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Fictional Polyglots

 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
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Lianne
Senior Member
Canada
thetoweringpile.blog
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Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Toki Pona, German, French

 
 Message 49 of 82
05 May 2011 at 8:51pm | IP Logged 
This one was already mentioned way back in this thread, but Hoshi Sato from Star Trek Enterprise is my personal hero.

My favourite quote of hers is when she's supposed to be learning some language that's not even remotely human. I think it was the one that was based on mathematics, like sine waves or something. She said something like "This is isn't Spanish, you know. It could take me days to learn!" Haha.
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Journeyer
Triglot
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United States
tristan85.blogspot.c
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 Message 50 of 82
06 May 2011 at 5:23am | IP Logged 
Are you sure you are not thinking of Uhura, the communications specialist? I thought Sato was another starship commander, and a guy, not a woman (or robot or alien or android...:-P)
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Spanky
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Canada
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 Message 51 of 82
06 May 2011 at 8:08am | IP Logged 
Nope, pretty sure Lianne nailed it: sato - approx 0% guy, android or alien, though Uhura would qualify for the thread as well.
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Journeyer
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
tristan85.blogspot.c
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Speaks: English*, Spanish, German
Studies: Sign Language

 
 Message 52 of 82
06 May 2011 at 3:16pm | IP Logged 
Ahhh, I stand corrected. I don't know much about the TV shows, and I guess I was thinking about Sulu, anyways!
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Lianne
Senior Member
Canada
thetoweringpile.blog
Joined 3308 days ago

284 posts - 410 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Esperanto, Toki Pona, German, French

 
 Message 53 of 82
06 May 2011 at 3:23pm | IP Logged 
Uhura and Sulu are both from Star Trek: The Original Series, not Enterprise. :P Uhura was a communications officer, but I never actually heard her speak any other languages, except possibly a bit of Swahili, which is her first language.
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Journeyer
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
tristan85.blogspot.c
Joined 5061 days ago

946 posts - 1110 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, German
Studies: Sign Language

 
 Message 54 of 82
06 May 2011 at 8:39pm | IP Logged 
In the most recent Star Trek movie, the young Uhura talks about studying xenolinguistics and also understands Vulcan and Romulan, but there are no scenes of her actually speaking them. The only time I saw her speaking a foreign language was in "ST6: The Undiscovered Country" where she speaks some very broken Klingon from out of a reference book.
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seldnar
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United States
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 Message 55 of 82
06 May 2011 at 10:57pm | IP Logged 
I haven't seen Nicholai Hel the protagonist in Shibumi by Trevanian mentioned
yet. The son of a Russian mother, a German father, who grew up in Shanghai before the
war and then later in Japan. He also grew up speaking French thanks to his mother. At
some point he also learns English

While imprisoned in occupied Japan, he keeps himself from going crazy he asks for books
to read. The prison psychologist, gives him what he thinks are French books. They were
Basque. One was a bilingual reader (Basque/French) consisting of parables. Another was
a Basque/French dictionary. A third was a book entirely in Basque. From these
resources, he begins to teach himself Basque.

I think the description of how he does it would be interesting to the forum's readers
(it also strikes me as something Kato Lomb would have done):

"The first dicton in the book of adages was "Zahar hitzak zuhur hitzak"
which was translated as "Old sayings are wise sayings." His inadequate dictionary
provided him only with the word zahar meaning old. And the first notes of his
[i.e., written by him as an aide to learning Basque] amateur little grammar were:

Zuhur= wise.
Basque plural either "ak" or "zak"
Radical for "adages/sayings" is either "hit" or "hitz"
Note: verb "to say/to speak" probably built on this radical.
Note: is possible that parallel structures do not require verb of simple being.


And from this meager beginning Nicholai constructed a grammar of the Basque language
word by word, concept by concept, structure by structure. From the first, he forced
himself to pronounce the language he was learning, to keep it alive and vital in his
mind. Without guidance, he made several errors that were to haunt his spoken Basque
forever, much to the amusement of his Basque friends. For instance, he decided that the
h would be mute, as in French. Also, he had to choose how he would pronounce the
Basque x from a range of possibilities. It might have been a z, or a
sh, or a tch, or a guttural Germanic ch. He arbitrarily chose the
latter. Wrongly, to his subsequent embarrassment." Page 191, Three Rivers Press
edition.

Imprisoned for more than three years, he kept his languages active by carrying on
conversation in his languages--one day per language. Mondays--English, Tuesdays--
Russian, Wednesdays--Chinese, Thursdays--French, Fridays--German, Saturdays--Basque,
Sundays--Japanese.
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patuco
Diglot
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Gibraltar
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 Message 56 of 82
06 May 2011 at 11:40pm | IP Logged 
Journeyer wrote:
In the most recent Star Trek movie, the young Uhura talks about studying xenolinguistics and also understands Vulcan and Romulan, but there are no scenes of her actually speaking them. The only time I saw her speaking a foreign language was in "ST6: The Undiscovered Country" where she speaks some very broken Klingon from out of a reference book.

I think that the latest Star Trek film was meant to be a reboot of the franchise so I don't think that you can compare her language abilities to the older Star Trek 6.


P.S. I'd just like to clarify that I'm not a Star Trek geek (are they still called Trekkies?), I just read about this reboot in a film review.


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