Howl film

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at
Wed Aug 22 05:26:26 EDT 2001

There are teeny, tiny spoilers about Howl's Moving Castle and Castle In The
Air, but I think they're only for setting, not plot- and if you've read
previous messages in this thread you already know Howl is Welsh anyway.

On Tue, 21 Aug 2001, Hallie O'Donovan wrote: 
>> Sophie never says anything that I could find about 
>> Howl's having an accent.  When they go to Wales he talks in a foreign 
>> language, which she recognises as probably being the same as The 
>> Saucepan Song, but nothing else.  I'm far from being an expert (Ania 
>> will be here tonight and can correct me), but everyone I've heard 
>> from Wales had a really noticable accent - rather like a Cork or 
>> Kerry accent here.  You'd never fail to notice one of them.  But the 
>> absence of comment about this in the book made me wonder what DWJ 
>> would choose for Howl's accent, if she had free rein.

From: M Elizabeth Parks [mailto:meparks at]
>now I'm wondering how precisely Howl learned the language of Ingary, which
>I had sort of assumed to be English, as the book is written in English,
>Ingary sounds sort of like England, and other places in the books seem to
>parallel other places here (I can't remember if anything is said about
>Abdullah and Flower in the Night speaking a different language in Castle,
>and all the princesses understood each other, didn't they?  Unfortunately,
>I don't have a copy, so I can't check).  

The "foreign language" that Howl's family speak with him is Welsh, not
English. (He starts off by saying "Megan bach!", I think, which is sort of
"my-dear-little Megan!". The nephew talks in English, so Sophie can
understand the stuff about the video game- even though she doesn't know what
it is). The saucepan song is in Welsh (it *is* about saucepans- it starts
"sospan fach, sospan fawr" which I think is "little saucepan, big saucepan",
but anyway it's a sort of nursery nonsense song). Erg, um, when Howl changes
Sophie and Michael's clothes (I think all the Ingarian names are English
ones, which might well argue for the language being English), does he also
give them a translator spell, as per the Tough Guide, or not? I can't
remember. If not, then Ingary probably does speak English.

Hmmmm. The people in the town talk about Howl as a foreign wizard who has
moved in, so maybe Sophie just expects a strange accent, so she never thinks
about it? People in different parts of Ingary (or from, say, Norland) have
different accents, so the king and other people Howl talks to don't think
it's peculiar either? Ingarians *all* speak Welsh-accented English? DWJ's
living in Wales when young means that she doesn't think of a Welsh accent as
out-of-the-way and never thought to mention it? 

Abdullah and Flower-in-the-Night definitely speak the same language as
Ingary but Abdullah finds it hard to understand the Ingary "barbarous
accent". I think practically all the princesses speak it too- certainly one
is specifically mentioned as from such a far country that nobody could
understand her. Of course, several of them might be speaking "Ingarian" as a
foreign language, or some could be translating for others.
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