8)
People say this, but I don't think it is. I can't really think of a good word for it, but I think it might be the emphasis on syllables is different. Whenever I hear the proper pronunciation of Saiyan, it sounds like SAIyan or with equal emphasis, whereas cyan sounds like cyAN. Also the "a" in the "yan" part of "Saiyan" I believe should be like in "father," but in "cyan" it should be like in "cat." At least, that's how I say it.

Though they are definitely really close.

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by TonyTheTiger » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:45 pm

VegettoEX wrote:I'm not saying that the "Sayun" pronunciation would ever go away (see: "Kaio-Ken" and people still pronouncing it aloud as "Kayo-Ken" despite being changed in all English media), but you still haven't convinced me that the wrong pronunciation is correct.

A dude in Texas said it wrong, and it's still wrong 16 years later.
Well, are you convinced "des-PIC-able" is correct? If so, does the fact that it was popularized by the mispronunciation of a cartoon duck make you think otherwise? A dude in Texas said it wrong 16 years ago isn't any different from a cartoon duck saying it wrong 60 years ago.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:47 pm

TonyTheTiger wrote:This of course doesn't mean that sigh-an (or DES-pic-able) is suddenly "incorrect." It just means say-an is "correct." Either alone or in addition to sigh-an.
Well, are you convinced "des-PIC-able" is correct? If so, does the fact that it was popularized by the mispronunciation of a cartoon duck make you think otherwise?
But, see, your argument is still about how language is used in the real world. Yes, it is how it is influenced by fiction, but still ultimately how it is used in the real world. My statement that it was static only has to do from within the fictional universe itself. And in it, there are a race of people who are given a certain name, and that is how the name is pronounced. And that's really as simple as it gets. As for the pun, I'm gonna go ahead and say that I don't really consider that an essential part of that argument. I think it's Hujio who has often brought up the argument, "This may be what my name means, but the meaning of my name is not my name." And that ties into this. And it also ties into my argument that a name for a specific thing or person DOES have a correct pronunciation.

Finally, the difference between actual language evolution and this is that, let's say we have a race of people called Americans. At some point in the future, the word has evolved to be pronounced Aymeericoons. That doesn't alter the fact that, at some point in the past, the word was not pronounced that way. But when you apply that to a work of fiction in this way, it is not evolving. You are retroactively altering it so that, in its fictional history, it was never pronounced that way. Aside from that one time the dub Majin Boo said "Saiya-jin," it simply does not exist in the dub. I'm not saying that as an argument as to whether or not it's right to do so. I'm saying that it rather deflates the argument that it's some kind of evolution of language.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by TonyTheTiger » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:57 pm

The issue of it being a fake word contained within a work of fiction sort of breaks down though when you start to look at its osmosis in the larger world. Language doesn't kowtow to whether or not a word was made up specifically for a particular work of fiction. If English speakers start using a word as part of the common lexicon then that word becomes an English word. Hence why "D'oh!" is now in the dictionary. And whatever pronunciations are commonly used become the pronunciations within that lexicon. If we were talking about some super self-contained term in a random anime I'd be with you. But we're not. We're talking about something that has gone far beyond the boundaries of the original work. And because of that, because it has entered the English lexicon or vernacular, it is just as subject to all the principles of linguistics as any other word. Like I said, Shakespeare made up words for his own use in his fiction all the time.

Seriously, imagine if we found out the word "DES-pic-able" was completely made up by some 18th century novelist. Just straight up pulled out of his ass and used for whatever purpose. Does that change anything? It really doesn't.

It just sounds like cherry picking to me. Accepting certain words/pronunciations with dubious and sometimes ridiculous history as part of the language by virtue of common use yet rejecting another that came in via the same type of circumstances because it just so happens that particular term is one which has a history that's especially familiar and beloved to the individual.

Again, there's no real issue with people using sigh-an. It's a legitimate pronunciation with a reasonable justification for using it. The problem comes when people start calling say-an outright wrong. Because if say-an is "wrong" then so are des-PIC-able and GRIM-ace and probably the vast majority of the shit we say in our daily lives. So singling out "say-an" as unequivocally incorrect while giving a free pass to everything else comes off as petty and short sighted. When it comes to linguistics, the minute we start calling common vernacular outright wrong we open up a ludicrous can of worms.

Now if you want to argue that "Saiyan" is not part of the common vernacular then great. But I think that's a real tough argument to make. I think Saiyan has become a part of English in the same way that "troll" has developed an additional definition within the last few years. Saiyan is pretty much the "D'oh!" of Dragon Ball. "Kamehameha" would be its only competitor for that title.

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Kendamu » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:10 am

What you're looking at there, TonyTheTiger, is prescriptive versus proscriptive. Don't let your cartoon duck example get in the way of seeing the other side of the coin.

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimaoh » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:57 am

Kendamu wrote:What you're looking at there, TonyTheTiger, is prescriptive versus proscriptive. Don't let your cartoon duck example get in the way of seeing the other side of the coin.
Most authorities on English these days are descriptivists (I think that was the word you were looking for). The prescriptivists, fortunately or unfortunately, lost the battle a while ago. It's now widely accepted that if a word like "hopefully" starts being used in a different way by most people or if a word like "despicable" starts being pronounced in a different way by most people, usage shifts -- it becomes the norm. Tony's argument carries more weight because we're living in 2012 and have a different attitude towards language (well, at least towards English). If we were living in the sixties, the dub pronunciation of "Saiyan" would be considered a fiendish barbarism by all and without question (temporal inconsistencies aside).


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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by TripleRach » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:30 am

TonyTheTiger wrote:Now if you want to argue that "Saiyan" is not part of the common vernacular then great. But I think that's a real tough argument to make. I think Saiyan has become a part of English in the same way that "troll" has developed an additional definition within the last few years. Saiyan is pretty much the "D'oh!" of Dragon Ball. "Kamehameha" would be its only competitor for that title.
...How is that a tough argument to make? Dragon Ball was a pretty popular show at its peak, but that was years ago. It was hardly a pop culture phenomenon in the English speaking world the way the Simpsons were. It didn't even make as much of an impact as Pokemon.

Everyone knows the Simpsons and its major characters, even if they haven't seen the show in years. In 2011-2012, US presidential candidates are referencing Pokemon in their campaigns. But Dragon Ball's legacy pretty much amounts to "Over 9,000" and "Bitch I Look Like Goku."
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimaoh » Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:16 am

It's still part of popular culture. I'm in my late teens and I'd say most people my age where I live at least would be able to answer "Dragon Ball (Z)" when asked "in which cartoon/anime series do Super Saiyans appear?". We grew up with it, and some of us still play the video games (which seem to endlessly add to the story).

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by VegettoEX » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:24 am

I'll admit that I have to concede at least a little bit over some of those examples being brought up. I still don't think they're perfect parallels, but I agree that they have some important relevance. Thanks for tossing them into the mix.

What I have to keep taking it back to, though, is what I think is the most basic question: how would you adapt and pronounce サイヤ人 "in English"...? For that, and I know how difficult it can be, you have to eliminate FUNimation from the equation. If we're talking as authoritative, historical, accurate adaptations as possible, we can't rely on someone else's work or let it influence us when they weren't experts in the first place or had other agendas in the mix ("Kids! Sell! Go!").

Don't even worry about romanizing the word at this point -- worry about the pronunciation, right? What are the characters that make up that word? We have サ and イ and ヤ (let's forget about 人 and adapting that part of the word for now). And so again, we know how やさい is pronounced / we know what the pun is, and we can make those sounds "in English" without adapting any of our vowel/consonant sounds.

At that point, it comes back around to what Gaffer Tape was saying earlier: if we don't adapt it with the "sai/sigh" sound, aren't we changing it just for the sake of changing it with no real basis at all? Why do that if/when you don't need to? With all of that in mind, no, "sayin/sayun/sayan" (as pronounced, not written) would not be the "correct" way to adapt it. It has unnecessary changes that do not add anything to its interpretation.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by dbboxkaifan » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:36 am

Puto wrote:Speaking of that, "Sai" typically sounds like "Say" in English? Then how come FUNimation themselves pronounced "Saibaman" (removing the i in bai notwithstanding) correctly, when it's the exact same syllable?
I's (ii) pronounced differently from Y (wai).

Now, if you try to say Sai and Say, they both sound completely different from each. Sai's Sai while Say is Sei.

English is a messy language regardless of how it's written it's pronounced distinctly.

A guy from another forum said that Zangief on the Wreck-It Ralph Trailer that Zangief mispronounced his own name and I was.. What? It's Zan-giif not Zan-give, for Christ's sake. Just look at the name it's quite simple.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimao » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:53 am

TripleRach wrote:
TonyTheTiger wrote:Now if you want to argue that "Saiyan" is not part of the common vernacular then great. But I think that's a real tough argument to make. I think Saiyan has become a part of English in the same way that "troll" has developed an additional definition within the last few years. Saiyan is pretty much the "D'oh!" of Dragon Ball. "Kamehameha" would be its only competitor for that title.
...How is that a tough argument to make? Dragon Ball was a pretty popular show at its peak, but that was years ago. It was hardly a pop culture phenomenon in the English speaking world the way the Simpsons were. It didn't even make as much of an impact as Pokemon.

Everyone knows the Simpsons and its major characters, even if they haven't seen the show in years. In 2011-2012, US presidential candidates are referencing Pokemon in their campaigns. But Dragon Ball's legacy pretty much amounts to "Over 9,000" and "Bitch I Look Like Goku."
Yeah, Dragon Ball's nowhere near as embedded into the pop culture as Looney Tones or The Simpsons, therefore that argument is kinda void. Ask your average Joe who Daffy Duck or Homer Simpson is, and they'll probably know. Ask them who Gokuu or Piccolo are, and you'll probably get a blank stare. I'm not sure whether or not this is the best example, since she was born in the 60s, but my mother constantly makes the mistake of saying Dragon Z Balls when referring to the series, despite seeing me reading my manga volumes and playing video games. But she knows how to say The Simpsons and all the main characters.

No way is "Saiyan" the "D'oh!" of Dragon Ball. Only "Over 9,000" or "Kamehameha" even comes close. I doubt "Saiyan" will ever get a dictionary entry, unless it's revived via meme or something.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by desirecampbell » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:19 am

dbboxkaifan wrote:A guy from another forum said that Zangief on the Wreck-It Ralph Trailer that Zangief mispronounced his own name and I was.. What? It's Zan-giif not Zan-give, for Christ's sake. Just look at the name it's quite simple.
Actually, "Зангиев" would be pronounced with a final "v" sound. Russian names ending in "v" sounds are sometimes anglicized as "f" because the pronunciation in Russian is similar (see: Romanoff, Stroganoff, Gortchakoff). The Russian language would not have a name ending in "f".

Though Street Fighter brings up some interesting ideas into the debate of pronunciation: Ryu/Rai-u, Bawl-rog/Bal-rog, Vega/Bision. Thoughts?

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