Knight Rider TV show, does KITT actually speak Chinese? Need translation help

Discussion in 'Entertainment and Movie Talk' started by seven, Aug 31, 2015.

  1. seven

    seven Sr Member

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    In Season 3 Episode 1, Knight of the Drones, KITT supposedly speaks Chinese. The show translates it as "Go back to the zoo where you belong". The script says "Go back to where you came from or I'll call the zoo and have you locked up where you belong" The length of KITT speaking in the show would make me think that he didn't say either.

    I had a co-worker who speaks Mandarin listen to the clip and he said that could not understand a word of it. Is it Cantonese? Korean? Gibberish?
    I've tried Google translator, and it says that KITT should be saying "Huí dào shǔyú nǐ de dòngwùyuán" (回到属于你的动物园) which does appear to match.

    Can anyone help with a translation, and how it would be written out? What I hear, written phonetically, is "nay hum unjow, wa job you dot to monte doc oonlay lay la day"


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
  2. Riceball

    Riceball Sr Member

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    It sounds like Cantonese to me, which is one of the 2 main dialects of Chinese.
     
  3. Axlotl

    Axlotl Master Member

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    Sounds like Cantonese to me, too.
    You can tell by the complicated inflections (Cantonese has 6, compared to Mandarin's 4).
     
  4. Edraven99

    Edraven99 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Definitely NOT Cantonese... Couldn't understand a word of it.... Could be Vietnamese...
     
  5. 0neiros

    0neiros Master Member

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    Could be gibberish, it was the 80s be glad KITT didn't say "Ching Chong Ching Ching Chong"

    If the show were Disney based the translation would have been "Your Mama's a Fat WH---" or the like.
     
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  6. Riceball

    Riceball Sr Member

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    Could just be bad Cantonese, butchered languages (particularly Chinese of any dialect) are always hard to understand. Firefly is a good example of this, they're supposed to be speaking Mandarin occasionally but whenever they do I can't make heads or tails out of what they're saying.
     
  7. harrisonp

    harrisonp Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely not a Mandarin speaker here, but I kind of chalk it up to the two languages mixing as the cultures did, and English speakers appropriating/corrupting the Chinese words into slang. I was reading/listening to an assessment of the Firefly Chinese and it's crazy hearing some of their pronunciations vs the real way, Mal in particular gets a few chuckles from the writer for being "robotic" in his delivery.
     
  8. Megamicrofish

    Megamicrofish Sr Member

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    Cant help with the language, but that dude with the long hair and mustache (Al Leong) appeared in almost every action flick and TV series in the 80's!
     
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  9. infymys

    infymys Sr Member

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    I speak Cantonese. I understood the first two words which are "You are." The rest of it was a jumbled mess that I have no idea what was said. It also sounded like Mandarin was mixed in.
     
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  10. Treadwell

    Treadwell Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Every syllable is an audio edit, so they might've just pieced together a bunch of "Chinese sounding" phonemes. They might have started with an attempt at a genuine insult, and then perhaps feared offending any native speakers listening, so just settled with gibberish.
     
  11. seven

    seven Sr Member

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    I tried using the audio feature on google translate, and it only "recognized" words in Korean. It picked up "Family" & "Restaurant", but I don't really trust it being fool-proof
     
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  12. Riceball

    Riceball Sr Member

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    I'm willing to believe that it was actually Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin) but horrendously butchered which is very easy to do. Chinese is just one of those languages that's hard for American/Westerners to speak and even harder to speak well. Given that this was just one line for a brief scene they just had someone write out the lines phonetically and had the actor recite the lines as best he could without the help of a speech coach versed in Chinese.
     
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  13. seven

    seven Sr Member

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    Here is my first go at what I hear...

    Néih hóu ngóh wúih giu [????] māt'yéh [????]
     
  14. The Mad Professor

    The Mad Professor Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I have to agree with Riceball on this.

    For the purposes of this, I will concentrate on Mandarin and Cantonese, the two major languages of China. Mandarin is the official language of China and Taiwan, whereas Cantonese is chiefly spoken in Hong Kong, Macau, and overseas communities. There are literally hundreds of different dialects of Chinese spoken throughout China, but the dialectical differences between them are more closely analagous to the Romance languages than the English dialects of the United States. Basically, they are practically their own languages with instances of certain dialects being unintelligible to speakers of others.

    But I digress...

    Chinese is extraordinarily difficult to learn for the following reasons:

    1) It's a tonal language. Tonal languages (chiefly Far Eastern languages) use the pitch and tonality of a word (HOW you say it) to dictate what the word means.
    2) Chinese does not have an alphabet. Chinese children do not learn the equivalent of their A-B-C's growing up. Imagine learning English without an alphabet.
    3) The writing system is not phonetic. The sound a word makes will give practically zero clue on how to write it, leaving you with two phrases that sound somewhat similar to the untrained ear but are written wildly different and mean two different things.

    It's been said that someone with zero training in Spanish and three years of studying Chinese can pick up more information out of a Spanish-language text than a Chinese text. That's how hard the language is.
     
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  15. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Master Member

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    Al Kabong! (seriously, that's his nickname in the industry)
     
  16. Axlotl

    Axlotl Master Member

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    I got myself some audio CDs about 10 years ago to try to learn Cantonese.
    Even having spoken sentences to emulate, the inflections/intonations can be so subtle, I can recite what I think I learned to a Cantonese speaker, and they'd say "huh?".
     
  17. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    Sounds like bad Cantonese to me. First two words sounded just like "You are."
     
  18. Treadwell

    Treadwell Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Maybe they're beating up KITT for mangling the language.
     
  19. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    It's Firefly dialect.
     
  20. seven

    seven Sr Member

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    Thanks everyone, i appreciate the feedback and help
    "You are..." is a good start. Perhaps it was intended to be "you are [aminals, you belong in a zoo]" ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
  21. batguy

    batguy Sr Member

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    Good Lord . . . what's the benefit of that language being so difficult? There must be some upside to it.
     
  22. dascoyne

    dascoyne Master Member

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    Chinese language is actually more grammatically logical. Sentence construction is easier than western languages and no verbs to conjugate, gender-specific pronouns or inconsistent pronunciation and spelling (record; house-houses, mouse-mice). It's easier to pick up Chinese as a written language than anything else.

    My (Caucasian) college linguistics professor said that a universal spoken language (e.g. Esperanto) makes no sense. He said a universal written language would be easier to adopt and he proposed Chinese as the natural choice.
     

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