Accents and stereotypes in animated films. The case of Zootopia (2016)


Language variation is an extremely useful tool to convey information about a character, even when this means playing with stereotypes, which are often associated to some dialects and sociolects (Lippi-Green 1997). Accents generally bear a specific social meaning within the cultural environment of the source text, this being the main reason why they are often particularly difficult to translate with varieties of the target language, even though there are several cases where this strategy proved to be a valid choice, especially in animation (Ranzato 2010). Building on previous research on the language of cartoons (Lippi-Green 1997, but also more recently Bruti 2009, Minutella 2016, Parini 2019), this study is aimed at exploring language variation and how this is deeply connected to cultural stereotypes in the animated Disney film Zootopia (Howard et al. 2016). After giving an outline of the social and regional varieties of American English found in the original version (Beaudine et al. 2017; Crewe 2017; Soares 2017) a special focus will be given to the Italian adaptation of the film through the analysis of the strategies chosen by adapters to render a similar varied sociolinguistic situation in Italian, with particular interest in the correspondence between language and stereotype.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v40p361

Keywords: sociolinguistics; accents; AVT; dubbing; animation


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