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In the movie's Wikipedia article, there is a French poster of the movie, which says "Le Discours d'un Roi". This is interesting to me because the French title uses the indefinite article "un" to refer to the king, which in my view makes more sense because he's just a king and from the title alone it's not obvious which king we are talking about.

Is it more appropriate that the English title use the definite article? Is it because the king is British?

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This isn't really on-topic for this site. –  Robusto Mar 30 '11 at 2:15
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Why? It's about the usage of definite article in English, which I think is on-topic. –  Louis Rhys Mar 30 '11 at 2:17
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First of all, it's asking about a translation. Second, you're asking why someone chose a certain set of words for a movie title. Whoever did so could have chosen the definite or the indefinite article, but no one here can tell you why they made the choice. –  Robusto Mar 30 '11 at 2:22
    
Okay. Thank you for your suggestion. I changed the description of the question so that it will not sound like I am asking why they use it. I mentioned the translation for comparison only, not exactly the subject of my question. –  Louis Rhys Mar 30 '11 at 2:25
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I still don't believe this question is relevant. It's totally a subjective discussion that only the producer of the movie could settle. "King's Speech," "The Speech of a King," "A King's Speech," and "The King's Speech," for example, all sound just fine to me. –  LucasTizma Mar 30 '11 at 8:03

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Specifically in Britain, at least, the convention of "The King's something or other", has a very long tradition. Any number of things of all sorts are attributed in this way. For instance, The King's Men, the acting company to which Shakespeare belonged. Other examples, include, The King's Regiment, The King's School, and The King's Breakfast, to name just a few.

Interestingly enough, despite the above, the Film is actually based on a play call A King's Speech, so what the hell do I know.

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+1, to me "The King's _" just means the current King, whomever that is. –  NickC Mar 30 '11 at 23:17
    
I fail to see how this answers the question which was about why the indefinite article rather than the definite is attached to 'King'. It WAS NOT ABOUT why the word 'speech' attracts the definite article in the French but no article in English. This latter has nothing whatever to do with Royal etiquette, but everything to do with the fact that French nouns demand articles where English nouns don't. e.g. 'I love bananas' translates as 'J'aime les bananes'. Also the French method of applying the possessive would require an article even if spoken in English - 'The Speech of the King'. –  WS2 Jan 3 at 23:14

It may well be, as you said, because the movie is about the British king.

In English usage (on both sides of the Atlantic), "the Queen" - without further specification - is commonly understood to refer to Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, the only monarch of an English-speaking country.

So for the timeframe in which the movie is set, "the King" would probably indeed be understood the same way. By contrast, in French "le Roi" would probably require some kind of modifier.

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To be technically correct -- the best kind of correct -- the current monarch is only Elizabeth II of England. As any good Scotsman can tell you, she is the first of that name to sit on the throne of the United Kingdom since that realm was formed in 1707. She's QE2 of England and Wales but QE the First of the UK. And Canada and Jamaica and New Zealand and Barbados and about 20 other places... –  Malvolio Mar 30 '11 at 6:52
    
@Malvolio, really? Odd, then, that Canadian coins read "ELIZABETH II" on the obverse. –  msh210 Mar 30 '11 at 7:45
    
@msh21O, Malvolio is technically correct because Scotland was added to the United Kingdom with the crowning of King James in 1603, as he was also King James VI of Scotland. He succeeded... Elizabeth I (who had condemn his mother to death). In case you didn't know that story of course. –  Alain Pannetier Φ Mar 30 '11 at 8:47
    
@Alain Pannetier, what's with the coins, then? –  msh210 Mar 30 '11 at 15:02
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France certainly did have a Louis XVII! Louis-Charles Capet became King Louis XVII on 21 January, 1793 at the moment Madame Guillotine gave Louis XVI his famously close shave. Similarly, Napoléon II reigned from 22 June to 7 July, 1815. Both rulers were children (Napoléon was only four years old) and in the hands of their enemies (Louis was extrajudicially murdered by the French government) but they were kings. Elizabeth II falls into the same category of Aliens³ and Rambo III -- beneficiaries all of numbering schemes that were clearly wrong but useful and not utterly without support. –  Malvolio Mar 31 '11 at 3:44

I think this is partly due to the fact that Le Discours d'un Roi sounds much better than Un Discours du Roi. Also in Great Britain, he is always addressed as The king to emphasize his superiority.

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The suggestion is not 'Un Discours du Roi' but ' Le Discours du Roi', as opposed to 'Le Discours d'un Roi' –  WS2 Jan 3 at 22:44
    
We appreciate your answer. You can make this a better answer by providing links, even in answers responding to seemingly opinion-based questions. :) –  medica Jan 4 at 0:04

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