This is probably my favorite Wikipedia article: Cross-linguistic onomatopoeias.
Watching Kari Gurashi no Arrietty by Studio Ghibli something occurred to me. Thinking back to my last year in high school where I watched almost all movies produced by Studio Ghibli until then (and by extension Hayao Miyazaki) the main character was “always” a female with strangely freakish history, fate or ability. Let’s “prove” this scientifically-ish … 🙂
Theory: Studio Ghibli movies by Hayao Miyazaki have this peculiarity of a strange/freakish main female character.
Data source: Wikipedia’s list of Studio Ghibli films from 1984-2014.
Let’s see how far we get. 🙂
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind: pre Ghibli, but still … the heroine has a supernatural connection with the giant insect-like Ohmu … fulfilling an ancient prophecy for good measure. pass
Castle in the Sky: Sheeta is of royal decent from an ancient civilization building flying cities. pass
Grave of the Fireflies: not by Hayao Miyazaki … phew I had almost forgot about this one. 😛 skip
My Neighbor Totoro: two curious girls befriending ghosts/spirits/trolls of the forest. pass
Kiki’s Delivery Service: the main character is a witch running a delivery service. … need I say more? pass
Only Yesterday: not by Hayao Miyazaki again. 😛 skip
Porco Rosso: no “main” female character: strike 1!
Pom Poko: phew … not by Hayao Miyazaki … Tanuki to the rescue! 🙂 skip
Whisper of the Heart: … I don’t remember the plot any more … so, strike 2!
Princess Mononoke: raised-by-wolves warrior princess of the woods. pass
My Neighbors the Yamadas: haha … I was almost worried … not by Hayao Miyazaki 😀 skip
Spirited Away: Chihiro has to master her passage from childhood to adulthood in the spirit world … also falling in love with a boy-dragon-hybrid-formshifter-thing. pass
The Cat Returns: not by Hayao Miyazaki, but in this film the main character Haru is offered the hand of the Prince of the Cat Kingdom for saving him … too bad it doesn’t count. 🙂 skip/pass
Howl’s Moving Castle: The main character, Sophie, gets cursed and is transformed into an old woman. she works at the hand of the wizard Howl to remove the curse. pass
Tales from Earthsea: not by Hayao Miyazaki. skip
Ponyo: Let me quote the first line of the plot section in the Wikipedia article of the film “Brunhilde [also named Ponyo] is a fish-girl who lives with her father Fujimoto, a once-human wizard who now lives underwater, and her numerous smaller sisters.” pass
Arrietty: is only 10cm tall! pass
From Up on Poppy Hill: knowingly agreeing to incest (at least from what they knew at that time) … really?!? pass
The Wind Rises: tragic story, but no “main” female character. strike 3! 🙁
The Tale of Princess Kaguya: not by Hayao Miyazaki, but she starts out as a “miniature girl inside a glowing bamboo shoot” skip/pass
When Marnie Was There: not by Hayao Miyazaki … (not seen yet) skip
Summary: 21 Studio Ghibli films; 13 of them by/with Hayao Miyazaki; of which 10 fit the theory, with 3 “outliers” and 1 “unexamined” data point.
Not bad for a hunch. 😉
Updated the list and the summary after seeing From Up on Poppy Hill.
Just found out about Wikipedia Signpost. 😀
There are folks who have worked their magic and tried to imagine how a redesigned and (visually) cleaned up Wikipedia would look like … I must say I like it very much. 😀
Some car, truck and tire manufacturers as well as oil companies together bought up and dismantled competition from streetcars and electric trains for urban mass transportation in favor of road-rubber-bus-based systems.
There are certain concepts that don’t translate well over language borders. It is difficult to convey a nuance of something to someone which she is not able to conceptually grasp (be it mentally or linguistically).
There are obvious things like Phonems (everyone loves those 😉 ) …
- “L” vs. “R” in some Asian languages
- “B” vs. “V” in Spanish
- Turkish “ı” and Korean “ㅡ” ([ɯ])
- [x] vs. [ç] in German “ch”
… and less obvious things like … colors. 🙂 The most interesting thing is that almost all languages seem to make a black<->white and a red/yellow<->green/blue distinction. I came across a Wikipedia article talking about distinguishing blue from green in language as not all of them do. Another interesting concept that was described is that in some languages it is also hard to distinguish blue from black. There are studies showing the interdependence of color concepts:
According to Brent Berlin and Paul Kay‘s 1969 study Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution, distinct terms for brown, purple, pink, orange and grey will not emerge in a language until the language has made a distinction between green and blue. In their account of the development of color terms the first terms to emerge are those for white/black (or light/dark), red and green/yellow.