"Mind you, that's just, like, a guestimation": A diachronic analysis of morphological creativity in American teen talk and dubbing


The language of adolescents has always been of particular interest to linguists mostly for being extremely creative. Adolescence is, in fact, a transition stage that coincides with the entrance into secondary school, where teenagers strive to construct their own identity, mainly through linguistic innovation (Eckert 1989, 1997, 2004). In this sense, language becomes a strong identity marker (Edwards 2009) whose role becomes crucial in the portrayal of adolescent characters in films. The present paper aims at investigating the language of American adolescents diachronically in three famous movies of different decades from the 1980s to 2000s, namely Sixteen Candles (1984, Hughes), Clueless (1995, Heckerling) and Juno (2007, Reitman), which revolve around teenagers’ life at high school. The first step in the analysis consists in the identification of some characterising features of teen talk, especially focusing on word formation. Then, the analysis will be carried out contrastively and cross-culturally from a translational perspective, since these phenomena will be also investigated in Italian dubbing. More specifically, it will be ascertained whether or not these features are transposed into Italian, if so, pinpointing the most common strategies employed as well as the strategies used for compensation when, on the contrary, the complexity and difficulty in rendering certain linguistic and cultural specific phenomena hamper to find efficient translating solutions in the target text. Finally, problems deriving from this type of audiovisual translation, like lip synch, will also be taken into account and it will also be checked if the dubbed version succeeds in depicting the characters in the same way as in the original text.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v15p53

Keywords: Identity; Creativity; Morphology; English; Dubbing


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