How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by VegettoEX » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:24 am

The games have always pronounced "Ryu" correctly. The American cartoon, live action movies, and even some fans pronouncing it "wrong" doesn't change anything.

Right? Right!

(I think that's a pretty good parallel/example. Thanks!)
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by TonyTheTiger » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:10 pm

Piccolo Daimao wrote: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.
I think "Saiyan" has entered pop culture in the context of "Super Saiyan" rather than the specific nature of the alien race. People don't have to know Goku is an alien from planet Vegeta to associate the term with a glowy transformation. It's pretty common to find that, no matter what the context is, whenever a character in fiction gets a power up or engages in earth shattering fights people start making references to Super Saiyans. You see it with Avatar and the avatar state, Super Sonic obviously, and pretty much every fight in The Matrix.
VegettoEX wrote: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.
How do we pronounce the Greek Κέρβερος? If we break down the sounds, Kerberos is accurate* and easy enough to say in English. But despite that, Cerberus still stands as a legitimate pronunciation. The issue at stake here is whether or not the technically less accurate pronunciation is "wrong." Especially when it's the far more common one.

*I don't know Greek and am just assuming that's the case.

Although they're related, there are two separate concepts at odds in this discussion. First, the level of accuracy that we want in translation. For that we can ignore FUNimation just like we can ignore whoever originally concocted the "Cerberus" pronunciation. That's why you'll find many retranslations of the same documents and works. If somebody either doesn't trust famous translation X or just wants to do it for himself then he can produce translation Y. Famous translation X doesn't have to have any bearing whatsoever on that person.

Second, at what point does an old fuck up become ingrained into the language to the point that it's no longer a fuck up? Or, more specifically, to the point that it's no longer fair to accuse people of saying it "wrong." For that question you really can't ignore Famous translation X, FUNimation, or the person who coined "Cerberus" because of their effect on the modern language.

Everything you're saying about サイヤ人 is right. And somebody going "back to the texts" for a new go at translation could easily go about it just as you say without even considering FUNimation. I just think that exists as a separate issue from whether or not "say-an" has become a legitimate pronunciation and why I take issue with calling it "wrong" or "incorrect." It may have started that way but at some point it stops being it.

If we want to use video games, Chrono Trigger is the perfect example. Ted Woolsey's SNES translation is pretty famous. From "Good morning, Crono" straight through to the end there are some well known lines and characters. There are also a few glaring errors because it was a rushed project. The DS version gave the game a completely new translation that is, for all intents and purposes, flawlessly accurate. Except for one thing in particular...the names. The character names as well as "Epoch" and "Masamune" are carried over from Woolsey. Not a single "Marldia," "Vinegor," "Silvard," or "Grandleon" in sight. It was a very shrewd thing to do and I think what we're talking about right now is the reason why. Amazingly, "Good morning, Crono" was even used in the ad campaign despite that specific phrasing not appearing in the DS version at all.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by The Time Traveller » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:16 pm

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.
More like Zan-gi-ef isn't it?

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimao » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:19 pm

TonyTheTiger wrote:
Piccolo Daimao wrote: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.
I think "Saiyan" has entered pop culture in the context of "Super Saiyan" rather than the specific nature of the alien race. People don't have to know Goku is an alien from planet Vegeta to associate the term with a glowy transformation. It's pretty common to find that, no matter what the context is, whenever a character in fiction gets a power up or engages in earth shattering fights people start making references to Super Saiyans. You see it with Avatar and the avatar state, Super Sonic obviously, and pretty much every fight in The Matrix.
I disagree. Unless you were someone who happened to grow up around the time Dragon Ball Z aired on TV in households, then you probably wouldn't know anything about "Saiyans". Like I aforementioned, my mother, who was born in the '60s (and definitely didn't watch it when she was a kid), doesn't know much about "Saiyans" or Dragon Ball in general, but she sure as hell knows a lot about The Simpsons, despite not actively watching it.

And I'd wager that more people know about "Super Sonic" (Sonic himself still being a current popular video game character) than "Super Saiyans" (Dragon Ball's current status having been reduced to "that 90/00s cartoon I used to watch when I was a kid"), and it's only the final fight between Neo and Agent Smith in The Matrix Revolutions that I've heard being referred to as being similar to a Dragon Ball Z battle. But that's neither here nor there.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by VegettoEX » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:27 pm

TonyTheTiger wrote:If we want to use video games, Chrono Trigger is the perfect example. Ted Woolsey's SNES translation is pretty famous. From "Good morning, Crono" straight through to the end there are some well known lines and characters. There are also a few glaring errors because it was a rushed project. The DS version gave the game a completely new translation that is, for all intents and purposes, flawlessly accurate. Except for one thing in particular...the names. The character names as well as "Epoch" and "Masamune" are carried over from Woolsey. Not a single "Marldia," "Vinegor," "Silvard," or "Grandleon" in sight. It was a very shrewd thing to do and I think what we're talking about right now is the reason why.
And I absolutely agree with all of that.

But it's also talking about it from a licensed production and sales perspective where nostalgia contributes to profit margins. I'm not talking about that at all. I couldn't give one less of a flying fuck what was said in a prior adaptation :).

Maybe I was leaning toward that way earlier in the discussion, but what I'm heading toward now isn't so much "taking into consideration other things and what people already know", and more of an, "in an objective bubble, how would/should you do this?"

And I still come back to "changing the pronunciation when you don't have to for any reason what-so-ever serves no purpose and shouldn't be done". We can make the sound. It's been shown how many times we can make the sound. Even the adaptation that changes the sound makes that same sound in other places in adaptations of the same sounds. If you have the knowledge, you have the power. I gotta power? YOU gotta power!
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by kei17 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:49 pm

To me, of course, the "Saiyan" pronunciation would be better, but "Sayun" still is acceptable, considering that Saiyan is not a Japanese word. As for Kaioken and Kamehameha, I definitely prefer the "correct" pronunciations because they're the original Japanese names. So, "Sayun" is okay, but "Sayajin" sounds really weird.

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimao » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:14 pm

kei17 wrote:To me, of course, the "Saiyan" pronunciation would be better, but "Sayun" still is acceptable, considering that Saiyan is not a Japanese word. As for Kaioken and Kamehameha, I definitely prefer the "correct" pronunciations because they're the original Japanese names. So, "Sayun" is okay, but "Sayajin" sounds really weird.
Just to play devil's advocate, what would you say if people said that "Kayoken" wasn't necessarily an incorrect pronounciation because that's how most say it in the English-speaking fandom, and they could argue that its name was explicitly stated, at least in the dub, to come from its creator "King Kai" (which, itself, isn't wrong, but somewhat misleading)?

I mean "Kaiouken" and "Kamehameha" (especially "Kamehameha", chosen just because Toriyama and/or his wife liked the sound of it) are just as made-up as "Kayoken" and "Kamayamaya", aren't they? Well, apart from the "Kame" part in "Kamehameha", but you get the point. Oh, then again, "Kaiouken" is technically made up of three real Japanese words: "Kai", "ou" and "ken". But it's still technically a made-up word in and of itself, just like "bookshirt" is. But then, that wouldn't give anyone grounds to pronounce "bookshirt" as something like "bohk-shit" or "buuk-shii-urt", would it?

Sure is food for thought.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimaoh » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:25 pm

VegettoEX wrote: But it's also talking about it from a licensed production and sales perspective where nostalgia contributes to profit margins. I'm not talking about that at all. I couldn't give one less of a flying fuck what was said in a prior adaptation :).
I'll agree that Tony's example wasn't the best either. For the most part, translations are black-and-white. If the character in the original game said nothing to the effect of "Good Morning", then the translation is wrong.

Here, however, we're talking about a sound change (who caused the change is irrelevant) in a transliterated/partially translated word that is made up. Not pulled-out-of-one's ass made up, but the word in its original language does not appear in any of that language's dictionaries, or, simply put, is not a "proper" word.
VegettoEX wrote: Maybe I was leaning toward that way earlier in the discussion, but what I'm heading toward now isn't so much "taking into consideration other things and what people already know", and more of an, "in an objective bubble, how would/should you do this?"
I think this is where most of the disagreement arises. Yes, in a strictly objective and IMO pedantic vacuum, the pronunciation is wrong. But language isn't in a wholly objective, unchanging vaccum. Or at least language as used by the masses isn't. Most linguists are agreed on this.

If a "foreign" word, like "angst" or "Saiyan", comes into popular discourse and, after a while, starts being pronounced in a different way by most people, then it's not really fair to call the new pronunciation totally incorrect. Those who do are called pedants by those less conservative. What's more, if everyone (or, say, 95% of speakers) adopts the new pronunciation, then the old one becomes old-fashioned or even archaic. Obviously this is not the case with "Saiyan". However, the rules apply no matter how big the group of people who use the word exclusively.
VegettoEX wrote: And I still come back to "changing the pronunciation when you don't have to for any reason what-so-ever serves no purpose and shouldn't be done".
No one is arguing against that. They shouldn't have changed it and I'm thankful that's no longer standard pratice, but what's done is done. No number of forum posts will change that.

This thread has mostly been about the "correctness" of the pronunciation. I don't think it's fair to say that it's incorrect as such. Yes, we know Japanese and the original pronunciation, and we know where the word comes from or the pun, but most don't. The mob has spoken.
VegettoEX wrote: We can make the sound. It's been shown how many times we can make the sound. Even the adaptation that changes the sound makes that same sound in other places in adaptations of the same sounds. If you have the knowledge, you have the power. I gotta power? YOU gotta power!
I don't know why you're still prattling on about the sounds themselves. Everyone on both sides of the debate (I think) agrees that the sound is in English and can be made without difficulty. The sound is not the usual one for the letters that represent it, as I've pointed out, and this is probably the reason for the change, but that ultimately does not matter when the sound change the in word itself has already taken place.



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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Rocketman » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:05 pm

"Kamehameha" is an interesting choice, since it's a word that existed in English long before Dragonball, pronounced "Kamayamaya".

Honestly, all these terminology threads are getting a little tiring. No response will satisfy the hardliners except completely agreeing with them. "Caesar (kai-zar, not seizer)", "New Orleans (Or-lee-an, not Or-leens)", "Kratos (Krah-tos, not Kray-tos)", "Zeus (Zevs, not Zews...except in Modern Greek his name has become Dias)", "Jesus Christ (Yeshua Khristos)", so what. Dragonball is too important to ever change when it crosses linguistic boundaries!

Not saying the hardliners are wrong, just very, very bullheaded about something that literally happens all the time but is only a Big Deal when it comes to Dragonball, apparently.

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimaoh » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:18 am

I'd just like to stress quickly (and I promise I'll refrain from getting into discussions like this, where I'm apt to overdo it) that this is rather a gray area. I lean towards accepting the dub pronunciation as merely a variant based on my attitudes about language, but I think it would be difficult to argue definitively one way or the other for a number of reasons. That's why I feel I have to jump in when some folks assert that the dub pronunciation is wrong simply because it's different or they changed it. I think it goes a bit deeper than that. Overall, it's a worthwhile discussion, and good food for thought, but ultimately I feel that some of us have essentially different views that simply can't be reconciled. It's been interesting, though.

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by TripleRach » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:50 am

Rocketman wrote:Not saying the hardliners are wrong, just very, very bullheaded about something that literally happens all the time but is only a Big Deal when it comes to Dragonball, apparently.
Well, what do you expect? This is a Dragon Ball forum, and we're Dragon Ball nerds. Personally, I'm far more interested in the plumbing systems of capsule houses than the pronunciation of "New Orleans." No joke.

(I also care more about the pronunciations of "Han Solo" and "Goa'uld" than the pronunciation of "New Orleans." Yay priorities.)
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimao » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:22 am

Rocketman wrote:"Kamehameha" is an interesting choice, since it's a word that existed in English long before Dragonball, pronounced "Kamayamaya".

Honestly, all these terminology threads are getting a little tiring. No response will satisfy the hardliners except completely agreeing with them. "Caesar (kai-zar, not seizer)", "New Orleans (Or-lee-an, not Or-leens)", "Kratos (Krah-tos, not Kray-tos)", "Zeus (Zevs, not Zews...except in Modern Greek his name has become Dias)", "Jesus Christ (Yeshua Khristos)", so what. Dragonball is too important to ever change when it crosses linguistic boundaries!

Not saying the hardliners are wrong, just very, very bullheaded about something that literally happens all the time but is only a Big Deal when it comes to Dragonball, apparently.
Yeah, that's fair enough. I'll just say one last thing about the "Kamehameha" thing: obviously, the English "Kamehameha" is different to the Japanese "Kamehameha" in Dragon Ball (or just the "Kamehameha" in Dragon Ball, since Toriyama's wife just made it up anyway. I wonder if it was coincidental that it happened to be a real English word which they just changed the pronunciation for).

I actually didn't know about the old pronunciations of a bunch of those real-life terms. And the English language is funny and inconsistent. Actually, just language in general is funny and inconsistent. Even something like "Vegerrot" is arguably just as acceptable as "Vegetto", with the only real argument I've heard against it being that it doesn't fit the kana (which only a few members here are obsessive about) and it...sounds weird? In a series like Dragon Ball, where we've got terms like "Chaozu" and "Makankousappou" flying about, which we're fine using without any trouble, even if we didn't necessarily grow up indoctrinated with them?

Also, I think I've mentioned this before, but to circumvent this little "problem", I've just begun using "Kakarotto", so merging that with "Vegeta" to make "Vegetto" would make sense. It's my half-assed attempt at consistency with my naming scheme.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by VegettoEX » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:45 am

Rocketman wrote:Not saying the hardliners are wrong, just very, very bullheaded about something that literally happens all the time but is only a Big Deal when it comes to Dragonball, apparently.
Like Rach said, it's not like I'm running around my neighborhood knocking on doors conducting polls about how people translate/adapt "Kami" and vegetable names in their daily lives and self-publishing zines about how the censorship of deities' names affects me on such a deep personal level that I feel compelled to make it my life's work above and beyond all natural self-processes such as breathing and pooping.
Piccolo Daimao wrote:I actually didn't know about the old pronunciations of a bunch of those real-life terms. And the English language is funny and inconsistent. Actually, just language in general is funny and inconsistent. Even something like "Vegerrot" is arguably just as acceptable as "Vegetto", with the only real argument I've heard against it being that it doesn't fit the kana (which only a few members here are obsessive about) and it...sounds weird? In a series like Dragon Ball, where we've got terms like "Chaozu" and "Makankousappou" flying about, which we're fine using without any trouble, even if we didn't necessarily grow up indoctrinated with them?
I feel like you're trying to use my "but there's so many weird words in the series!" point against me, but you're missing the point while doing so.

At least for me, I've never said that "Vegerot" doesn't make sense. It makes complete sense the same way "Pocus" does and the same way "Vegetians" does. The thing is, they didn't do one of those. It wasn't consistent. Am I consistent? Nope. Trying to get there, and maybe I never will, but my preferred adaptation method is to keep the pronunciation above the pun above the romanization. If they all work together, that's icing on the freakin' cake, but if not, I don't want to change how I hear the character's name when written down just to drive the pun home and be all LOOK HOW CLEVER I AM a la how we feel about Viz's Buu-era translations.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by jjgp1112 » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:58 am

I'm pretty sure Toriyama said at one point that he came up with the Kamehameha after a trip to Hawaii
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:00 am

Well, yes, Vegerot works, but it's in the same sense that Hyperbolic Time Chamber "works." As in, it gets the basic idea across, but it's still not his name. Just like we can have a Hawaiian king pronounced "Kamayamaya" and a Dragon Ball attack with the same spelling but a different pronunciation, because they're wholly independent and separate names for wholly independent and separate things but are still wrong when you try to interchange them.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by DBZGTKOSDH » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:00 am

jjgp1112 wrote:I'm pretty sure Toriyama said at one point that he came up with the Kamehameha after a trip to Hawaii
Wasn't this for the Tenkaichi Budokai?
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Superman is, and always has been, a symbol for truth, justice, and upstanding moral fortitude–a role model and leader as much as a fighter. The more down-to-earth Goku has no illusions about being responsible for maintaining social order, or for setting some kind of moral example for the entire world. Goku is simply a martial artist who’s devoted his life toward perfecting his fighting skills and other abilities. Though never shy about risking his life to save either one person or the entire world, he just doesn’t believe that the balance of the world rests in any way on his shoulders, and he has no need to shape any part of it in his image. Goku is an idealist, and believes that there is some good in everyone, but he is unconcerned with the big picture of the world…unless it has to do with some kind of fight. Politics, society, law and order don’t have much bearing on his life, but he’s a man who knows right from wrong.

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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Puto » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:16 am

jjgp1112 wrote:I'm pretty sure Toriyama said at one point that he came up with the Kamehameha after a trip to Hawaii
No, he said he asked his wife for a cool turtle/kame sounding name and she spit out Kame Hame Ha.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimao » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:57 am

VegettoEX wrote:
Piccolo Daimao wrote:I actually didn't know about the old pronunciations of a bunch of those real-life terms. And the English language is funny and inconsistent. Actually, just language in general is funny and inconsistent. Even something like "Vegerrot" is arguably just as acceptable as "Vegetto", with the only real argument I've heard against it being that it doesn't fit the kana (which only a few members here are obsessive about) and it...sounds weird? In a series like Dragon Ball, where we've got terms like "Chaozu" and "Makankousappou" flying about, which we're fine using without any trouble, even if we didn't necessarily grow up indoctrinated with them?
I feel like you're trying to use my "but there's so many weird words in the series!" point against me, but you're missing the point while doing so.

At least for me, I've never said that "Vegerot" doesn't make sense. It makes complete sense the same way "Pocus" does and the same way "Vegetians" does. The thing is, they didn't do one of those. It wasn't consistent. Am I consistent? Nope. Trying to get there, and maybe I never will, but my preferred adaptation method is to keep the pronunciation above the pun above the romanization. If they all work together, that's icing on the freakin' cake, but if not, I don't want to change how I hear the character's name when written down just to drive the pun home and be all LOOK HOW CLEVER I AM a la how we feel about Viz's Buu-era translations.
I honestly wasn't trying to use anything against you, and your "but there's so many weird words in the series!" point was something I already agreed with even before the whole "Vegerrot" thing came up. I was voicing what came into my head.

I'm not bashing your adaptation method of "Vegetto" while having "Kakarrot", since it's perfectly fine. Just that it doesn't work for me, and I'm not saying you're saying it has to. Translation is an art form and a tricky business, even for those that know all about both the English and the Japanese culture and language, and no-one's naming scheme is 100% consistent. That'd be almost impossible.
Gaffer Tape wrote:Well, yes, Vegerot works, but it's in the same sense that Hyperbolic Time Chamber "works." As in, it gets the basic idea across, but it's still not his name.
Well, there was nothing remotely like "hyperbolic" in the original name "The Room of Spirit and Time" (even if time is technically "hyperbolic" in the room, but that wasn't explicitly mentioned in its name), and "Hyperbolic Time Chamber" misses out the "spirit" part, which is arguably important. But then again, you could say the same thing about "Vegerot" not sticking to the kana, which could be arguably important too.
Last edited by Piccolo Daimao on Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Gaffer Tape » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:05 am

Yeah, it's pretty much the exact same thing. With one, you gain "hyperbolic," which was never there, and lose "spirit," which should be there, and with the other you, gain "rot," which was never there, and lose "tto," which should be there.
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Re: How is Seyun (Saiyan) pronounciation wrong?

Post by Piccolo Daimao » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:10 am

Gaffer Tape wrote:Yeah, it's pretty much the exact same thing. With one, you gain "hyperbolic," which was never there, and lose "spirit," which should be there, and with the other you, gain "rot," which was never there, and lose "tto," which should be there.
Yeah, I suppose so. It's not an equal compromise. But it's not "wrong", though.
Holden Caulfield in [b][i]The Catcher in the Rye[/i][/b] wrote:I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.

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