Saturday, February 7, 2009

HBO in India

The gigantic plasma TV in my hotel room has an HBO channel on it, which I didn't notice the first 5 days I was here because it plays commercials, and I channel surfed for all of 5 minutes. All Hindi commercials of course, for Fiat automobiles, Nescafe instant coffee, HIV testing, toilet cleaners (contains sodium hypochlorite!), 72 hour "Unwanted" pregnancy pills (called "Unwanted" , seriously), Eriksson phones, HBO, life insurance, etc. The movies (Single White Female, followed by The Chamber) are sub-titled in English - and spoken in English, like normal - with all the colorful colloquialisms removed. "Bullshit" becomes "Bull". "Those assholes." becomes "Those." "What the hell are you doing?" becomes "What the are you doing?"

A nation that freaks out with national protests when a Hollywood star kisses one of their Bollywood stars on a public stage, loves American movies, but censors the sub-titles? WTF.


  1. why subtitle in the same language as is heard? why edit subtitles but not the audio?

    perhaps gf knows the answers to these questions.

  2. ok, gf says it's because of "the accent", and that indians can read english better than they hear it.

    the example she provided was "help". when she asked her aunts if they wanted help, they couldn't understand her. so she pronounced it, "hell-ih-puh", and they got it.

  3. yep, it's not just India that is better at written than they are at spoken English, its China, Romania, Korea, parts of Western Europe, from what I have seen (and as my passport stamps show). I'm the same way in regards to German, Italian & Spanish. Put it in writing, and I can keep up better than the lobe of my brain trying to process the audio signal. Perhaps that why all the Pimsleur CDs I have for language training put me to sleep, and instill very little ability to actually speak a language. Write it down, and it works much better.

    From which state in India are your gf's family? I've found the cultural diversity here in Karnataka State to be as wide and varied as the 2 dozen native languages spoken by the indigenous peoples the US exiled to Oklahoma in the 1800s when white politicians wanted their choice lands east of the Mississippi. Everyone speaks several languages and their (generally) from someplace else, of those I have met in Bangalore.

    "Hell-ih-puh, I need somebody. Hell-ih-puh, not just anybody,
    Hell-ih-puh, you know I need someone...

    Similar to the native French speaker's English sentance:
    "(h)I, (h)Ow H-are you?"
    "H-I,(h)Ave to go to zee H-airport H-in H-eight HHH-ours H-only."
    [I (h)Ave (h)Actually (h)Eard ziss sentance spoken in Belfort France]

  4. they're also from Karnataka, Manglore specifically. and Catholic. they speak Konkani.

  5. Konkani - that's a dialect I have not heard of before. This vast & diverse country never ceases to amaze. Just check out Where you can see " offered in: Hindi Bengali Telugu Marathi Tamil Gujarati Kannada Malayalam Punjabi". It's impressive in its breadth, and remarkable in its depth.

    I've heard wonderful things about Mangalore as a beautiful coastal city. Sadly, recently, intolerant fundamentalist fanatics beat young girls in pubs there:
    Hopefully India will not become a quasi-theocracy as Iran and Saudi Arabia are and Afghanistan was.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.