A Dissertation on TF Names and Language

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by Master Fwiffo, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. Master Fwiffo

    Master Fwiffo Bonecrusher Hates You

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    It's time for another round of 'Fwiffs Analytical Look at the Movie'. Disclaimer: I do this for fun. Yes, I know its a movie and I doubt they planned it out as well as I did. So sue me.

    First off, I need to note something that was not originally an observation of mine. I cannot remember who first noted it, so I'll give credit to a nameless person until that person stepped forward.

    It seems that Movieverse Transformers have two distinct languages they use. The first, and most prominent, is the language spoken by Frenzy - and also at times by Barricade (while attacking Bumblebee), Megatron (several times throughout), and possibly Bonecrusher. This language most resembles an Earthen language, with distinct words and phrases. I'll designate this 'Common Cybertronian', and assume it is the language most prominently spoken on Cybertron. I would also assume this language is 'written' as the symbols we see during the translation, and imprinted on the robots bodies (Prime and Meg's heads, for example).

    The second language, which was seen during the Decepticon Role-Call scene, is an entirely different set of sounds. To our, human ears, it sounds like garbled computer sounds, with no distinct words or phrases. I believe this to be an entirely different form of language, perhaps some Decepticon code. This would look to be a language designed for communicating over long distances without your enemy being able to intercept what was said - perhaps similar to the Navajo code talkers during WWII, or maybe similar to Native American smoke signals. Whatever the case, it's obviously a language different from that of Common Cybertronian.

    Now, let us discuss Transformer names. According to the leaked script, the Transformers chose Earthen nomenclature according to what matched their names back on Cybertron. This was cut from the final draft, but I would assume the logic holds true. I then, would like to discuss what those names, translated directly, would be. I am assuming that like several cultures on Earth, names are phrases that describe the character in question. Let's start with the Decepticons, because they are no doubt easier.

    Megatron - When Megatron was first coined back in 1984, Tron was technological jargon, a meaningless phrase that sounded vaguely robotic. Using that interpretation, the name 'Megatron' would then be a close approximation of the Cybertronian name, which has no human translation. This, of course, would match well with Megatron's arrogance and disdain for the human species. However, another meaning for the word 'Tron' has arisen in more recent days. According to Dictionary.com, 'tron' can also mean "to become inaccessible except via electronic mail or talk especially when one is normally available via telephone or in person." Now, this idea - inaccessible except via very specific communications - may also have fit with Megatron's previous role as General of the Cybertronian armies. Mega, of course, means 'large' or 'great'. Therefore, using this interpretation, Megatrons name would have been 'Great one who is inaccessible except via certain means'.

    Starscream - Starscream is more simple. Star, of course, refers to the shine of distant suns, while Scream means a cry of terror. Starscream may then mean 'One who causes the stars to cry in terror'.

    Bonecrusher - The Master of Hatred presents a small bit of a problem - Transformers have no Bones! However, as the DVD commentaries reveal, according to Bay all Transformers have a nearly identical under-structure - the so-called Protoform. While not as clear a translation to 'bone', this could replace 'bone' easily. Bonecrusher would then be 'One who destroys protoforms'.

    Devastator/Brawl. Because of the conflicting translations of his name, I will cover both. Devastator is simple - 'One who Devastates' or 'One whom lays waste'. Brawl means a loud or noisy fight, so that would translate to 'One who fights loudly.' The two names are difficult to reconcile, so I believe Devastator/Brawls name to be a composite Cybertronian word which has no English equivalent, which would translate to 'One whom lays waste in a loud, aggressive manner'. Depending on which part of the name you focus on, it could then become either Brawl or Devastator.

    Frenzy - The first definition I found for Frenzy is 'a fit or spell of violent mental excitement'. This suits are neurotic gremlin quite well - 'One who is in a state of violent mental excitement.'

    Barricade - 'A barrier that Obstructs Passage'. Barricade could easily fit into the name of 'One who is a barrier' or 'One who obstructs passage'. Either work for the Bad Cop.

    Blackout - A blackout is a massive power failure, and Blackout is clearly named for the ability to cause one. 'One who causes Power Failure'. A creepier interpretation would be using the definition 'to extinguish all lights' - 'One who extinguishes all lights.'

    Scorpinok - Scorpinok presents a problem. Scorpions do not exist on Cybertron, that much is clear. Scorpinoks Cybertronian name, however, might describe his characteristics - 'Multi-legged, with pinchers and a long tail'. Upon finding these similar creatures on Earth, Scorpinok was named to match them.

    Now, we've finished the Decepticons, and enter the more problematic group, the Autobots. We'll start with the most prominent Autobot and work our way through their ranks.

    Optimus Prime - Optimus Prime is an interesting case, as he is a Transformer with two distinct names. The first, Optimus, is rooted in the word 'Optimum' which means Best, or Most Ideal. His second name, Prime, is seen in other continuities as a title used designate Autobot leaders - let us then assume it carries to the movie-verse. Prime, of course, means first. Thus, Optimus Prime can mean 'Best First'. Using that, the name Optimus would be 'One who is the Most Favorable', while the 'Prime' title would mean 'One who is the First', or, as I believe 'One who is of the First', giving signifigance to the title of 'Prime'. Together, Optimus Prime would be 'One who is the Most Favorable, Of those who are the First'.

    Ratchet - Ratchet is a difficult case to consider. A ratchet can refer to the tool, or it can mean 'a steady progression up or down', or 'to increase or decrease by increments'. I think the latter fits the doctor better, using a loose interpretation of 'increase' to mean repair. Thus, Ratchet would be 'One Who Repairs by Degrees.'

    Ironhide - Though the easiest of the Autobots, Ironhide does present a small problem. Iron, is of course, an obsolete substance on Cybertron. But the second definition of Iron is 'Strong, rigid, unyielding', which fits the old coot perfectly. Let us use the term durable. Hide of course, is a protective pelt or skin - a covering if you will. Ironhide is then 'One with a durable exterior.'

    Jazz - Jazz typically refers to the music, but it can also be used in slang to mean 'livliness, spirit or excitement'. As is quite obvious, Jazz has a fondness for slang, so it seems reasonable to think he used that while choosing the Earthen designation of his name. 'One with much spirit' would be a good translation.

    Bumblebee - Bumblebee is a problem. There were no bees on Cybertron, and unlike Scorpinok, Bumblebee does not fit the profile of the small, yellow insect for which he is named (though one could argue he has similar traits, I find that strenuous at best - after all, his protoform lacked these traits). Let's then try to break his name down. 'Bumble' means to stumble, or to be clumsy. A 'bee' can also mean 'a community social gathering to perform some task' - IE, a 'spelling bee'. Using this, we may be able to translate Bumblebee's name as 'Clumsy one who can bring the group together in a common goal'. This name fits Bumblebee's personality and function - Optimus would be proud. That, or Bumblebee's name *has* no Earthen equivalent, and he named himself after getting his new body, in which case, Bumblebee's Cybertronian name would remain a mystery.

    That covers all the Transformers for the movie. I hope you found this enlightening. Or at least laughed a bit.
     
  2. Alienbot

    Alienbot Well-Known Member

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    Bravomisimo (sp?), good fun ai?
     
  3. Ceerad

    Ceerad Well-Known Member

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    Works for me.

    Although, I'd go with the "repair tool" definition for Ratchet.
     
  4. Dropshot

    Dropshot Transform your destiny

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    I really liked what you did on bumblebee, as for me it's one of the worst names in TF history, but you gave a perfect sense and it fits the charachter. Good job!
     
  5. Poho

    Poho That's MISTER Poho to you

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    great stuff. ironhide as "one with a durable exterior". should be "posterior" lol! but seriously, iy was a good read. as for bumblebee, i think they intended it to be a reference to how bumblebees are small and cute and seem harmless, but they can sting you like a bitch if you piss them off.

    "One who is seemingly harmless, but is a fierce fighter"
     
  6. HyperGeek_1984

    HyperGeek_1984 Herr Doktor

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    I like this explaination for BB's name since it fits with his personality, and mirrors his old tech spec motto.
     
  7. Master Fwiffo

    Master Fwiffo Bonecrusher Hates You

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    He is a toughy.

    You could make a case for the 'fly like a butterfly sting like a bee' reference, but again, that seems a bit of a stretch for me.
     
  8. seeker311

    seeker311 The Collector

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    I concur
     
  9. trebleshot

    trebleshot www.Toyark.com Veteran

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    Nice work!

    Though I'd like to think of Ratchet's name being a translation of a job-related nickname, as opposed to his Cybertronian name. Like Bones from Star Trek. Or "Doc" from GIJOE:ARAH.
     
  10. Dark_Convoy

    Dark_Convoy Old Bastard Veteran

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    I always figured Boncrusher's name on Cybertron was "Compromiser of internal support structure."
     
  11. Katamari Prime

    Katamari Prime Hassan Chop! TFW2005 Supporter

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    Impressive ideas, thanks for sharing.
     
  12. Master Fwiffo

    Master Fwiffo Bonecrusher Hates You

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    Star Hunter over at TFLive reminded me that in the Prequel Novel, the TF's did have two languages - the spoken and the digital, which Bumblebee could only communicate through (after his voice box had been torn out). Maybe the producers did plan this out ahead of time.

    Also, Trentroop at the Allspark pointed out Tron is Greek for a device - which could be extrapolated to 'weapon', so his name would become 'Great Weapon'.
     
  13. General Magnus

    General Magnus Da Custodes of the Emprah

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    Very nice!
     
  14. Michael_Prime_2K7

    Michael_Prime_2K7 The Crafty One

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    I agree with the long distance communication sounding like incoherent computer noises... However, for part of Starscreams message sound like this to me..

    "<Low tone beep> Ne-goh-bee-shaa". Which almost sounds like incoherent speech to me. Not computer talk.
     
  15. Michael_Prime_2K7

    Michael_Prime_2K7 The Crafty One

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    Ultra Magnus

    Ultra - going beyond others or beyond due limit : extreme

    Magnus - A borrowing from the Latin, Magnus is derived from magnus (great, large). The name was brought to England by the Scandinavians during the Middle Ages.
     
  16. soundwave34

    soundwave34 OBSESSED Transformers Fan

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    A very interesting interpretation , wish I had as much to say; or maybe your just a good riter.
    It would be very bad if when they made TRANSFORMERS (2007), for the Cybertronian Language they just threw together random interesting noises with absolutely no significance and all the TRANSFORMERS Fans are just studying nothing. But I doubt that is likely to be true.
     
  17. Schrecken

    Schrecken Active Member

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    I had kind of thought Bumblebee got his name due to his colors - yellow with black stripes. That's the only thing I could think of. Ones like Ratchet and Iron Hide are kind of self-explanatory, as are ones like Bonecrusher and Devastator.
     

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