Squid Game viewers spot detail about Sae-byeok's accent you might have missed
6 October 2021, 16:57 | Updated: 8 October 2021, 16:50
If you watched a dubbed version of the show, then you may have missed out on the small yet important detail about Sae-byeok's character.
Squid Game's Kang Sae-byeok has become an absolute fan favourite amongst Netflix viewers. Sae-byeok's popularity has even spilled over to social media with actress Jung Ho-yeon gaining over 14 million Instagram followers since the show's release.
Sae-byeok undoubtably has one of the saddest backstories in the show. She and her young brother defected from North Korea, and she joins the games in order to win enough money to help her parents defect, and to ensure that her family can live a comfortable life in South Korea.
Korean-speaking viewers have now noticed a clever (and heartbreaking) detail with Sae-byeok's character that adds a whole 'nother layer to Jung Ho-yeon's already impressive performance – and you might have missed it if you didn't watch the series in its original language.
In episode 1, Sae-byeok's North Korean nationality is stated explicitly by Deok-su (Player 101) when he beats her up in the dormitory. Viewers are aware of the character's background and motivations at the start of the series.
But if you watched a dubbed version of the show, then you may have missed out on the small yet important detail about Sae-byeok's character.
In an interview with W Korea, Jung Ho-yeon explained that she "watched a lot of documentaries about North Korean defectors" and also practiced speaking in a North Korean accent with teachers in preparation for the role.
Viewers who watched Squid Game in its original Korean language might have detected a slight change in Sae-byeok's accent, depending on who she was talking to.
While talking to her brother, Cheol, her speaks in her true North Korean accent. But while talking to the other players in the game, she speaks in a more standard South Korean accent in order to blend in and to avoid any possible discrimination.
The detail has been shared online by a number of Korean-speaking viewers, including podcaster Youngmi Mayer.
this is quickly becoming my entire personality pic.twitter.com/F3NEu0yVMw— youngmi mayer (@ymmayer) September 30, 2021
Speaking to NBC News, Greta Jung, who has dubbed roles for several Korean and Chinese Netflix shows, echoed the fans who pointed out the detail that might have gone over some viewers heads.
“They should have made a parenthesis in the subtitles when the North Korean character speaks,” Jung said. “[Kang Sae-byeok] has a North Korean accent and hides it around South Korean people — that’s important, that’s significant.”
In a post on the Squid Game Reddit page, user soyfox also noted Sae-byeok's slight change in accent, saying: "Whether it's to avoid getting discriminated against, or to avoid the barrage of questions people would ask to a person from North Korea- North Koreans mostly adapt the South Korean speech and mannerisms so they don't stick out like a sore thumb," the post reads.
"This is particularly true among young people. I don't know how long Sae-byeok has lived in the South, but no doubt she would have quickly adapted along with her street smarts."
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