How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:26 pm

Piccolo Daimaoh wrote:Need we say that it's absolutely incorrect? Can't we be satisfied with saying that they changed it and had no right to?
But why? Aren't we just playing semantics at this point? If a professor writes an equation on a chalkboard that says "2x-2=4, x=3," and I erase the "3" and replace it with "4," then, yes, I changed it and had no right to, but it's also incorrect. I don't see how those two statements are at all mutually exclusive. If they arbitrarily changed something, then by its very nature, it's also incorrect.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Rukura » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:28 pm

Well, the whole point of the thread was to fully explain why the mentioned pronounciation was wrong (and, by extention, what makes the Saiyan pronounciation correct).

I think that after Desire's post there really is nothing more to add. I guess that's that. Right?
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimaoh » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:35 pm

Gaffer Tape wrote:
Piccolo Daimaoh wrote:Need we say that it's absolutely incorrect? Can't we be satisfied with saying that they changed it and had no right to?
But why? Aren't we just playing semantics at this point? If a professor writes an equation on a chalkboard that says "2x-2=4, x=3," and I erase the "3" and replace it with "4," then, yes, I changed it and had no right to, but it's also incorrect. I don't see how those two statements are at all mutually exclusive. If they arbitrarily changed something, then by its very nature, it's also incorrect.
Firstly, the change was not arbitrary. I think I've made that quite clear. Secondly, FUNimation were adapting the series for a different audience. They took liberties. In the world of Anime, this is frowned upon by most fans -- I frown upon it -- but it nevertheless happens a lot of the time in other media.


Should they have changed it? No. Can criticize them for it? By all means. Can we say that it's incorrect just as a sum that doesn't balance is incorrect? That's debatable. I think not.

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by OutlawTorn » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:53 am

Rukura wrote:It doesn't come from an english word, thus doesn't have to follow english pronounciation standards.
The Japanese dub of Transformers is "Toransufômâ," which is not the correct pronunciation of a word that doesn't come from a Japanese word and, thus, doesn't have to follow Japanese pronunciation standards. The Autobots become "Cybertrons" (which, minus the "s" is the name of the home planet, which became "Seibertron") while the Decepticons become "Destrons".

How is that relevant? Hey, it's a dub (in this case, Japanese) of a foreign property in which stuff was changed here and there, whereas even the most banal difference from the Japanese and English version of DBZ (Frieza with an "ie" versus an "ee" when both combinations can be pronounced the same) is criticized and mocked.

I used to pronounce "Saiyan" as "say-an" because that's how I had heard it in the show, but ever since hearing the pronunciation on the podcast, I've been re-training myself to say it properly.

Let's just look at a few English words which begin with "sai": sail, saint, sailor... none of them are pronounced with "sigh."
desirecampbell wrote:The same way Gohan isn't "Goo-han", and Shuu isn't "Show", and Piccolo isn't "Piss-olo", and Nail isn't "Neil"; saiyan isn't "say-un".
For one, who would pronounce Gohan as "Goo-han"? If there are any words where "go" is pronounced "goo" then they are so obscure that I can't think of any off the top of my head. Regarding "Piccolo" that's an absurd example as it is an actual musical instrument (several, in fact) and it is not a Dragon Ball or animé-exclusive word.
Rukura wrote:They don't have single consonant sounds to physically say "Dragon Ball"
Maybe not in the Japanese language, but if they can pronounce English words, then they can pronounce English words properly. When I hear the song, I hear "Cha-la Head Cha-la" not "Cha-la Hed-do Cha-la." So, basically, the way the argument comes across is that it's okay that English words aren't pronounced the same in Japanese because the Japanese language doesn't work the same way, but there's absolutely no excuse for Japanese words to not be pronounced the Japanese way in English.

I'm not saying mispronouncing something is right, I just want to know by what logic it's okay for English words to be subject to Japanese pronunciation but it is unacceptable for Japanese words to be subject to English pronunciation? If it is wrong for one, it is wrong for both.
Piccolo Daimaoh" wrote:P.S. The dub pronunciation of "Kaioken" is stupid
Yeah, no argument here. I can forgive it if the spelling wasn't known, which leaves me wondering how it was spelled in scripts because "kye" is the pronunciation which immediately comes to mind for "kai."

Insanely, on Google Translate, if you put "kai" in with the language set to English, the pronunciation given is "kay," which I simply don't understand, and "kaioken" comes out similar to the dub pronunciation. However, that being said, as "kaioken" is a Japanese word (though, oddly, Google Translate asked if I wanted it translated from Indonesian) it's pronunciation should be a bit more clear.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by jpdbzrulz4sure » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:06 am

OutlawTorn wrote:When I hear the song, I hear "Cha-la Head Cha-la" not "Cha-la Hed-do Cha-la."
The "HEAD-CHA-LA" part is actually rendered as "hetchara" (ヘッチャラ). :lol:
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Bussani » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:31 am

Some Japanese people can pronounce English perfectly, but a good deal (I'd even go as far as saying most) can't, simply because a) they've had no practice at it, and b) it's impossible to write that way. The English pronunciation of "Transformers" simply can't be represented using kana, and since kana is more of a phonetic writing system than English's written form is, I think that's an important thing to consider. In English you can get away with saying, "It's written this way, but pronounced this way," but kana is way more black and white than that. Pronouncing "Saiya" the Japanese way in English is at least a different sort of example, since we do have words that sound like it, even if they're spelled differently.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by TripleRach » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:33 am

OutlawTorn wrote:I'm not saying mispronouncing something is right, I just want to know by what logic it's okay for English words to be subject to Japanese pronunciation but it is unacceptable for Japanese words to be subject to English pronunciation? If it is wrong for one, it is wrong for both.
Japanese only has five vowels. English has at least a dozen, which more or less includes the five used in Japanese. Consonants are mostly the same, minus the R/L differences, but they're complicated by the fact that Japanese doesn't use consonants standalone.

Native Japanese would have to train themselves on multiple new sounds to pronounce "Transformer" correctly. (R, A, maybe F, ending R...) Plus they'd have to learn to use T and S standalone with no trailing vowels.

Meanwhile, all the vowels and consonants in "Saiyan" natively exist in English. No one has to teach themselves to use any new sounds. If you can pronounce "science" and "cyanide" properly, you can pronounce "Saiyan" properly.

I don't really buy the "ai" spelling standard as the issue, because English is full of other spelling inconsistencies, and nobody mispronounces "King Kai" (as far as I know). I'd guess that it's more about the influence of the dub training people to read those letters like "say in," because I haven't watched the dub in many years and even I still read "Saiyan" that way every once in a while. Maybe you'd have to re-train yourself when reading those letters, but there's nothing new to your vocal cords on top of that.

So it's not really about anyone's mispronunciations being "right." It's about English speakers having less of an excuse for it.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Rukura » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:44 am

OutlawTorn wrote:
Rukura wrote:It doesn't come from an english word, thus doesn't have to follow english pronounciation standards.
The Japanese dub of Transformers is "Toransufômâ," which is not the correct pronunciation of a word that doesn't come from a Japanese word and, thus, doesn't have to follow Japanese pronunciation standards.
Like I said before, that's pronounce it as close to the original pronounciation as the language allows them. We, on the other hand, do not have that problem. That's like saying it's okay for me to use a wheel chair with both legs because that person without a leg does it too. (extreme example, I know, but it seemed like the linguistic equivalent)
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by ricecake » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:39 am

When I see "Saiyan", I think "say-an" due to being exposed to the dub first. However, when I see "Saiya-jin", I think "sigh-a-jin". Both of these sound perfectly natural to me. However, the "sigh-an" pronunciation for "Saiyan" is growing on me.

As for "kaioken", when I first heard it in the dub as "kay-o-ken", I assumed it was a play on "K.O. ken", as if it were a "Knock-Out" technique, since "K.O." (kayo) is an accepted term in America, e.g., in boxing.

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by jjgp1112 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:14 pm

I've always thought that proper pronunciation of Kaio-ken made more sense than Kayoken. However, I don't think "Sigh-an" really rolls off the tongue in the American language as well as other "Say-an" because of the way we pronounce other words with the "Sai-" prefix. I think an important part in dubbing shows is making sure everything sounds natural to the audience it's being presented to, rather than showing something that's incredibly jarring.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Rukura » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:21 pm

jjgp1112 wrote:I've always thought that proper pronunciation of Kaio-ken made more sense than Kayoken. However, I don't think "Sigh-an" really rolls off the tongue in the American language as well as other "Say-an" because of the way we pronounce other words with the "Sai-" prefix. I think an important part in dubbing shows is making sure everything sounds natural to the audience it's being presented to, rather than showing something that's incredibly jarring.
That might've made sense, if it weren't for words like "Majin", "Ginyu" or even some dub-exclusives like "Tien". In fact, that last one turns out more jarring than the original, and yet people go with it.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by jjgp1112 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:27 pm

Rukura wrote:
jjgp1112 wrote:I've always thought that proper pronunciation of Kaio-ken made more sense than Kayoken. However, I don't think "Sigh-an" really rolls off the tongue in the American language as well as other "Say-an" because of the way we pronounce other words with the "Sai-" prefix. I think an important part in dubbing shows is making sure everything sounds natural to the audience it's being presented to, rather than showing something that's incredibly jarring.
That might've made sense, if it weren't for words like "Majin", "Ginyu" or even some dub-exclusives like "Tien". In fact, that last one turns out more jarring than the original, and yet people go with it.
I think there's a line to be drawn in how one goes about translating things, though. If you go super literal and start renaming Ginyu to Milk or Buu to "Magical Being Buu," you're going over the top. I think Pokemon did a good job in adapting a lot of the name's to English, but I'm not to sure it would work the same way in DB, where most of the names are literal puns.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Daimo-Rukiri » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:35 pm

Well it's a good thing they didn't pronounce it seiya-jin :P

But in all honestly it's an English thing and how we pronounce "AI" which has already been talked about on another page.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimao » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:44 pm

jjgp1112 wrote:However, I don't think "Sigh-an" really rolls off the tongue in the American language as well as other "Say-an" because of the way we pronounce other words with the "Sai-" prefix. I think an important part in dubbing shows is making sure everything sounds natural to the audience it's being presented to, rather than showing something that's incredibly jarring.
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)
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Rukura » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:50 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?
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by CaBrPi » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:54 pm

The way I see it, even pronouncing it "Sigh-yan" wouldn't hold up the pun in English. Few English speakers actually understand the meaning behind it, where as native Japanese speakers immediately understood that it was a simple rearrangement of their word for "vegetable".

So, really, I don't find that "Say-an" is wrong because "the pun doesn't work", because the pun doesn't work in English if you pronounce it "Sigh-yan". Really, if you want to preserve the pun in English, you'd have to make it something like "Vegan" or "Tavegan" or, hell, "Vegetarian". Then you get the added benefit of the Vegetarians being from Planet Vegeta, ruled by King Vegeta.

I don't know, maybe that's lame, but that's how I feel about the matter.

Kaioken is obviously different, though, because, as KaiserNeko's own Kaio put it, "It's in my name!"

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimao » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:03 pm

Rukura wrote:
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?
Don't forget Bardock, the brilliant Super Saiyan-tist :P
Yeah, "cyan", "cyanide" and "scientist" all have the same "sigh" sound in them, yet we have no problem pronouncing them.

And I don't think the "Saiyan" case is any different from the "Kaiouken" case, just because FUNimation happened to use "King Kai" as well (you could argue that it was never explicitly stated in the dub that "Kaiouken" came from "King Kai").
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by VegettoEX » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:37 pm

Let's take a trip to an alternate universe. In it, FUNimation (or some other random company -- in fact, let's assume it was Viz, since they always add weird emphasis to syllables) produced an English dub of Dragon Ball Z. In this crazy dub, the name of the character Gohan was pronounced aloud with the "han" sounding like "hand" (as in the thing at the end of your arm with those five fingers on it... well, four fingers and a thumb. Well, maybe you don't have a thumb. Sucks to be you.).

(Fun fact: Chow Yun-Fat pronounced it at least once this way in Dragon Ball Evolution. Also done this way in Big Green.)

Or they pronounce "Nappa" like "Naypa". Or they pronounce "Cell" like "Kell". Or they pronounce "Goku" like "Joe Koo".

Now think about that for a second. If you're a fan of FUNimation's dub, primarily watch that version, and have done so for years, put yourself in this alternate universe for a short vacation. How would you react to hearing the "han" in "Gohan" pronounced like it is in "hand"...? I'd wager pretty heavily that you'd have the same initial reaction as you did to when you first heard "Saiyan" pronounced the way we do so here at Kanzenshuu.

So what's the deal? Does it sound "more natural" to the ears that way? The jjgp1112 (just to pick a random person :D) of that universe would probably think (and adamantly argue) that it sounded absolutely normal. But what's "normal" and "natural"...? I personally think it's ridiculous to say that FUNimation's "Saiyan" pronunciation sounds any more "natural" in "English" than a properly-adapted "Saiya(n)" when you're merrily galloping along with words like "roshi" and "senzu" and "kami" and "kai" and "majin", all of which are Japanese words/phrases/sounds, all of which were more-or-less pronounced 100% perfectly in FUNimation's English dub.

See, here's the thing. We know what the pun is, we know how "yasai" is pronounced, we can make that sound "in English", and it is how the "sai" was intended to be pronounced (see: "Saiyan Blood").

At that point, I don't see a single reason to say that FUNimation's pronunciation is "correct". Maybe in their world and in their production if we take it as a separate universe... but what does their production matter? Take them out of the equation entirely (like, say, before they got the license in 1994). You're watching the original Japanese version. Hell, you're reading the manga. Knowing what you (now?) know, how could you possibly argue that "sei/say" is a valid pronunciation of サイ...?

I'm totally open to legitimate arguments/reasonings for the contrary, but everything I've seen so far seems to stem back to, "Well... FUNimation... err..."

If you want to go CaBrPi's route and do something like "Vegetians" (a la Viz and their "Cultivars" for "Saibaimen"), that's a totally valid school of thought when it comes to translation and adaptation. At that point, though, we're not talking about pronunciation anymore.

(And yes, language can change. And it can also be fixed. See the history of "Kaio-ken" with it being incorrect/correct/incorrect/correct. See other terms making their way into the dub of Kai, and other holdovers being entirely eliminated ["Guru"]. DBZ's not some historical piece of literature so pervasive that it's beyond repair. You, too, can stop forest fires!)
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Puto » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:44 pm

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)
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Rukura » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:47 pm

And for those who don't know of the song, here's Vegeta (Ryo Horikawa) singing Saiyan Blood. In english.

By, the way, how do regular folks pronounce Seiya in english?
Last edited by Rukura on Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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