Post by humblestudent2 on Aug 21, 2009 9:16:10 GMT -5
Hi - I missed IYSS all the other times, but I have now been following it on KBS World/Dish Network, and I have some questions which can best be answered by a speaker of Korean.
The action in IYSS takes place over 400 years ago, at a time when Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare were alive in England. The English language has changed a great deal since that time, as Shakespeare's plays demonstrate, and people who write movies and TV shows about that period have to decide how much they are going to modernize the language to make it readily understandable to a contemporary English-speaking audience. Usually you get some compromise in which the actors avoid modern idioms and use a vocabulary which is easy for an educated audience to understand but which still sounds "antique".
Well, I was wondering how much that is true of the Korean language, and what the writers did about it. I would expect to find that the Korean language has changed a lot in 400+ years, and that Admiral Yi's own letters and writings might be somewhat difficult for a contemporary speaker of Korean, but is that true? And, if the language has changed a lot, what did the writers of IYSS do about it? Do the characters in IYSS speak like contemporary residents of Seoul, or like actual 16th-century Koreans, or somewhere in the middle?
Thanks much .... I wonder if anyone will see this since nobody has posted on this board for years :-)
I think I can answer some of your question, even though I don't speak or understand (much) Korean.
When I was doing research for an article on Palace, I learned that there is a quasi-official "archaic" form of Korean that is spoken by the characters on historical dramas. My impression was that it is a kind of blend of actual old Korean, modernization to make it understandable to contemporary audiences and simple formalization to make things sound, well, more formal. Your reference to Shakespeare is apt. We don't talk like that any more, but through the skill of the actors and their understanding of their lines, we have a full experience of the story, maybe even enriched by the "fancy" wording. ;D (As you noted in your posting.) The difference is, Shakespeare actually WAS writing at that time; the Korean scribe is starting from "Now."
A big facet of the use of this "archaic" language is the way the actors actually speak their lines. You've probably noticed, people speak a little more slowly in an historical, and there is also the "big voice" used by the men, all pulled down into their chests. (The women do this, too, but it is not so immediately apparent.) This has the effect of making you, again, feel you are back in another time, a more formal era (which it probably was, at least in the court).
I hope someone with other information than I have will respond to you, HS2. I wrote that review two years ago--I could be misremembering all over the place!
From Dae Jang-geum: Sun-dol: "Are you trying to dry me up and kill me? Why do you say the same things over and over every day? Rather, come and hit me once! Aigu!" But then: Dr. Lazarus: "By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Warvan... You shall be avenged."