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Fictional Polyglots

 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
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Journeyer
Triglot
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 Message 33 of 82
18 February 2011 at 3:37am | IP Logged 
Kind of like the movie "Babel".

That would be a fun book.
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Sennin
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 Message 34 of 82
18 February 2011 at 9:45am | IP Logged 
Professor Otto Lindenbrock in Jules Verne's Voyage au Centre de la Terre. In the novel he demonstrates knowledge of German, Danish, Icelandic, Latin, and at least a bit of English. At one point Jules Verne writes something like "He was a polyglot, that doesn't mean he spoke all the 2000 languages of this world but a good part of them".

p.s. oh. it was already mentioned. my bad ^_^'

BTW I don't know if 2000 is an accurate figure for the total number of languages. It probably depends where you put the line between a DIALECT and a language, and also if you count historical variants and various dead languages.

Edited by Sennin on 18 February 2011 at 11:32am

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RogueMD
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 Message 35 of 82
04 March 2011 at 1:38am | IP Logged 
As my first post on this forum... I couldn't help contributing to this whimsical thread!
Only the "old timers" here may remember Clark Savage, MD aka. Doc Savage. Apparently he could speak nearly all
modern languages, as well as many "dead" languages passably. "Mayan" was always my favorite language he spoke!

This is a wonderful forum you have here....

Michael
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portunhol
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 Message 36 of 82
04 March 2011 at 6:03pm | IP Logged 
This is a fun thread.

I don't think anyone has mentioned Sydney Bristow from the TV show Alias. She was supposed to speak English, Russian, German, Greek, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Romanian, Hungarian, Hebrew, Uzbek, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Indonesian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Vietnamese, Polish, Serbian, Czech, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian. Most of the other characters on that show displayed a knowledge of multiple foreign languages as well.

The character of John Blackthorne, from the 1970's novel Shogun learned Japanese in addition to being raised bilingually in English and Dutch and having already learned to speak good Spanish, Portuguese and Latin.

In the play Pygmalion the character Nepommuck knows 32 languages, among them English, Greek and Hungarian.

Edited by portunhol on 04 March 2011 at 6:04pm

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Sprachprofi
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 Message 37 of 82
04 March 2011 at 6:29pm | IP Logged 
Felipe wrote:
I always thought it would be awesome to write a story in which the text
would be written according to what language is spoken in the part of the world where the
main character is. So, the story starts out in Spain, everything is written in Spanish.
But then for some reason the plot takes the reader to Italy, so now everything is written
in Italian, etc. A book in the style of Tom Clancy might end up being in English,
Russian, Spanish, Japanese, Icelandic, German, Mandarin, etc. and would go back and forth
between all of these.

That would be so awesome! Tiny market for it though.
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portunhol
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 Message 38 of 82
08 March 2011 at 6:42pm | IP Logged 
Felipe wrote:
I always thought it would be awesome to write a story in which the text would be written according to what language is spoken in the part of the world where the main character is. So, the story starts out in Spain, everything is written in Spanish. But then for some reason the plot takes the reader to Italy, so now everything is written in Italian, etc. A book in the style of Tom Clancy might end up being in English, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, Icelandic, German, Mandarin, etc. and would go back and forth between all of these.


Though we don't see this in print we are seeing it more and more on the big and small screans, at least I am. The latest Che Guevara movies, with Benicio del Toro, were shot almost entirely in Spanish even though it was an "American" movie with mostly bilingual actors and a monolingual, English speaking director. Apocalypto had a similar situation if I remember correctly. TV shows like Lost have long segments and almost entire episodes shot in the language of the natives (English, Arabic, Russian, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, French, etc.). I hope this trend continues.
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Spanky
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 Message 39 of 82
08 March 2011 at 6:57pm | IP Logged 
portunhol wrote:
Felipe wrote:
I always thought it would be awesome to write a story in which the text would be written according to what language is spoken in the part of the world where the main character is. So, the story starts out in Spain, everything is written in Spanish. But then for some reason the plot takes the reader to Italy, so now everything is written in Italian, etc. A book in the style of Tom Clancy might end up being in English, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, Icelandic, German, Mandarin, etc. and would go back and forth between all of these.


Though we don't see this in print we are seeing it more and more on the big and small screans, at least I am. The latest Che Guevara movies, with Benicio del Toro, were shot almost entirely in Spanish even though it was an "American" movie with mostly bilingual actors and a monolingual, English speaking director. Apocalypto had a similar situation if I remember correctly. TV shows like Lost have long segments and almost entire episodes shot in the language of the natives (English, Arabic, Russian, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, French, etc.). I hope this trend continues.


I enjoy movies like this, much better than pretending that all the characters speak English (even if you give foreign-speaking characters some exaggerated accent so that we can tell they are foreigners).

However, the huge difference between a multi-lingual film and a multi-lingual book is that such films typically have subtitles, which would look mighty peculiar in a book.

As Sprachprofi says, pretty isolated market - something like Lost (mostly English, some good chunks of Korean, some snippets of Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, French, etc.) would be fully comprehensible only to someone who spoke English, Korean, Japanese, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Latin and French.   And once you have sold your novel to both of those two people in the world, you're kinda out of luck.   

Might be more opportunities of this sort as the print media more fully morphs into something more interesting from a technology perspective.




Edited by Spanky on 08 March 2011 at 6:59pm

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Journeyer
Triglot
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 Message 40 of 82
09 March 2011 at 2:14am | IP Logged 
I think books used to do this to a degree. I remember reading James Fenimore Cooper's "The Last of the Mohicans" and sections of the dialogue were in French. And not just "oui" or something like that, but whole conversations.

I've heard that the same thing was done in some Russian books, but I've never read any of that. Yet.


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