Intralingual subtitling of the Slovene dialectal film Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster’s Breakfast)

By Mihaela Koletnik & Alenka Valh Lopert (University of Maribor, Slovenia)


The analysis focuses on the realization of the contemporary dialectal speech of North-Eastern Slovenia in the film Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster's Breakfast, 2007), based on the literary work of the same name by Feri Lainšček (1999), which was written in Standard Literary Slovene.

The article also discusses the issue of the translation of the dialect speech with intralingual/monolingual (in this case, Slovenian) subtitling in Standard Literary Slovene, for those who do not understand the dialect, and (at least in part) for the hard of hearing and the deaf.

Keywords: slovene films, audiovisual translation, subtitles, tandard slovene, slovene dialects

©inTRAlinea & Mihaela Koletnik & Alenka Valh Lopert (2012).
"Intralingual subtitling of the Slovene dialectal film Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster’s Breakfast)"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: The Translation of Dialects in Multimedia II
Edited by: Giovanni Nadiani & Chris Rundle
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
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1 Introduction

The present article states that the audience certainly gain some fundamental understanding of the story of the film from the translation of the dialectal speech in the film into Standard Literary Slovene subtitles, yet in a sense they are also deprived by the translation; the loss of dialectal, stylistically marked and idiolectal words is felt particularly as they carry a significant additional informative function in the movie[1]. The article is divided into two parts. The first section is theory based and provides (1) insight into the use of Slovene in the film in general, (2) presents the film Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster's Breakfast) and its literary work, (3) discusses the placement of the dialect spoken in the film in the dialectal group/base and (4) highlights the problems of intralingual/monolingual subtitling. The second, analytical section provides an analysis of findings according to (1) the realized dialectal speech in the film and (2) a comparison of it to the subtitles.

2 Slovene language and film

F. Štiglic's Na svoji zemlji (On Our Own Land), shot in 1948, is the first Slovene film with sound. The film sets a pattern which was to be followed by later productions: the screenplay was written by C. Kosmač, based upon his short story Očka Orel [2] (Father Eagle) (Šimenc 1996: 70–74). [3]

It is certainly true to say that until the late 1960s Slovenian films featured Standard Literary Slovene, due to the fact that the scenarios originated in literary works. Thus, the tone of such films created an impression of transcendence, alienation, clumsiness and affectation. Slovene film was in fact for many years an embodiment of the national consciousness and ''pure/correct'' Standard Literary Slovene, so it was "nice, clean, orderly, non-dialectal, conscious, and unified / ... / high language, without slang and dialect" (Štefančič 2005: 60). An extreme example which serves as an illustration of the language situation in Slovenian films is Ljubezen na odoru[4] (Love on the Furrows, director V. Duletič, Viba film, 1973), which shows the director's resistance to "the unbearableness of Slovene in film", in which he reduced the dialogues, cutting them back to the absolute minimum in order to show that Slovene film "should be mute" (Štefančič 2005: 61).

It should be said that in recent years there has been a marked shift away from Standard Literary Slovene, and as a result film speech has become much more natural, relaxed, modern, and especially more functional in terms of content, displaying a shift from artistic to non-artistic speech Koršič 2006: 160). Films should provide authentic speech and functionality should serve as a measure of artistic criterion.

Each community must somehow recognise that language is not homogeneous (Škiljan 1999) and that the media especially – including film – should reflect linguistic differences, allowing all those who participate within it to use examples from his own communicative model. This may be a dialect or even second-language norm, intended for private usage. In this way, the problem of discrimination can be addressed (Kalin Golob, 2003), while at the same time openness in the media can help to save dialects and restore their value and dignity (Škarić 1982).

Although many linguists have spoken of the merging of dialects with Standard Literary Slovene or even the disappearance of dialects because of the disappearance of rural culture, it appears that many speakers not only maintain their linguistic structure (first/mother tongue), but even consciously cultivate and culture it (Kenda Jež 2004). 

The question therefore of how a literary work written in Standard Literary Slovene, with a scattering of dialectal words, can be translated into film speech is rather special. Surely this task falls to the director of the film, as the literary work simply provides an optional framework. Slovene linguistics, still being mostly prescriptive, offers ''a compulsory norm'' in the manuals, such as the Slovar slovenskega knjižnega jezika (The Dictionary of Standard Literary Slovene Language) and Slovenski pravopis (Slovene Orthography, 2001), Slovenska slovnica (Slovene Grammar, 2000). Films, however, oppose unnatural, forced speech, and demand speech which will become part of the film reality and then integrated into the visual experience (Lawson 1964 after Koršič 2000: 60).

It is more important to note that among Slovene films there have been quite a number of very successful transfers/translations of written Standard Literary Slovene into non-standard colloquial or dialect. The difficulties and experiences of lecturers in creating films that were filmed in non-standard colloquial language or dialect have even been published in a number of articles,[5] such as Ata socialistični kulak, Astoria (Antončič 1988), Razseljena oseba (Križaj, Kržišnik, Gjurin, Mlakar 1982), Pustota (Moder, Kržišnik, Čuk, Mlakar 1982) Učna leta izumitelja polža (Podbevšek, Gjurin, Mlakar 1982), Deseti brat (Čuk, Dular 1982), Boj na požiralniku (Čuk 1982) etc., while exhaustive studies on dialects in Slovene film are rather limitted, i.e. Pot na klop, Boj na požiralniku, Halgato, Traktor, ljubezen in rock & roll.[6]

3 About the novel and the film[7]

Literature and film are two different media with their own defining characteristics. The film adaptation of a literary work must stand on its own as an artistic creation. "Film work is required to adopt the reality of a literary work, but must be separated from it as an independent structure - a new creation. This same distance is the foundation of free upgrades to all approaches - on which and with which it works, because only an upgrade of literary works, i.e. film plus, makes a film an independent work of art" (Šimenc 1983: 16–17).

Before presenting the plot of the film, let us mention just a few differences between the novel and the film: the narrator in the novel appears in the first person (DJ, in the film Djuro), whom we get to know through his actions, behaviour and descriptions of the other literary characters. The story of a love triangle (Bronja, DJ/Djuro, Lepec) is narrated through the first-person in the novel and is therefore subjective. In the film Djuro is not a narrator and the events are no longer interpreted through his eyes but become seemingly objective.[8] Rooster’s breakfast does not only exist in three different editions (1999, 2006), one of which is in electronic form (2007),[9] but we can also listen to the radio play, watch the film and read the script in book form, which has become increasingly common in Slovenia.

A short summary of the film: Djuro works as an apprentice at master Gajaš’s, who is an elderly garage owner. The tranquil life of the young apprentice is disturbed by the arrival of a beautiful brunette, Bronja, who is married to Lepec, the local ruffian and pimp. Bronja and Djuro start a risky love affair which does not go unnoticed. Meanwhile, Gajaš himself has his own romantic fantasies too. He dreams about Severina, a well-known pop singer, who is on tour and is coming to town. When an opportunity arises for him to meet her, Gajaš shivers with excitement. Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster's Breakfast) is a love story. It is set in a small town, practically a village. The protagonists live quiet and uneventful lives; however, they all have their own hidden passions, which ultimately lead to dramatic events.

The first showing of the film took place at the Sarajevo Film Festival (August 18th 2007), and at the Slovene Film Festival in the same year the film received a number of awards: best picture (Marko Naberšnik), best actress (Pia Zemljič), best actor (Vlado Novak), best director (Marko Naberšnik), and best screenplay (Marko Naberšnik). This was followed by the first showing for invited guests in Ljubljana (October 17th 2007), while the film first appeared in cinemas on October 18th 2007 etc.

4 The placement of the dialect spoken in the film Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster's Breakfast) in the dialectal group

In the article, social varieties, which can be divided into two sub-varieties, i.e. standard and non-standard with special focus on non-standard colloquial and dialects will be taken into consideration. The standard variety serves not only as a means of communication throughout Slovenia but also has an all-national and representative role. It is classified into a Literary Colloquial variety as a less formal variety of Standard Slovene. Non-standard Slovene is divided into seven dialectal groups: Littoral, Carinthian, Lower Carniolan, Upper Carniolan, the Rovte, Styrian and Pannonian, as well as into regional colloquial languages. These present a kind of transdialect made up of several geographical dialects, i.e. the kind of social varieties in between Standard Literary Slovene on the one hand and dialects on the other.[10] (Toporišič 2000: 13–21).

The film Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster's Breakfast) takes place in a smaller town in North-Eastern Slovenia, Gornja Radgona, which according to the dialect spoken there belongs to the Pannonian dialectal group, which can be further divided into three dialects: the Prekmurje, the Prlekija and the Haloze dialect.[11]

5 Subtitling problems

Foreign language films which we wish to present to a domestic audience should be translated, either by synchronization/dubbing or by subtitling. As synchronization/dubbing is an extremely difficult, time consuming and costly process,[12] it is used somewhat rarely in Slovenia, instead films are frequently subtitled. At this point we should mention (Pavličič 2009: 31), that in Europe as well as in Slovenia we do not distinguish between subtitling and subtitling for the hard of hearing or deaf persons. This contrasts with the U.S. and Canada where subtitles, or so called captions for the hard of hearing or deaf do not only transcribe dialogues, but also try to transmit relevant information, such as information about music, actors and non-verbal communication elements (ibid.).

A distinction is also made between so called open captions and closed captions subtitles for the hard of hearing or deaf. Closed captions are subtitles which can be turned off by the viewer, while open captions can not be turned off. Captions, as they are known in Slovenia, are known in the U.S. and Canada as subtitles. This type of subtitle does not contain elements of non-verbal communication, because the translator works on the understanding that viewers do not understand the source language in which the film is shot, but the dialogue, sound effects and music can be heard. Therefore only verbal communication from the film is translated into the target language (Pavličič 2009: 31). Of course, this is true for a translation from one language to another, although there are certain rules for standardizing the subtitles that could be adopted for the present case-study as well,[13] namely the translation from one social language register (dialect) to another (Standard Literary Slovene) (film speech into subtitles) and vice versa (written text of a book or screenplay into film speech). In the article we are confronted with so called monolingual or intralingual subtitling, i.e. translation which involves the transfer from oral language into written language.[14] Namely, Jakobson (1958) outlines three kinds of translation: intralingual translation or rewording, an interpretation of verbal signs by means of the same language; interlingual translation or translation, an interpretation of verbal signs by means of other language and intersemiotic translation or transmutation is an interpretation of verbal signs by means of signs of nonverbal sign systems.

The European Association for Studies and Screen Translated (ESIST) is involved in the practise of good subtitling,[15] their guiding members J. Ivarsson and M. Carroll set out guidelines on behalf of the ESIST (1998), which are also officially available on their website. Among the many, mainly technical guidelines, the following are important for our analysis in particular: the quality of translation should be high-level in terms of all idiomatic and cultural nuances; if the dialogue has to be reduced, the result must be coherent; if it is possible each subtitle should be a semantic unit; the subtitles should not contain grammatical errors, as they serve as a model of literacy; if songs have a significant impact on understanding what is happening, they should be captioned; dialogues from the film and the occurrence subtitles should be harmonized; all the subtitles should be edited; and the most important for the present analysis – the language register of the subtitles must reflect the language register of the film speech.

Here, we are most interested in the practice of the translation of dialectal elements, as dialects belong to an extremely complicated area of translation. Dialects are mostly used to denote a variety of features such as humour, lack of education, narrow-mindedness, etc. If the translator decides to preserve the dialect in translation, the specific features and functions of the chosen dialect must be taken into account. He must also identify the role of the dialect in the original text or the effect caused by the original that the author wanted to achieve with its usage. Literal translation from the original/source language into the target one is often not appropriate, since it is unable to recreate the original character of the text. It is more important that the original dialectal element (word or phrase) in translation is replaced by a word or phrase in the target language which creates the original character. If this is not possible in the target language, the translator should use a different translation method in order to create the original dialectal function. Slovene translation practice, however, shows that Slovene translators, especially literary translators, prefer to avoid dialect, for two main reasons: (1) narrowing of the scope/understanding of translation, (2) "exceptional complexity and lack of dialectal translation oriented secondary literature on dialects "(Hribar 2007: 126).

6 Linguistic analysis of the film Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster's Breakfast)[16]

The film Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster's Breakfast, 2007) is the feature debut of the director Marko Naberšnik. The film was based on the literary work of the same name, Feri Lainšek's novel Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster's Breakfast, 1999),[17] written in Slovenian literary language and dealing with the theme of redemptive love. Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster's Breakfast) is a romance movie about small people, who smoulder with huge passion and dreams – dreams about a world of good. The screenplay, which was published as a printed version in 2008, was written by the director himself.[18] It follows the true literary suggestions very closely, but not completely, so the film according to the fable, ideas, characters and their external appearance does not differ significantly from the novel, but it differs in terms of speech: the film is spoken in dialect, while both the novel and screenplay are written in Standard Literary Slovene.

Since the range of so-called varieties of Slovene is very rich – social, functional, transmissive, temporal/historical and quantitative, the director's decision to define geographical environment, time, the social status of the characters, as well as their personalities through language, in this case through dialect, is entirely appropriate. Comparing the dialect to the literary language in the film, the former creates the necessary sense of identity and authenticity of life.

However, it is necessary to emphasize the following:

1) The director’s choice of language is incorrect.[19] In the small border town of Gornja Radgona, where the film/events have been transferred from the region of Prekmurje, none of the Styrian dialects, as we read in the preface to the book edition of the script (2008: 22, 166–167) are spoken there, but the Slovenske gorice dialect is (Koletnik: 2001). This, alongside the Prekmurje, Prlekija and Haloze dialects belongs to the Pannonian and not to the Styrian dialect group. The director’s choice of dialect is wrong, we assume, due to the fact that the residents of Gornja Radgona feel that they belong to a different region than the name of their dialect suggests. Gornja Radgona, at the time of Austro-Hungarian Empire, belonged to the administrative region of Styria.[20] However, former country borders (similar to border provinces in geographical terms), taking into consideration linguistic criteria, do not cover the borders of the dialect groups or dialects.

(2) The speech in the film is not completely suitable. The basic varieties of speech in the film, i.e. the dialect and the Maribor colloquial language, were appropriately selected,[21] as scientific dialectal research in this area shows (Koletnik: 2001) that in Gornja Radgona the Prlekija dialect is not spoken, which we can see from a certain level of hesitation in the film, but the Slovenske gorice dialect is. This dialect is attained by only one of the main characters in the film, although with the marked intonation of the Prekmurje region.

Our purpose is not to analyze the dialectal pronunciation of the actors in detail, but to highlight the change of spoken dialectal speech in the film into the written form of subtitles. The film is also subtitled, specifically in the Slovene Literary Standard.

7 Translation of dialect (spoken language) into Standard Literary Slovene (written form)

The process of transferring spoken language (in our case film speech) into a written form (film subtitles) is particularly acute in the Slovene ethnic territory, since very rarely does any language posses such a variety of dialects and speech as Slovenian. Through the process of transfer, the primary dialect spoken text in written literary language usually loses much of its original message, as the dialect does not differ only from Standard Literary Slovene on the phonological, morphological and lexical level, but also in sentential construction and textual syntax (Škofic 2006: 174). Transcoding therefore often results in the omission of dialectal elements and substitution with Standard Literary Slovene, which is also noticeable in the analyzed film.

The differences between the spoken (actors' pronunciation or verbal realization of dialogue respectively) and written text (Slovene subtitles) can be observed on all linguistic levels. All dialectal phonemes are changed into Standard Literal Slovene in the subtitles, using formal letters in spelling, which follows the rules of Slovene orthography. The same can be seen in all dialectal word-formation and word-changing patterns, which renders the morphological image in subtitles somewhat unnatural. The sentence structure is also changed both on the level of sentence and sentence elements, so the originality of the syntax is lost. In the transfer of every day speech into written Standard Literary Slovene used in the subtitles the following elements are discarded: (1) The repetition of words and word phrases: Djuro, Djuro > Djuro (Djuro) – /…/ nea vem, nea vem, kaj naj naredim. > /…/ ne vem, kaj naj storim. (/…/ I don't know what to do.) – V redi je, v redi. Skadi, skadi. > V redu je. Kar pokadi. (It's OK. Let's smoke.) – (2) Omission of words that seem to be redundant in the Standard Literary Slovene context: Dobro te. > Dobro. (Good.) – Tak sn si nekak razmislo. > Tako sem razmišljal. (I was thinking.) – V bistvi je Cikuta ena taka dobričina. > V bistvu je dobričina. (He's pretty much a good guy.) – (3) Some personal and demonstrative pronouns that seem to be redundant in the Standard Literary Slovene context: Jas f svoji firmi /…/. > V svoji firmi /…/. (In my own firm /.../.) – Ti, Gajaš, si ti pogleda? > Si pogledal? (Have you taken a look?) – Veš, kake dobre kave toti automat dela. > Avtomat dela res dobro kavo. (The machine really makes good coffee.) – (4) Some adverbs and cohesive articles:

Se bo že nekak znajdo, ne. > Se bo že znašel. (He'll manage fine./He'll find his feet really quickly.) – Idi f kočo ta. > Izgini f kočo. (Get into the hut!) – Podbregar se je glihkar ženo. > Podbregar se je poročil. (Podbregar has got married.) – Saj jas vem, razumeš, saj jas vem. > Saj jaz vem. (Well, I know.) – Ja gi si Lepec? > Lepec, kje si? (Lepec, where are you?) – (5) Discoursive signals and spoken gags: Džuro je pa mlat, ne, sn si reko. > Ti si pa še mlad. (You are still young.) – Se bo že nekak znajdo, ne. > Se bo že znašel. (He'll manage fine./He' ll find his feet really quickly.) – əəə, ogn bi še proso. > Še vžigalnik, prosim. (A cigarette lighter, please.) – (6) Interjection, particle and vocative verbless sentences: O, Bronja. > Bronja. (Bronja.) – Aja, res neoš kavice? > Res ne bi malo kave? (You really won't have some coffee?) – Evo, Džuro, to je /…/. > Djuro, to je /…/. (Djuro, this is /…/.) – Həm? > ө; >  (omission of translation) – Mhə. > ө; >  (omission of translation) – Ja, tak je blo. > Tako je bilo. (So it was.) – Jezos, jas pa toga nisen veda. > Tega pa nisem vedel. (I didn't know that.) – (7) Additional sentence element to the syntactical unit: Glej ga, pubeca. > Glej ga. (Look at him.) –

(Gajaš pravi, ka si z Maribora). Ja, iz Maribora. > (Gajaš pravi, da si iz Maribora). Ja. (Gajaš says you are from Maribor). Yes.) – (8) Allocutional verbal expressions: Veš, pa seštevam dnar, ki ga zaslužimo /…/. > Seštevam denar, ki ga zaslužimo /…/. (I'm adding up the money we earned.) – Čujte, po telefono ste mi rekli, da /…/. > Rekli ste, da /…/. (You said that /…/.) – Razumeš? > ө.  (Understand? > omission of translation) – (9) Adjectival modifier in subordinate compound word-phrase: Jas bon velki špricar. > Jaz bom špricer.  (I'll have a spritzer.), rarely also the headword of such a word-phrase Džuro, fant moj! > Djuro moj! (My Djuro!)

Replacement of nominal compounds expressing a smaller number of base characteristics by non-compounds: Boš kavico? > Boš kavo? (Would you have some coffee?); non-pronominal words are replaced by pronouns: Səvəa man pasoš. > Seveda ga imam. (Of course I've got it.) – Nemaš pasoša. > Nimaš ga. (You don't have it.); dialectal adverbs by Standard Literary Slovene: dostikrat > večkrat (frequently), nigdar > nikoli (never), totikrat > tokrat (this time), skos > vedno (always).

Addition of adjectival modifiers to the left of the headword: Jutro. > Dobro jutro. (Good morning.), particles of agreement and support: Hvala. > Ja, hvala. (Yes, thanks.) – Skadi, skadi. > Kar pokadi. (Let's smoke.), in speech not expressed predicates: Vroče, ne? > Vroče je, ne? (Hot, isn't it?) – Dobro, ka te ma Gajaš. > Dobro je, da te ima Gajaš. (It's good Gajaš's got you.) –V Austrijo al po tablete? > Greste samo v Avstrijo ali po tablete? (Do you just go to Austria to buy tablets/pills?) and appositives: Saj vijite. > Saj vidite, Gajaš. (You can see, Gajaš.) – Kaj de dobrega? > Kaj bo dobrega, Bronja? (What's up, Bronja?).

Specific dialectal word-order in the subtitles is not noticed as the word order is changed and, as such stylistically unmarked; it meets the criteria as set for Slovenian Standard language:

Pukšič bajto zida. > Pukšič gradi hišo. (Pukšič is building a house.) – Mhə, šou boš, ja. > Ja, boš šel. (Yes, you will go.) – /.../ je pa dostikrat zadrema. > /.../ pa je zadremal. (/.../ so he fell asleep).

Standard Literary Slovene syntactic patterns are changed or narrowed: Čuj me dobro, ka mo ti reka. > Poslušaj me. (Listen to me.) – Meni se vidi, ka nemški bole razmi. > Nemško bolje razume. (He understands German better.) – Dobro, pa naj me te vaš pomočnik pela, če meni ne zavupate. > Naj me vaš pomočnik zapelje. (Let your assitant drive me.). Interrupted syntactic patterns (typical for spoken language) are corrected and uniterrupted in the subtitles: Se bo že nekak znajdo, ne, tak sn si nekak razmislo, tak da sn, razumeš, ne. > Se bo že znašel. Tako sem razmišljal. (He'll manage fine. So I've been thinking about.)

The subtitles show also greatly changed vocabulary, so this is no longer an indicator of dialect or urban vernacular. Some borrowed words, mostly of German origin, used in dialect or urban vernacular are stylistically marked mostly as neutral colloquial or lower colloquial considering Standard Literary Slovene, and are substituted by Standard Literary Slovene (neutral) terms:[22]

cajt  ( ← G. Zeit) > čas (time), friški ( ← G. frisch) > svež (fresh), hica ( ← G. Hitze) > vročina (heat); neu. coll. bajta ( ← Rom. baita) > hiša (hut/cottage), neu. coll. familija ( ← G. Familie ← Lat.) > družina (family), low. coll. froc ( ← G. Fratz) > otrok (child), low. coll. probati ( ← G. probieren) > poskusiti (to try), low. coll. špilati ( ← G. spielen) > igrati (to play). The same (substitution) applies to the Pannonian dialect vocabulary heard in the film and general Slovene, which is marked as an expressive from the Standard Literary Slovene point of view: betežen > bolan (ill), dečko > fant (boy), kupica > kozarec (glass), obečati > obljubiti (to promise), šinjek > vrat (neck), žganjica > žgano (spirits); pejor. baba > ženska (woman), expres. dobričina > dober človek (good soul), expres. punca > dekle (girl), expres. režati se > smejati se (to laugh).

Idioms are: (a) transferred from dialect into the Standard Literary Slovene variety (from which they were most likely taken into dialect): S kürami hodi spat /.../. > S kurami gre spat /.../. 'hoditi spat zelo zgodaj' (He turns in early. 'go to sleep very early') – Moj moš je tüdi gnes na levo nogo fstana. > Tudi moj mož je na levo nogo vstal. 'biti slabo razpoložen' (My husband also got out of bed on the wrong side. 'to be in a bad mood') or (b) translated with an equivalent qualifying expression: Desna roka Gajaša? > Si ti novi Gajašev pomočnik? 'biti nepogrešljiv najožji sodelavec' (Are you Gajaš’s new assistant? 'to be an indispensable help/his right-hand man').

Dialectal vulgarisms and profanities, which are mostly not translated: jebal ga vrak > ө, jebenti > ө, jebi ga > ө, pička ti materina > ө, (fuck you, hell; fuck you mother > not translated), are replaced by phrases from Standard Literary Slovene or neutral terms, very rarely with pejorative ones: (a) Jebenti vročina! > Vroče je kot v peklu! 'zelo vroče' (It's hot as hell! 'very hot') –

(biti) v vukojebini > (biti) bogu za hrbtom 'nahajati se v odddaljenem zakotnem kraju'; ((to be) the middle of nowhere 'is located in a remote place') – Naj ide fse f pizdo materino! > Naj gre k vragu! 'propasti' (To go to hell! 'to decay') – (b) Politikom se jebe. > Politikom ni mar za nič. '(ne) biti mar, (ne) brigati se' (Politicians do not care about anything. '(not) to care, (not) to worry about it') – Jebem ti babo! > Preklemana baba! 'presnet, preklet' (Damn woman! 'dash, damn') – Jebenti mater! > pejor. Baraba! (Bastard!)

8 Conclusion

Dialect with its phonological and morphological order, syntax and vocabulary enhances creative authenticity and directness. Translation of spoken dialect in the written text of the Standard Language is not just transcoding to a different language (Škofic 2006: 181), but it represents the transfer in a different context, as it means a loss of at least some of its essence, as (possibly) with the translation of literature in foreign language. The present analysis of translation of spoken dialect in the written text of the Standard Language confirms the findings for translation of dialects in general: the translation of dialectal elements and dialects belongs to very complicated area of translation, which is the same for bilingual as well as for intralingual (monolingual) translation, i.e. from one language register to another; translation into dialect is avoided because of narrowing the understanding of the translation; the subtitles in the film Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster's Breakfast, 2007) do not follow the directives of ESIST 1998 that language register of the subtitles should reflect the language register in the speech of the film; the original message expressed by the dialectal speech (word or phrase) in the film, is deprived by the translation into another language register (here Standard Literary Slovene subtitles); the same holds for original identity of the characters significantly expressing themselves in dialect.


Lainšček, F. (2006). ″Petelinji zajtrk″. Ljubljana: Študentska založba.

Naberšnik, M. (2008). ″Petelinji zajtrk″. Scenarij največjega sodobnega slovenskega filmskega hita. Ljubljana: Umco.

″Petelinji zajtrk″ [Videotape] (2008). Screen-play and director Marko Naberšnik; by novel Feri Lainšček; producer Franci Zajc; direktor of photography Valentin Perko; music Saša Lošić. Ljubljana: Ljubljanski kinematografi.

Štefančič, M., jr. (2008). ″Kako posneti hit, spremna beseda. Petelinji zajtrk. Scenarij največjega sodobnega slovenskega filmskega hita″. Ljubljana: Umco, 155–176.

Lainšček, F. (2007). ″Petelinji zajtrk″. E-book: [url=][/url]. (Accessed May 2012.)


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[url=][/url]. (Accessed May 2012.)


[1] This article was written as part of the research project J6-2238 Slovenski jezik v stiku evropskega podonavskega in alpskega prostora (The Slovene Language in Contact within the European Danube and Alpine Regions), funded by the Slovenian Research Agency. The project leader is Prof. Marko Jesenšek, Ph.D.

[2] Kosmač, C. (1947). ″Očka Orel″. Iz moje doline, Ljubljana, Mladinska knjiga 1958, 207–247.

[3] More about the period 1931–2005 in Šimenc. S. (2005).

[4] Following the novel by Lovro Kuhar - PrežihovVoranc.

[5] More in ″Jezik na odru, jezik v filmu″. Ljubljana: Mestno gledališče ljubljansko, 1983. Splošno tudi v zborniku Kolokvij o umetniškem govoru. Ljubljana: Akademija za gledališče, radio, film in televizijo, 2000.

[6] Koletnik, M., A. Valh Lopert, Z. Zorko (2009). ″Translating from Standard Slovene into Carinthian and the Prekmurje Dialects in Slovene films″.

inTRAlinea, Special Issues. [url=][/url]. Accessed in January 2011.

[7] Rooster's Breakfast, feature film, Slovenia, 2007, duration 125 min. ([url=][/url]. Accessed in January 2011.)

[8] Janc, K. (2008). ″Iz knjige v film: primer Petelinji zajtrk″. Dipl. delo. Filozofska fakulteta. Oddelek za bibliotekarstvo, informacijsko znanost in knjigarstvo.

[9] Accessed in January 2011: [url=][/url]

[10] Regional colloquial languages are: Central Slovene (with the centre in Ljubljana), South Styrian (Celje), North Styrian (Maribor with an influence on Ptuj and Ravne as well; a subvariant that developed along the Mura River and is centred around Murska Sobota), Littoral (with variants around Nova Gorica, Trieste, Koper and Postojna) and possibly two more: the Rovte one (Škofja Loka) and Austrian Carinthian (Toporišič 2000: 13–21).

[11] More: Koletnik M. (2001). ″Slovenskogoriško narečje″. Maribor: Slavistično društvo Maribor.

[12] Synchronization/dubbing is frequantly used only for animated films (like Ice age or Madagascar), because children can not follow the subtitles and consequently could not understand the meaning.

[13] F. Karamitroglou (1998). ″A Proposed Set of Subtitling Standards in Europe″. Translation Journal. Rendering dialects: If a dialect of the target language (regional or social) is chosen to be used on the subtitled text, it should not be rendered as a phonetic or syntactic transcription of the spoken form. Only dialects that have already appeared in a written form in printed materials are allowed to be used in subtitles as well. For example, archaic or biblical forms like “thee” for “you” are allowed but sociolect forms like “whadda ya doin?” are not allowed because they are not immediately recognisable and comprehensible by the viewers’ eye. Accessed: January 10th 2011:

[14] A. Caimi: January 10th 2011.

[15] [url=][/url]. Accessed: January 10th 2011.

[16] »Petelinji zajtrk« is a synonym for making love first thing in the morning (before breakfast).

[17] The novel was reprinted in 2006.

[18] This is one of the last working versions which differs slightly to the film version.

[19] The choice of language was a condition of chronotopical choice, the transfer of the events in the novel from Lainšček's birthplace of Prekmurje to Gornja Radgonja in Štajerska was explained by the director Naberšnik in the following way: »I moved the story from Prekmurje to Štajerska region for two main reasons: first, I'm much more at home with the Štajerska dialect, and secondly, it's easier for me to guide actors in the Štajerska dialect. /…/ If you shoot a film in the Prekmurje dialect, you pretty much need subtitles – and the viewer loses too much, especially in terms of humour and feeling. The transfer from the Prekmurje to the Štajerska dialect was a commercial move.« (2008: 67)

[20] This is not region in the geographical sense, but the remnants of the Austro-Hungarian administrative division of areas.

[21] The main actors have all received their formal education in Standard Slovene, thus they had to learn the dialect used in the film.

[22] Expres. – expressive, G. – German, Lat. – Latin, low. coll. – lower colloquial, neu. coll. – neutral colloquial, pejor. – pejorative, Rom. – Romance.

About the author(s)

Mihaela Koletnik holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics and is a Professor of the Slovene language at the Faculty of Arts, University of Maribor, where she teaches diachronic Slovene linguistics. Her research interests include the study of north-eastern Slovene dialects, dialectical lexicography, language contact and the changing role of dialects within the context of globalization, in particular their use in media and in popular culture. She is the author of three scientific monographs and over hundred scientific articles. As a researcher, Mihaela Koletnik has been actively involved in national and international projects. As a visiting professor, she has lectured at various universities in Austria, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary and Croatia. She is a member of the Scientific Council for the Humanities at Slovenian Research Agency (appointed in 2015) and Bologna expert for Slovenia at Ministry of Higher Education and Science. Previously: Head of Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Chair of the Commission for Quality Assurance, a Vice Dean for research at the Faculty of Arts, a Vice-Rector for Education at the University of Maribor. Membership in associations and committees: Member of the International Society of Dialectology and Geolinguistics (SIDG); Member of the Nominating Committee of the SIDG; Member of the Scientific Committee of MMDT (MultiMeDialecTranslation); Member of the Slavic studies Association of Maribor and of Slovenia, Member of the Mixed Commission for the Establishment of Cooperation in the Field of Higher Education training in the region of Friuli.

Alenka Valh Lopert, PhD, Associate Professor of the Slovenian language at the Department of Translation Studies, University of Maribor, Slovenia. In her research she is occupied by synchonical approaches in: media language (radio, film, theatre...), namely the influence of non-standard, regional colloquial speech and dialects on media language; loanwords in Slovenian language; language and gender as well as language and identity. She attends conferences at home and abroad, she is the author of two scientific monographs Kultura govora na Radiu Maribor/Spoken Discourse of National Radio Maribor (2005) and Med knjižnim in neknjižnim na radijskih valovih v Mariboru/Between Standard and Non-Standard on Maribor Radio Stations (2013).

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©inTRAlinea & Mihaela Koletnik & Alenka Valh Lopert (2012).
"Intralingual subtitling of the Slovene dialectal film Petelinji zajtrk (Rooster’s Breakfast)"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: The Translation of Dialects in Multimedia II
Edited by: Giovanni Nadiani & Chris Rundle
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