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Fictional Polyglots

 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
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jeff_lindqvist
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 Message 17 of 82
28 October 2010 at 1:39am | IP Logged 
Jinx wrote:
Is this the video you mean?


That's the one. The accents leave much to be desired, but it's a cool clip nevertheless.

Gunvald Larsson (from the Sjöwall/Wahlöö books) is able to speak Swedish, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Latvian, Arabic, Punjabi, Korean and Thai "fluently". I think he also speaks some Russian in one of the modern Beck movies ("Mannen med ikonerna").

http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunvald_Larsson

Edited by jeff_lindqvist on 28 October 2010 at 1:47am

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Spanky
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 Message 18 of 82
28 October 2010 at 2:40am | IP Logged 
Teango wrote:
C3PO - "fluent in over six million forms of communication"!



Yep. In fairness, however, Vreniuk, vLosenc'hulkt and fvrarenshuntl are for all intents best considered simply dialects of the 7-paltoun language. So, really only 5,999,997.   I don't mean "only" in a dismissive manner, as that is still quite a lot of languages.

Many of the characters in John Le Carre novels, at least the interesting characters, are multilingual - facility with languages being considered at least within the Circus as being an excellent attribute to look for when trolling to recruit new sneaky spy types.
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Ari
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 Message 19 of 82
28 October 2010 at 3:31am | IP Logged 
Spanky wrote:
Yep. In fairness, however, Vreniuk, vLosenc'hulkt and fvrarenshuntl are for all intents best considered simply dialects of the 7-paltoun language. So, really only 5,999,997.   I don't mean "only" in a dismissive manner, as that is still quite a lot of languages.

Well, first of all, C3PO hasn't to my knowledge claimed they're all distinct languages, only "forms of communication". Second, Vreniuc (I prefer the old spelling) certainly has an army and a navy, and the cultural issues make mutual intelligibility a guessing game at best.
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Gon-no-suke
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 Message 20 of 82
28 October 2010 at 7:28am | IP Logged 
The main character in the Japanese manga Master Keaton, the ex-SAS british archeologist Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, speaks English, Japanese, French, German, Arabic, and Romanian. The manga is highly recommended!
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Gorgoll2
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 Message 21 of 82
29 October 2010 at 12:27am | IP Logged 
Other great fictional Polyglot is Stephen Daedalus from James Joyce books, as the his creator, he seem speak many languages, reading Ulysses I saw he speaking Irish, English, French, Latin, Greek and untill Hebrew. That´s great

Edited by Gorgoll2 on 29 October 2010 at 12:27am

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Journeyer
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 Message 22 of 82
09 November 2010 at 6:10pm | IP Logged 
Some additions:

In the latter Indiana Jones films we see he has a knowledge of Sanskrit, Sinhala and Shangainese (Temple of Doom) as well as a dialect of Quechua, probably the Cuzco dialect since he was speaking with men in Cuzco (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).

Alas, in the book The Bourne Identity Jason does not speak Russian. He does know French and German though, as well as some far Eastern languages - I think he was married to a woman from Cambodia. I haven't read the other books though, just the first one. From a polyglot's point of view, I certainly like the movie depiction of his skills.

paranday wrote:
Is Satan a fictional character? Al Pacino spoke several languages as Satan in The Devil's Advocate. I don't think he spoke them all that well, but alas, the devil is in the details. Al Pacino YouTube Cantonese


I heard a legend about the difficulty of Basque. Apparently the Devil set out to learn the language to tempt those folks, but gave after having studied for two years and only managing to learn the words for 'yes' and 'no.'

Edited by Journeyer on 09 November 2010 at 6:11pm

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Gorgoll2
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 Message 23 of 82
09 November 2010 at 8:57pm | IP Logged 
Nico Robin from the manga One Piece is a genius at tongues. With eight years she
discovered the Poneglyphs - a dead language - and along the series she speaks in English
, French and Spanish.
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gogglehead
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 Message 24 of 82
20 November 2010 at 12:43pm | IP Logged 
Wilbur Smith's principal characters are often polyglots.
In the novel "Birds of Prey" from the Courtney series, Smith writes: "Sir Francis [Courtney] spoke the languages of all the seafaring nations, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese..."
Sir Francis' native tongue is English and, in the novel, he also speaks Latin

In the sequel "Monsoon", Tom Courtney learns Arabic while on board a ship bound from England to Arabia via the Cape of Good Hope, and Tom also speaks Lozi (an African language) and Latin.

In "Blue Horizon", the novel that follows, Tom Courtney's son Jim has a cousin whose mother's language is Arabic, and a friend whose mother tongue is Lozi, or "the language of the forests", and, writes Smith: "The three had spent so much time together that they were fluent in each others language -English, Arabic and Lozi. They switched between them effortlessly".

Polyglottery is a recurring device in most of Smith's works, and he almost always explains how the character came to know the languages rather than describing an mysterious Indiana Jones style Polygot. Sometimes, when reading, I feel compelled to put aside my Wilbur Smith novel in order to grab a grammar book!


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