Aug
11
2017

This Thor – Ragnarok Japanese poster puzzles me

I'm gonna talk a bit about Japanese, hence why this isn't in the Marvel collection (though it would be were we able to post in multiple collections).

It puzzles me because the title in Katakana says Mighty Thor – Battle Royale. Now the fact that it doesn't mention Ragnarok as a word isn't the issue here, what got me confused is how they've transcribed "Thor"

In Romaji the transcription of the Katakana "マイティ。ソー バトルロイヤル" is "Maiti Sô – Batoru Roiyaru". I would have expected it to be "マイティ。トール バトルロイヤル", "Maiti Tooru – Batoru Roiyaru". The reason for that is that I have seen "Thor" transcribed as "トール" in other contexts yet looking at past posters of Thor and Thor The Dark World they both transcribe it as "マイティ。ソー".

Linguistically there is no "th" sound in Japanese so the transcriber has to make a choice between a hard [T] sound or a soft [S] sound. To me the switch to the harder sound is more consistent with how "Thor" is pronounced in languages which also don't have a "th" sound which makes me wonder if there was another reason behind the decision to transcribe it this way.

Answers on rice paper :p

This Thor – Ragnarok Japanese poster puzzles me

I’m gonna talk a bit about Japanese, hence why this isn’t in the Marvel collection (though it would be were we able to post in multiple collections).

It puzzles me because the title in Katakana says Mighty Thor – Battle Royale. Now the fact that it doesn’t mention Ragnarok as a word isn’t the issue here, what got me confused is how they’ve transcribed “Thor”

In Romaji the transcription of the

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10 Responses to “This Thor – Ragnarok Japanese poster puzzles me”

  1. Yeah…those "th" sounds are hard to express in katakana. Even my own last name (Stevens) is no longer spelled the way it was when I got my inkan. But my Japanese dictionary says "Thor" is トール

    Maybe the graphic designer just didn't look it up.

  2. +M Sinclair Stevens So how does it transcribe your last name then? I would have guessed "スティベンス"?

  3. +Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith The old-style (1990s) is shown on my inkan with which I signed this comment: スチーブンス. That's the spelling I went by during the two years I lived in Japan.

    A decade later, the new style changed it to what you suggest: スティベンス. I think that is because it's closer to how it's typed on a keyboard…but the old spelling is closer to how it's pronounced.

  4. +M Sinclair Stevens Apologies I completely missed out on the fact that your user icon is your inkan

    V sounds are another good example of sounds which just don't exist in Japanese and thus have to be transcribed in a way that sounds plausible but linguistically it sits between the fricative F and the plosive B (Spanish pronounces their Vs somewhere between B and V for instance)

  5. Because it's Japan. anything in Japan is named differently. like chicken is grilled sexual harrassment

  6. Red Comet Red Comet says:

    That's not the katakana for "Sa", that's the katakana for "So"

  7. +Red Comet indeed, good catch, however the point remains the same

  8. James Sills James Sills says:

    the hard t is more consistent with its actual pronunciation in the Nordic languages where the mythical hero originates. it would properly be pronounce Tor to our ears.

  9. Wendy Su Wendy Su says:

    According to Wikipedia, "ソー" is how the comic character's name is being translated in Japan. In the introduction, it says that "ソー" is the English pronunciation of "トール," which is how Thor the Nordic God is translated in Japanese.
    https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%9E%E3%82%A4%E3%83%86%E3%82%A3%E3%83%BB%E3%82%BD%E3%83%BC

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