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#1
Old 09-22-2013, 08:42 PM
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American Pop Songs in Chineese

Since Chinese (whichever Chinese language in particular) is tonal what happens when a Chinese singer does a cover of an American English language pop tune in Chinese? Does the melody impact the meaning of the words? Do they have to translate taking meaning, rhyme, and tone into consideration? I have an album of Madonna covers done in Cantonese and to my ear the melodies are the same as in the English versions but are there tonal or pitch adjustments for word meaning that I am not perceiving?

Last edited by Dax-ion; 09-22-2013 at 08:43 PM.
#2
Old 09-23-2013, 04:23 AM
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The melody is retained and the meaning is imparted via context even if the intonation changes.

See example Disney songs sung in Mandarin Chinese.

Even in ordinary speech, foreigners often speak Chinese without the proper intonations, and 80-90% of the time it's still possible to make out what they mean. It's even easier with songs because at least there's a theme to the lyrics and usually the grammar is sensical.

ETA: And yes, of course the translations modify the originals somewhat, but the original meaning is usually preserved (at least in good translations). For example, the Hakuna Matata song in English goes "It means no worries... for the rest of your days..." and the same phrase in Mandarin goes "Starting from now... you don't have to worry anymore"

Last edited by Reply; 09-23-2013 at 04:26 AM.
#3
Old 09-23-2013, 07:43 AM
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I know its a different language, but the example holds.

The Deutch version of the song by Nena had 99 balloons of ambiguous colour.
That was because the line was "nine and nine tens air balloons".
"nien a nien cen luft balluun " (Spelling ? I can't be bothered looking it up. its obvious.)

But in English, there are two words less in the straight translaton
(the "And" in ninety nine, and the "air" in "air balloon" )

In english, "ninety nine balloons " was too short, so it got lengthened to
"ninety nine RED balloons".
#4
Old 09-24-2013, 11:02 AM
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Cool! Big thank you for explaining
#5
Old 09-24-2013, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isilder View Post
I know its a different language, but the example holds.

The Deutch version of the song by Nena had 99 balloons of ambiguous colour.
That was because the line was "nine and nine tens air balloons".
"nien a nien cen luft balluun " (Spelling ? I can't be bothered looking it up. its obvious.)
Deutch?

You should have looked it up. It's Neunundneunzig luftballons. You seem to think it's Neunundneunzehn, which is gibberish.
#6
Old 09-24-2013, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isilder View Post
That was because the line was "nine and nine tens air balloons".
"nien a nien cen luft balluun " (Spelling ? I can't be bothered looking it up. its obvious.)
"neunundneunzig Luftballons." "Neunundneunzig"—literally, nine-and-ninety—is the German word for 99; and in the song title and lyrics everywhere I've seen, it's "spelled" with the numeral 99.
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