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Do you need to understand the language to enjoy some Dramas?

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Do you need to understand the language to enjoy some Dramas?

Post by KoalaKachou » Nov 5th, '07, 15:34

Ok i've noticed something. I've only recently got into dramas as an enjoyable way to practice my Japanese. In the process I've managed to get a few of my non-japanese speaking friends into it as well. One of my friends I thought loved every drama I loved. But as I get further into it and find more dramas I'm finding she isn't as into ones that I would have thought she would have enjoyed.

I showed her IWGP the other night which I thought was brilliant. to which she replied with "meh" and "I didn't really get the bits you thought were funny". I tried explaining them... It didn't help.

Which gave me an interesting epiphany maybe you need some language knowledge to appreciate some dramas.

Anyone else had any similar thoughts or seen something that they really didn't get?

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Post by freezspirit » Nov 5th, '07, 16:29

Maybe it wasn't her genre of drama? I enjoy watching alot of asian dramas espically comedies although I can't speak a word oF Chnese/Korean/Japanese etc Even without subs I'm laugh with tears.

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Post by Noale » Nov 5th, '07, 19:26

I thought the Japanese were more into visual jokes, whereas Western dramas are the ones with all the word jokes. Of course there are exceptions. But I never felt like language stood in my way of understanding the jokes and liking the drama.

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Post by Yukumushio » Nov 9th, '07, 23:32

I don't think you need to, but if you do know the language, you can catch on to the inflections and expressions in the voices. But not really needed imo

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Post by Wingu » Nov 9th, '07, 23:49

If you have subs, it should be enough. However, I think it's more necessary to know a bit of the asian culture and how the asian people are in general. That'll give people a fairly good idea of if the drama, for an example, makes fun of the society or does something that would almost never happen at all.

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Post by Raspberry Latte » Nov 20th, '07, 00:29

I agree, it's not the language, but more understanding the culture to be able to unerstand subbed drama. I know because when I've just started watching there were a lot of things I couldn't understand as American, but after more experience, and reading a lot of materials about different cultures, I become more understanding and accepting.
For example in a lot of Korean dramas children get beat up by their parents or teachers at school... (yea, in America - I don't think so :crazy: )

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Post by Puppet Princess » Nov 20th, '07, 00:51

Well, word plays and puns would make more sense but puns don't exactly make for top-notch humor so I don't think those matter as much. It's not understanding what they are talking about when they refer to cultural and pop-culture we may not be familiar with, that losses some of the shows substance.

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Post by RevRuby » Nov 21st, '07, 13:14

ever see the anime yakitate japan? the subbers worked hard to include explanations as to why some things were funny.

some of it is an understanding of culture others is definately language. even if not the words but how it's used.

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Post by Shichikou » Dec 10th, '07, 08:38

NOt really. When i first heard KOrean.. it's like $%*&#^@%@%^@%)^!@5

I don't understand a word they say.. i can't even make out what they say.. i still enjoy it..
After a while.. i started making out words they say.. then i would enjoy it even more.. ^^

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Post by weylin » Dec 12th, '07, 09:22

Although I thought that I'm worse in english that my twin sister, she doesn't really watch jodrama. Maybe it's because when you watch drama, you have to read subs (if you don't understand japanese) and you can't concentrate in drama. And especially if your mother language isn't english.

I'm watched so much jdrama and anime that I recognize common words and simple phrases and I'm used to read english subs, so it's not big deal anymore. I noticed, that when I watched first time chinese drama, it was a lot harder to follow than japanese.

And I agree that culture part too. Some of jokes is common in Asia, but not in Scandinavia. You don't understand those jokes if you know nothing about Asian culture.

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Post by techie » Dec 13th, '07, 00:10

I would say it shuoldnt matter much when you have good sub titles and the timing is essential to the more comical parts.

The problem is often with Japanese subs, in commercial subtitles many might not find it important, but the word order is different and once you do start to pick up a few phrases and words, you find it annoying to no avail reading the ending half before the initial part is spoken ...

Another thing I noticed, having no sub titles I had recently been listening to a JP learning tape where they mentioned the phrase "bempi"

I was thinking to my self, "why the hec* should i need to know Constipation? At this place in the tapes"

To my surprise, the next episode of a show I saw used the word Bempi a couple of times and it made the whole scene so much more interesting as that happend to be the although mundane, though still the punch line.
Wonder if anyone recalls that scene besides me... :)
The other fact is, you get a lot better insight in the jokes, however simple, like one seen in an even older dorama;

guy behind desk : mm koi desu ne
guy in front of desk: koi?

If you dont know the difference and the sentence is not translated with explanation it would be impossible to find a joke in that
Wonder if anyone recalls that dorama besides me... :glare:
Hint: Nana Katase :blink gaaaah been away for too long IMHO

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Post by pacman99 » Dec 13th, '07, 03:02

definitely need to know the language sometimes to understand the jokes. Some jokes are really deep (i.e. based on the written character of the word said rather than the word itself).
Not sure about others but I didn't really find Kim Sam Soon interesting. I stopped watching it after the first one or two episodes but one of my korean friends told me how that drama was the most hilarious drama she's ever watched. Here, I'm assuming it's a language problem rather than the culture.

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Post by Egg-chan » Dec 13th, '07, 03:20

Well, first of all, humor over there is very different than humor in other places.

Secondly, for the most part, I don't think you have to know the language to get it... UNLESS you are watching a show that relies heavily on the knowledge of their culture. In that sense, I would say that yes, there are cultural "inside jokes".

For example, in Hotaru no Hikari there is a part where a character is supposed to go to a Halloween party and he is given a DJ Ozma costume from a friend. Now, I found this part hilarious because I have been following DJ Ozma and his antics... but I'm sure that a lot of people didn't get that part who weren't into the Japanese music area as much as I am.

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Post by x_XJules » Dec 13th, '07, 03:55

KoalaKachou i might not have agreed with you until you used the example IWGP. I understand what you mean (of course other ppl are right when they say it's more culture than language, although language plays a part too). a lot of people that i try to show IWGP to don't understand a lot of the humor in it. it's only my friends who went to school with me in japan that actually understand the jokes. i'd say you definitely pick up on a lot more in a series if you understand the language a little better and the culture.

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Post by Fathiya » May 25th, '08, 16:18

Not really, the first anime series I watched were not subbed....but they were fun! I used to tape them on videotapes and re-watch them lol

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Post by xiah1fan » Jun 1st, '08, 20:31

No actually first korean movie i saw was A moment to remember....i watched it without sub....but still loved it....but,,,,i actually cant see me myself today watching a movie/drama that i don't understand i would get soo sucked up by it.....I'm little too spoiled

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Post by Néa Vanille » Jun 1st, '08, 21:26

Knowledge of culture and language definitely enhance the viewing experience, but I think most fan subs on this site are good enough to make dramas entertaining even for the less knowledgeable crowd.

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Post by SSpiegel » Jun 1st, '08, 22:03

I really like puns, wordplay, all that, so it's really a pity I'm not very good in Japanese and don't know Korean and Mandarin at all. Still, I agree that to enjoy Asian drama it requires a bit of cultural knowledge, not really understanding of the language.

Anyway, this discussion reminds me of the time when I (for the first time) understood a joke that relied on knowledge of both culture and language (well, more on culture if I think about it). I was watching DBSK's banjun drama, "Tokyo Holiday" where U-Know Yunho runs away from the band's activities to go around Tokyo with a Korean tourguide. Anyways, as they are riding a bike together, Yunho asks how you say "feels good" in Japanese. The tourguide says "kimochiii". After trying to repeat the word a few times after the tourguide, he just starts to shout loudly "kimchiiii! kimchiii!".

Well, after actually reading that, it's a pretty lame joke, but I was stil really happy that I got it. :D Tho you pretty much just have to see one episode of any Korean drama and you'll know what kimchi is. I think they spend half of every drama eating...

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Post by Prince of Moles » Jun 3rd, '08, 01:06

I agree that knowing the language and culture help enhance the experience. If you don't know then it's best to watch shows that are driven by the main plot line or shows that have universal themes, like love. I saw an Indian movie about a wedding (Monsoon Wedding) and I know that I didn't get a lot of the cultural references, but hey at least I understood that it was a wedding and that it's supposed to be fun and colorful.

In your particular case the choice of the drama, IWGP, may have been kinda rough for your friend. Ishida Ira (the author of the book series) and Kudo Kankuro (the script writer for the drama series) have included a lot of cultural references throughout the series. Since it's not a show that relies on the main plot line, but rather the stories in each of the episodes to keep it going, it helps to know about Ikebukuro as the gateway city between Tokyo and the less hip neighbor to the north, the Yakuza, the Japanese sex industry, the status of illegal immigrants in Japan, the recent fear over crime (back then it was youth gangs), etc etc.

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Post by Prince of Moles » Jun 3rd, '08, 01:07

Gah, double post.

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Post by Zealousy » Jun 3rd, '08, 01:16

Well, most translators leave notes so people can get it.

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