Howl film

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Wed Aug 22 13:00:21 EDT 2001

Lizzie and Jennifer:

>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.
>  >Well,
>>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).

Sorry if it sounded as if I thought the foreign language was English. 
I meant that it was Welsh.  (We have the music for the saucepan song 
in a book, btw.)  Which probably rules out the translation spell - as 
you said, the rest of the family speak English - it's Mari who speaks 
Welsh with Howl, not Megan though.

>  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.

Presumably a translation spell would be universal rather than 
strictly English to Ingarish, and then Sophie would have understood 
the Welsh.  I vote for Ingary being English-speaking.

>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?

So many possibilities!  The only problem with the first is that she 
doesn't notice an accent even *before* she realises he's Howl.  I 
rather like the idea of all those Welsh-accented Ingarians though. :)


>In the Japanese version, he probably could get away with having the 
>same accent
>as everyone else.  Whether Welsh is appropriate depends on how they translate
>Wales - to get the same cultural impact in Japan that Welshness has 
>in Britain,
>I would have thought they should pick one of the smaller, out of the way
>Japanese islands...

Uhh.  That's seems very odd to me somehow.  Although I accept that 
sometimes things have to be changed to give the same effect, it still 
seems odd.  And surely "Welshness" has a lot of different cultural 
resonances than just smallness and out-of-the-wayness.  I've no idea 
what the cultural impact of those Japanese islands involves.


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