Reasons Not to Study Linguistics—Part I—Dyspepsia Prater and Cynnie Sizzum SpecGram Vol CLXXXV, No 1 Contents Linguistic Fortune Cookies—Advertisement

The SpecGram Film and Media Club
Reviews Inglourious Basterds

with Linguist to the Stars, Mr Manfred M. McManus

Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds represents a new level of achievement in a welcome and long-overdue linguistic democratisation of film which has been sorely lacking in the Anglophone-dominated hegemony of 20th century Hollywood. With protagonists enacting no fewer than four languages in the film, this was a rare tour-de-force for those of us who feel English has dominated the British and North American film industries for too long.

Despite his positivity, this critic would still like to see more. The subtitles in English, for example, merely served to distract from the authenticity of the non-anglophone languages in play. Audiences no doubt appreciated the translation but not, I feel, at the expense of undermining the raw emotional impact of experiencing dialogue in languages that the average US, Canadian or British cinema-goer may not speak.

Moreover, could Mr Tarantino not have included a scene or more in the Australian outback so as to include some Warlpiri in there, or at least a flashback to or subplot involving the Lakota-speaking community’s take on the plot to take out Hitler?

In short, although achieving a valuable leveling of the linguistic playing field, Inglourious Basterds remains disappointingly Eurocentric in its choice of languages.

See you next time at the SpecGram Film and Media Club!

Reasons Not to Study LinguisticsPart IDyspepsia Prater and Cynnie Sizzum
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SpecGram Vol CLXXXV, No 1 Contents