Iceland Government Wants Disney+ Programs Dubbed In Icelandic
Iceland, is just one of many countries worldwide that have welcomed Disney’s new streaming network Disney+. However, the government is now taking Disney to task for only offering a majority of their programs in English.
According to a recent piece in The New York Times, the country’s education minster sent a letter of complaint to Disney CEO Bob Chapek calling on the company to cooperate in the countries efforts to promote and preserve its native tongue.
“We work hard to maintain it, especially among children and young people who are heavily exposed to other languages daily, mainly English,” the minister, Lilja Alfredsdottir, wrote in the letter, which was also posted on social media. The minister goes on to say that particularly for children growing up in Iceland it is important to have as much exposure to their native language as possible.
You can check out the official post here:
The campaign seems to be gaining traction having caught the attention of news outlets like the New York Times. Since the letter was posted, many Icelanders are adding their voices to the call for Icelandic to be dubbed in some of the programs on Disney+. This is just one of the strategies the country is using to preserve the Icelandic language which is a source of identity and pride for many in the country. Many of those living in Iceland worry that the widespread use of English is a threat in preserving the language.
“I have never experienced reactions this strong,” Ms. Alfredsdottir said in an interview after publishing her letter on Facebook. “People are clearly passionate about our language.”
It should be noted that Disney+ DOES offer subtitles and audio dubs in sixteen languages. The company has said in the past that it plans to add more languages as the service continues to expand.
As NYT tells us, Icelanders have long had an affinity for Disney characters to the point where many of them are even given their own names in Icelandic! Two such examples are Donald Duck is Andrés Önd, and Winnie the Pooh is Bangsímon. Many of Disney’s classic films have also been dubbed into Icelandic when first released but unfortunately these versions have yet to appear on Disney+ in Iceland.
“I do wonder why they don’t at least offer the old versions,” Thorarinn Eldjarn, an author who has translated dozens of children’s books into Icelandic over his long career, said in an interview. “Either they think Iceland is too small and unimportant to bother with, or they assume everyone understands English.”
For those unfamiliar, in Iceland, they speak a version of Norse. What makes the language so spectacular is that it has remained largely unchanged since Iceland became an island nation some 1,100 years ago. That has made the country all the more concerned about protecting the language given that it is now only spoken by a few hundred thousand people.
The country does have local broadcasting rules that require foreign shows to be subtitled at all times. However, this has not been extended to streaming services. According to the Times, curriculums at schools are having to be rethought as some students are no longer able to literature in the traditional Icelandic language. This has lead many to fear that without the preservation of the language some of the best known tales of Norse mythology will be lost.
The Icelandic minister has said that she plans to follow up with Disney+. “I believe we can appeal to mutual interests,” she said. “If Disney embraces Icelandic, I am sure people will reward them for it with a subscription.”
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Source: New York Times