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Disney Princesses in their Native Languages

Disney princesses (and extras) in their native languages in chronological order Language: Zulu
Location: African savanna
Period: unspecified Language: Greek
Location: Thebes, Greece
Period: c. 14th century BC Language: Tahitian
Location: Polynesian triangle
Period: c. 500 BC Language: Māori
Location: Polynesian triangle
Period: c. 500 BC Language: Mandarin Chinese
Location: Han dynasty China
Period: 206 BC – 220 AD Language: Arabic
Location: Sultanate of Agrabah, Arabian peninsula
Period: 9th century Language: Scottish Gaelic
Location: Highlands, Scotland
Period: 9th–12th century Language: French
Location: unspecified
Period: 14th century Language: French
Location: Paris, France
Period: January 6 to 8, 1482 Language: German
Location: Germany
Period: 17th century Language: English (& Powhatan)
Location: Jamestown, Virginia, USA
Period: 1607 Language: French
Location: France
Period: 18th century Language: Greek
Location: Mediterranean Sea; Italian kingdom
Period: 19th century Language: German
Location: Kingdom of Corona, Germany
Period: 1830s Language: Norwegian
Location: Arendal, Norway
Period: July 1840 Language: French
Location: France
Period: 1850/60s Language: English
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Period: April 1926 Language: Russian
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia; Paris, France
Period: December 1926

100 Replies to “Disney Princesses in their Native Languages”

  • Background information about the characters:

    When “The Lion King” was released in 1994, a special Zulu dubbing was made on that occasion: it is the first and last Zulu dubbing made by Disney, as well as the only dubbing in any African language (other than Arabic). For this reason, Zulu is the only language that can be chosen for Nala.
    Given the impossibility to determine when the story takes place, I decided to put Nala first in this video.

    While the movie gives us a clear location (Thebes), establishing the exact point in time is a bit complicated. The story takes place during the so-called Greek Heroic Age, which spans roughly from 15th to 9th century BC. It’s Herodotus to place the myth of Hercules in 1300 BC.

    About 3500 years ago, Polynesian people suddenly stopped journeying by sea for still foggy reasons, to start travelling again about a thousand years later. According to directors Clements and Musker, the movie gives a fantastic explanation to the causes of and conclusion of that hiatus. We can therefore assume that the story takes place more or less 2500 years ago.
    The languages used in the video are two, but they actually represent one sole language: Proto-Polynesian, the common ancestor to all Polynesian languages, which subsequently spread and diversified across the Polynesian triangle. The story takes place somewhere in it, maybe even across the whole area.

    While the Ballad of Mulan is dated back to the Norther Wei dynasty (386 – 534), Xiongnu invasions (here identified as Huns, although a connection between these two populations is still debated) happened mostly during Han dynasty. Some temporal discrepancies can be easily spotted along the movie: the capital city is clearly the Forbidden City, which was built only in the 15th century, while fireworks were invented c. 8/9th century.

    While the “One Thousand and One Nights” collection is a miscellanea of tales from different ancient folklores, Disney’s version takes place in a fictional presumably Arabic-speaking country, as we can assume from the opening song, which reprises the most notorious English version of the collection’s title: Arabian nights. According to the filmmakers, the story was initially meant to take place in Baghdad, Iraq, when the Gulf War bursted out and the directors were forced to change the setting. The name "Agrabah" was made up by Musker playing with the name "Baghdad". The core of the One Thousand and One Nights collection is dated 8th/9th century, and we can assume that’s the period when our story takes place, even though the tale became part of the collection only in the early 18th century.

    The location can be easily spotted by the map Elinor shows Merida while teaching her, while the 9th to 12th century dating was given by Mark Andrews and Katherine Sarafian, who also stated they wanted to recreate an iconic Scottish setting, not looking too close at historical accuracy. This resulted in a number of anachronisms, including: Romans invasions (dated mostly 1st and 2nd century) and Viking attacks (who kept raiding Scotland from the 8th to 11th century) occurring almost at the same time, bears being stuffed while they went extinct in Scotland in the prehistoric age and the first records of kilts in Scotland being dated 16th century.

    The movie gives us a clear century: 14th. As for the location, it’s impossible to tell, though we can easily guess it’s somewhere in central Europe. French was chosen looking at the author, as in the opening credits it reads: “Story adaptation (…) from the Charles Perrault version of Sleeping Beauty”.

    Place and date are clearly specified: the story starts in Paris on the day of “la fête des fous” (January 6th) and ends two days later. The year is specified in Victor Hugo’s book.

    Snow White:
    As for Aurora, the choice of the language falls on the authors, as no specific information is given in the movie about the location, though the artists seem to have said they took inspiration from German landscapes. The opening credits read “adapted from Grimms’ fairy tales”, while for the period, some sources link the environment to the 17th century, but it’s mainly speculation.

    Place and date are clearly specified in the movie. Jamestown is the historical settlement where the British colonists lived when Pocahontas met them.
    Pocahontas was the daughter of the chief of Virginia Algonquians, known as Powhatan, which is also the language they spoke. In the movie, we can see how, the first time she speaks to John Smith, Pocahontas suddenly starts to speak English, letting us know that she can now speak both English and Powhatan. “Colors of the Wind” is the only song she sings in English, the rest is supposed to be in Powhatan.
    EDIT: why isn't the song in Powhatan, then? Simple reason: there's no dubbing in Powhatan nor in any other native American language.

    The location is pretty clear, and it was confirmed the story takes place in 18th century:
    Some want to collocate the story more precisely in Savoy, a region on the Swiss-Italian border.

    It was recently confirmed that the story takes place in the Mediterranean Sea and that Eric’s kingdom is somewhere in Italy:
    Even so, Triton is a god from the Greek pantheon (but not the Roman one), hence the closest language is supposedly Greek. Nonetheless, we can guess that, being Ariel some sort of minor Mediterranean deity, she might actually speak fluently, besides her native Greek, all languages spoken on Mediterranean shores: Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Croatian, French, English, Hebrew, Italian, Maltese, Montenegrin, Persian, Slovenian, Spanish and Turkish. Chapeau, miss!
    19th century is once again the epoch when the author, Hans Christian Andersen, lived, and the ship on which Eric sails seems to match this period.

    Once again, it’s the original story, Brothers Grimm’s “Rapunzel”, to be taken as a reference for the location. As Rapunzel and Eugene can be seen at Elsa’s coronation in Frozen, during the “For the first time in forever” sequence, we can guess that Rapunzel’s story happened shortly before Frozen (see following paragraph).

    Anna & Elsa:
    The name “Arendelle” is clearly inspired to the city of Arendal, in southern Norway, while landscapes and buildings are inspired by other parts of the country and even of the entire Scandinavia.
    It’s Oaken to let us know that it’s July when the story happens, while for the year, if we want to trust the map popping up at the end of Frozen Fever, the year is 1840. We know that Frozen cannot take place the year before Frozen Fever, because the latter occurs in between Frozen and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, which takes place the first Christmas after the events in Frozen, at the end of the same year.

    Then again, we’re going we’ve the author of the story, and once again the opening credits inform us it’s Charles Perrault again, though we may add that all names of the girls announced at the ball are French and they’re addressed as “mademoiselle”. As for Snow White, the environment has led to speculate a 19th century setting, but it’s not sure.

    A newspaper during “Down in New Orleans” reads: “New Orleans, Louisiana, Friday, April, 25, 1926” (though April 25 was actually on a Sunday in 1926).

    Tsar Nicholas II Romanov and his family were arrested on March 22, 1917, following the events of the first Russian Revolution occurred during that year (February Revolution). They will be executed on July 18, 1918.
    However, the movie uses even a song to let us know that prior events take place in December, month on which, in 1916, Grigori Rasputin was assassinated. As the movie takes place ten years after those events, we can probably count them starting from December 1916, instead of 1917, hence: December 1926.
    On a side note: Saint Petersburg was called Leningrad from 1924 to 1991.
    EDIT: Anastasia is included in this list because 20th Century Fox was purchased by Disney on March 2019.

  • I kinda hope Disney makes a Filipino princess/prince so I can just hear Tagalog love songs and weep about the beauty and pain of love.

  • L'originale favola di Cenerentola venne scritta da Giovan Battista Basile, quindi Cenerentola dovrebbe essere in italiano, se non in napoletano, ahahahahah

  • Anastasia is still not Disney. Fox made that one. The Little Mermaid is from the Atlantic (the mermaid city is even called Atlantica), probably somewhere Danish-esque

  • The little mermaid is a danish fairy tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. It's a story about a little mermaid that is willing to give up her life in the sea as a mermaid to gain a human soul. I can't believe people don't know about that. IT'S NOT GREEK

  • Arial is danish, it was made by a danish author named Hans Christian Andersen, they even have a statue in the capital city copenhagen

  • When i see frost is from norway:
    I'm going to see Frost 2 the 25th december UwU

  • And all these years later people still need to be told that Anastasia wasn't a disney movie. Also it really blows that there wasn't a Powhatan version of Colors of the Wind. Still, pretty cool video. Mulan was my fave

  • Pocahontas native language should be Cree. Most people don't know the language not even most Cree people bc not too long ago like 50 years ago the white people put us in school far away and forced us to forget our kind now. And the cree language is just being rerouted.

  • Kinda wish disney mobies were like anime. Not the animation! As in every movie is in their own native language but with subtitles

  • I hate Disney because, your work is don't like to me… but this Video (with Disney's materials) was so cool… take my like good man

  • Nala – This one is hard to say. Zulu is just one of many possible languages. The film takes place in a savanna area which could be many parts of East, Southern or Central Africa. Personally I favor East Africa because the characters' names are in Swahili, which is an East African language, and Americans mostly think of the Serengeti (Tanzania) when they think of African savanna. Zulu is from South Africa, which is different from East Africa. However, Swahili is a lingua franca, not the actual native language of the area, and it's not actually been spoken there for very long. The main native language of the Serengeti is Maasai/Maa, although that itself was a migrant language and only arrived in the 17th or 18th century. Before that, various Bantu languages or even "click" languages like Hadza or Sandawe were spoken here.

    Megara – ancient (Homeric) Greek, since this is definitely in ancient Greece (pre-Christianity). This is the language myths were written in.

    Mulan – she is from North China, so Mandarin is correct. However this takes place 1000-1500 years ago. If this is the Han dynasty – a local form of Old Chinese. If it's the Northern Wei – a local form of Middle Chinese.

    Jasmine – the film seems to take place in the Najd region (central desert) of Saudi Arabia. So she would speak the Najdi dialect of Arabic of that time. The dub is in Egyptian Arabic. Arabic dialects are fairly different from one another because Arabic covers a lot of different huge countries with different cultures and neighbors, and Arabic has had several centuries to evolve since the time of the caliphates. The "1001 Nights" is supposed to take place during the Islamic Golden Age, so this is any time between the 8th and 14th centuries.

    Esmeralda – she would speak Romani, specifically the Northwestern dialect. The people known as "gypsies" (that is actually an offensive term) are called Roma, and they descend from migrants from North India sometime in the first millenium CE. As such, they have their own language called Romani, which although it has been heavily influenced by local European languages throughout the decades, is still spoken by 1.5 million people and is noticeably similar to languages like Hindi/Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi or Gujarati. Roma people were and still are on the bottom of the social hierarchy and thus were pretty much forced to keep to themselves and stick to ghettos. Thus in this period Esmeralda would definitely speak Romani. Roma people who interact with outsiders also speak the local languages of course, but in this scene she thinks she's alone. She would probably be singing in her native language.

    Aurora, Rapunzel – the modern "German", "French", and "Italian" languages were not spoken over the whole of those countries before relatively recently. Historically these countries, especially Germany and Italy, were divided more often than not into lots of small regional kingdoms/duchies/free cities/republics/etc. Thus everybody spoke regional dialects. Some could understand each other, others couldn't, especially if two people from opposite ends of the modern country were trying to communicate. German dialects. Around the turn of the 20th century is when German and French dialects started to really die out (most Italian dialects and also the Bavarian dialect of German are still pretty strong). Definitely in the 19th century, standard German would only be used for official stuff. So she would be singing some sort of local dialect, but it's tough to say what region. For Rapunzel perhaps southern Germany, so an Alemannic (similar to Swiss German) dialect or Bavarian?

    Belle – same deal as with German dialects. This one is easier because the region is supposed to be the Swiss-Italian border region – she would speak the Franco-Provencal language, also known in modern times as Arpitan/Arpetan. This isn't the same as the Provencal language/dialect. In fact it is transitional between Provencal and oil dialects, which are the ones most similar to modern French.

    The other ones are right, or right enough. Just for trivia, Cuzco from Emperor's New Groove would have spoke the Cuzco dialect of southern Quechua, which is a Native American language of South America with still almost 7 million speakers, and 10 million speakers of that language and closely related languages also called Quechua. Cuzco is the name of the capital of the Inca Empire and a modern city in Peru. The dialect isn't named after the character.

    Also, Kristoff's native language would be a Sami language (there are actually 5 distinct ones spoken in Norway, and 9 total). He was confirmed to be Sami, who are the indigenous people of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the adjacent part of Russia. Around the same time that French and German dialects began to suffer in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the same thing happened to Sami people. However, unlike the French and German situations, Sami people were a distinct ethnic minority who had been victim to discrimination and racism for centuries.

    Brother Bear takes place in Alaska and the people are supposed to be Inuit, in which case they would speak Inupiatun or Qawariaq. However, the environment is really more Pacific NW coast than Arctic, so I think actually they would probably be Tlingit. They could also live in the region between the Arctic and Pacific NW, which would mean they are Eyak or Athabaskan speaking.

  • i always thought Aladdin was Indian but when it said Arabic I realised "yeah… sand dunes are more common in Arabia.."

  • Não acredito q nao tem uma princesa q seja latina. 40 princesas francesas agora uma sla argentina… nada, bom mdm é princesa europeia isso sim q é legal 😒

  • Okay so this vid is frop three months ago ? Why is it in my mentions ( not that i'm complaining) nd why they are so many recent comments 😂😂

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