Petty annoyance, bilingual-ed edition: on my TV, when you're watching something with the closed-captions on, you can NOT pause the action to write or type the caption, because when you press the pause button, the "pause" and "where are you in the movie" on-screen graphics completely obscure the captioning. (I now recall that back in Virginia, when we first upgraded to this TV from our old CRT one, I was similarly annoyed to discover that because of this, I could not watch old silent movies on double-speed, because the fast-forward graphic also obscured the captions telling you what people said.)
Despite this, I am still, very slowly and laboriously, going through my Spanish dubbing of the movie "Shazam." At some point in the past few days I stumbled upon another Captain Obvious insight regarding my handwritten list of "positive matches" gleaned from TV shows: rather than just have the one big unwieldy mega-list, do a separate one for each individual program. This is especially useful regarding my Nick Jr. Latino/Pluto programming, where they only show the same handful of episodes over and over again, so it's easy for me to be like "Oh, they're showing the "Witch Competition" episode of Ben y Holly again?" and take the relevant list from the relevant notebook. Unsurprisingly, I'm doing much better at remembering things (especially phrases and clauses, rather than mere individual vocabulary-word nouns and adjectives) when I also have a context in which to remember them -- merely trying to remember the random phrases "on the table" and "it is on the table" is much harder for me, than also remembering "Steve the Blue's Clues host said it in the 'bubble bath' episode." And I am slowly, sloooooowly, starting to get a better handle on some common verbs that way -- like, Steve used the "we" form of it in an episode, but -- hey! Someone else used the "I" form of the same verb in that small bit of Deep Impact I saw, and I'm pretty sure one of Tween Dora's friends used the "you" conjugation....
So I'm going through the Spanish "Shazam" (I'm still barely halfway through the initial opening flashback scene), adding to my list of Spanish words, phrases or short sentences plus their English meanings. Between the captioning-pause limitations and my current problems with my dominant arm and hand, I'm not even trying to collect, like, a complete Spanish-language transcript of the movie -- when Asshole Dad and Asshole Big Brother go on for a couple of paragraphs being abusive dicks to their future-supervillain family member, I'll pay attention to their words and the captions but won't bother trying to "capture" much for my list, except a couple of quick-and-easy one or two-word phrases I can get without having to pause, rewind and replay multiple times -- but my list does have most of the short sentences and phrases spoken in the opening scenes, plus the type of brief screen instructions you'll see on a closed-captioned show (Suena musica en la radio -- music plays on the radio. Se detiene -- it stops.)
But I've already gleaned enough from Shazam plus some other things (including my still-incomplete attempt to write a full Spanish transcript of that three-minute cartoon clip I linked upthread) to notice a ... I won't say "a problem," but "something I personally am having difficulty grasping" -- I am having a HARD time figuring out whether or not a Spanish statement actually "works," not just as a grammatically complete sentence, but even as something which might not pass muster with a grammar-school teacher, but would at least be understood in the context of a casual chat where you're not being graded.
Upthread I mentioned some concern over Spanish phrases lacking a subject noun as all English sentences must, until Ellie assured me that's fine: when the bunny Girl Scout discussed what the bird book said about cardinals -- Dice que tienen un hermoso canto, literally "Says they have a beautiful song" -- not a complete English sentence because there's no noun telling you who or what is saying this, but you don't need that noun in Spanish, because the verb's conjugated form alone conveys this information.
Fine. Makes sense to me, though it will take some getting used to. Furthermore -- regarding the bunny scout's remark about the beautiful song -- although the literal word-for-word English translation of her Spanish is grammatically a mere sentence fragment, if she'd actually said the English words "Says they have a beautiful song," while gesturing toward the page in the bird book -- yeah, her friends and anybody else watching the show would all know perfectly well what she's talking about, despite the English grammar error. Her sentence fragment wouldn't "work" grammatically but in the context of that scene it still "works" to convey all the necessary information, know what I mean? At least, it works if you are watching the cartoon and seeing the action in addition to hearing or reading what she says.
Now, hold that thought and let me mention a line from "Shazam." In the initial scenes, the poor mistreated future-supervillain kid is in the back seat of a car, Asshole Dad and Asshole Big Brother are in the front seat being assholes to him, it's Christmas 1974 and they're all driving to Grandpa's house, and it sounds like Grandpa is an asshole too: the kid in the back is playing with a Magic 8-ball, and his dad yells at him for that -- I don't remember his exact words in the English original, but the gist of it is, "You know toys are not allowed at grandpa's house" or "you're not allowed to bring toys to Grandpa's" or something along those lines (and Asshole Dad doesn't care when the kid protests "But it's Christmas!")
In Spanish, according to the closed captioning as opposed to my own super-limited and always-potentially-wrong Spanish listening/transcription skills, this is exactly what Asshole Dad said: "Dice que sin juguetes con tu abuelo" -- English translation "Says that without toys with your grandfather."
To which my English-trained mind responds: huh? That makes no sense at all -- had I not already known exactly what was going on in that scene (and the entire movie, for that matter), I wouldn't have had any idea what Asshole Dad was talking about, even with the many context clues (without understanding a word of language, you can still tell via tone of voice, body language and such that the two adults are being horrible to the poor kid). I assume HBO Latino's captioning department knows their shit, and that Spanish sentence is correct -- but it doesn't make a damn bit of sense to me, especially not translated back into my native English.
And now I wonder about things from my incomplete transcript of the bunny bird-watching cartoon: there's a line in the English original where a girl says "Now we've seen three birds. Only two more to go." In the Spanish dub, I can't get everything yet, but what I have so far sounds like "Que hemos vosta tres pajaros. [unintelligible] un mas [unintelligible] dos." English translation: "That we have seen three birds. [unintelligible] one more [unintelligible] two."
I'd guessed/assumed that, in addition to the obvious gaps in the second sentence, I was probably mishearing the first Spanish sentence as well, because "That we have seen three birds" doesn't work at all in English, not in a proper-grammar school assignment, not even in a casual chat among cartoon-character friends meant to represent seven-year-olds. But then -- "Says that without toys with your grandfather" doesn't make sense in English either, yet obviously it works in Spanish. Somehow. Hopefully I'll get a better sense of it, as I work through Shazam and other Spanish/English comparisons.
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b