Monday, December 12, 2011
Hey! Hey! Baba!
I can't really explain it, it's just that the word "baba" was an inside joke among my group of friends when I was a teenager and young adult, one of those things where you just had to be there, and be a part of it. It was used as a form of address, e.g., "and how are you, baba?" or more directly, as in "Yo, baba!" And also used as an exclamation, as in just simply, "baba!"
As I said, I can't really explain it, except to say that within my peer group there was a great deal of linguistic playfulness present, which of course is great preparation for being a media ecologist.
So, okay, having said that, on another, unrelated topic, the music from Disney's The Lion King holds a special place in my heart, as we used to listen to it all the time, when my son Benjamin was still a baby and I'd be feeding him the highchair, and when he was older as we watched the movie on video many times, saw it in Imax, and went to the Broadway show, not to mention seeing the Lion King attractions and parade elements at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
So, I was quite tickled to have stumbled upon a YouTube video where the still frame displayed the words "Hey! Hey Baba!" and the images were from The Lion King film. The name of the video says it all: Soramimi (misheard foreign lyrics)-Lion King, Circle of Life. So, here now--should I say hear now?--is the video and misinterpreted lyrics:
I was further delighted to see in the very brief write-up of the video the following statement: "Project for The Cultural Nature of Language with Professor Bambi Schieffelin." And no, it's not what you think, not because the name Bambi suggests another Disney connection (or sounds a little like baba). It's just that I had met Professor Schieffelin, who teaches anthropology at New York University, a couple of years ago when we were on a panel discussion together on the subject of literacy at the now defunct Philoctetes Center in Manhattan. I wrote about the panel in two posts here on Blog Time Passing: Literacy and Imagination and More on Literacy and Imagination (admittedly, not very imaginative titles for the posts).
You might also contrast this English misinterpretation of lyrics in a foreign language with an example from another previous post of mine, Phony English, where there is a meaningless play with lyrics meant to sound like the English language.
And when you come down to it, after all that, is there anything left to say, except for...
Hey Hey Baba!