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Happily lost in translation: Misunderstandings in film dialogue

Louisa Desilla EMAIL logo
From the journal Multilingua


This article examines the construal, cross-cultural relay and comprehension of misunderstandings by filmmakers, translators and audiences respectively of Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004). It reports on findings of a case-study on implicatures in these two romantic comedies (Desilla 2009/2012/2014). Both genuine and feigned misunderstandings are found in the two films. Inter alia, the analysis will show that misunderstandings can serve comedic and/or narrative functions, the latter pertaining to both characterisation and, more crucially, plot advancement. It is also demonstrated how misunderstandings can permeate only a single layer or both layers of film communication.

Award Identifier / Grant number: AHRC AH/N007026/1

Funding statement: This work was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, (Funder Id:, Grant Number: AHRC AH/N007026/1).


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Published Online: 2019-08-21
Published in Print: 2019-09-25

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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