History Main / CunningLinguist

17th Oct '17 8:40:57 AM Montanto
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** This is actually a result of the way the Japanese audio track worked out. In-universe, English is the primary language of Roanapur, but the voices are all in Japanese. Then, in the final arc of ''Second Barrage'', when Revy, Rock, Balalaika and her team actually ''go'' to Japan. There, their voice actors begin speaking (naturally [[{{Engrish}} broken]]) English whenever they are in conversation with Japanese-speaking characters, but vocalize in Japanese voices again when conversing amongst themselves. The English Dub matches events in-universe much better as a result, although now the ''Japanese'' characters have new English voice actors when conversing amongst themselves (and in some instances, when speaking directly to character who ''actually'' speak English, i.e. Chaka to Revy). One wonders why they didn't just preserve the Japanese characters' Japanese audio through the entire arc.

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** This is actually a result of the way the Japanese audio track worked out. In-universe, English is the primary language of Roanapur, but the voices are all in Japanese. Then, in the final arc of ''Second Barrage'', when Revy, Rock, Balalaika and her team actually ''go'' to Japan. There, their voice actors begin speaking (naturally [[{{Engrish}} broken]]) English whenever they are in conversation with Japanese-speaking characters, but vocalize in Japanese voices again when conversing amongst themselves. The English Dub matches events in-universe much better as a result, although now the ''Japanese'' characters have new English voice actors when conversing amongst themselves (and in some instances, when speaking directly to a character who ''actually'' speak English, i.e. Chaka to Revy). One wonders why they didn't just preserve the Japanese characters' Japanese audio through the entire arc.



* Inverted in ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex''. It seems everyone but the main character is a polyglot (and the fact that the main character isn't makes him look like an idiot). It gets a bit absurd when we have to have a British middle school student translate Russian into Japanese for him.
* In ''Anime/MacrossDoYouRememberLove'', Misa is shown able to understand Zentraedi language and, after some initial trouble, decipher the Protoculture one (from which the Zentraedi's derives). This allows her to translate the title song (originally a Protoculture song), and, indirectly, end the war in the good guys' favour when Minmay sings it.

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* Inverted in ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex''. It seems everyone but the main character is a polyglot (and the fact that the main character isn't isn't, makes him look like an idiot). It gets a bit absurd when we have to have a British middle school student translate Russian into Japanese for him.
* In ''Anime/MacrossDoYouRememberLove'', Misa is shown able to understand Zentraedi language and, after some initial trouble, decipher the Protoculture one (from which the Zentraedi's derives). This allows her to translate the title song (originally a Protoculture song), and, indirectly, end the war in the good guys' favour favor when Minmay sings it.



* ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' has Timothy Upham who is the naive kid, dispatched from the officer pool to help find private Ryan. Spends the movie getting his hands dirty and learning to be a soldier, manages to end the movie sitting out the climactic battle because of a HeroicBSOD. Hilariously, Upham's German is in fact terrible, despite the claim of the character that his accent is "clean, with just a touch of Bavarian". His French isn't much better, particularly his grammar.

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* ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' has Timothy Upham who is the naive kid, dispatched from the officer pool to help find private Private Ryan. Spends the movie getting his hands dirty and learning to be a soldier, manages to end the movie sitting out the climactic battle because of a HeroicBSOD. Hilariously, Upham's German is is, in fact fact, terrible, despite the claim of the character that his accent is "clean, with just a touch of Bavarian". His French isn't much better, particularly his grammar.



* There are at least two examples of scholar-linguists that are not out of their element: The translator in ''Film/TheBridgeOnTheRiverKwai'', who is said to have taught South-East Asian languages in Oxford(?) before the war seems at ease in the jungle, and seems to be more at home there than the other commandos. And there is T.E. Lawrence, who learned Arabic during archaeological digs in the Levant before the Great War, and apparently [[GoingNative went native to some extent.]]

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* There are at least two examples of scholar-linguists that are not out of their element: The translator in ''Film/TheBridgeOnTheRiverKwai'', who is said to have taught South-East Asian languages in at Oxford(?) before the war seems at ease in the jungle, and seems to be more at home there than the other commandos. And there is T.E. Lawrence, who learned Arabic during archaeological digs in the Levant before the Great War, and apparently [[GoingNative went native to some extent.]]



* ''Franchise/StarWars'' has C-3PO, a protocol droid fluent in more than six million forms of communication, who ends up using these abilities [[OnceAnEpisode once or twice a movie]] -- not counting his conversations with Artoo or Chewbacca, [[BilingualDialogue who everybody else seem to understand as well.]]

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* ''Franchise/StarWars'' has C-3PO, a protocol droid fluent in more than six million forms of communication, who ends up using these abilities [[OnceAnEpisode once or twice a movie]] -- not counting his conversations with Artoo or Chewbacca, [[BilingualDialogue who everybody else seem seems to understand as well.]]



* Film/JamesBond shows signs of this, inasmuch as he's a [[OneManArmy one man squad]], when dealing with Russian spies, French money launderers and Middle Eastern arms dealers. Moneypenny in ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies'' even drops the trope name when he is "brushing up on his Danish" though also using it with the innuendo intact.

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* Film/JamesBond shows signs of this, inasmuch as he's a [[OneManArmy one man one-man squad]], when dealing with Russian spies, French money launderers launderers, and Middle Eastern arms dealers. Moneypenny in ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies'' even drops the trope name when he is "brushing up on his Danish" though also using it with the innuendo intact.



*** Subverted, however, in ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies'', when Bond is completely bamboozled by Wai Lin's keyboard. (It's meant as a joke, by the way; Chinese computers [or Mainland China ones at least] either use Pinyin or Wubi [a system of four-digit codes to stand for characters] for word imput and processing)

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*** Subverted, however, in ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies'', when Bond is completely bamboozled by Wai Lin's keyboard. (It's meant as a joke, by the way; Chinese computers [or Mainland China ones at least] either use Pinyin or Wubi [a system of four-digit codes to stand for characters] for word imput input and processing)



* Also in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', Rincewind displays an amazing facility for languages (especially given his ineptitude at anything other than fleeing). Apparently he can scream for help in many languages, and just plain ''scream'' in many more. (Explained and shown to be important, as "Aarrrgggh" translates to many things including: "Your wife is a big hippo", and more vitally: "Yes, more boiling oil!")

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* Also in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', Rincewind displays an amazing facility for languages (especially given his ineptitude at anything other than fleeing). Apparently Apparently, he can scream for help in many languages, and just plain ''scream'' in many more. (Explained and shown to be important, as "Aarrrgggh" translates to many things including: "Your wife is a big hippo", and more vitally: "Yes, more boiling oil!")



** In one episode of Buffy, we learn that Spike speaks [[BlackSpeech Fyarl]]. It is also implied that Spike understands [[GratuitousForeignLanguage Luganda]]. And shown that he can read Latin (which actually makes some sense; as a Victorian gentleman with literary ambitions, he would be expected to have a working knowledge of both Latin and Ancient Greek).

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** In one episode of Buffy, we learn that Spike speaks [[BlackSpeech Fyarl]]. It is also implied that Spike understands [[GratuitousForeignLanguage Luganda]]. And it's shown that he can read Latin (which actually makes some sense; as a Victorian gentleman with literary ambitions, he would be expected to have a working knowledge of both Latin and Ancient Greek).



* ''BandOfBrothers'' has both David Webster and Joseph Liebgott as the cunning linguist, this case being translators for Easy Company. This skill becomes a tragic burden towards the end, when a linguist must [[spoiler: tell a group of holocaust survivors they cannot leave their death camp.]]

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* ''BandOfBrothers'' has both David Webster and Joseph Liebgott as the cunning linguist, this case being translators for Easy Company. This skill becomes a tragic burden towards the end, end when a linguist must [[spoiler: tell a group of holocaust Holocaust survivors they cannot leave their death camp.]]



* Max Eilerson from ''Series/{{Crusade}}'' is good with not only most Earth languages but both knowing and deciphering most alien languages, which is part of why he landed his job with the archaeological company IPX. A scene in an episode even shows his thought process as he's attempting to decipher an alien ship CaptainsLog. Once he's got the basic concepts down, the rest of the translation is pretty easy, although it's implied that he uses sophisticated IPX software to do the gruntwork.

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* Max Eilerson from ''Series/{{Crusade}}'' is good with not only most Earth languages but both knowing and deciphering most alien languages, which is part of why he landed his job with the archaeological company IPX. A scene in an episode even shows his thought process as he's attempting to decipher an alien ship CaptainsLog. Once he's got the basic concepts down, the rest of the translation is pretty easy, although it's implied that he uses sophisticated IPX software to do the gruntwork.grunt work.



** The PlayerCharacter also has shades of this. Carth comments that the amount of galactic languages you speak is pretty rare for a raw recruit, but should come in handy being stranded on the rear end of the Outer Rim. He's right.
** A great example of this is when confronting Sasha ot Sulem, a stowaway on the ''Ebon Hawk'', who's apparently only speaks an ancient dialect of Mandalorian. The player character goes from utterly confused to being semi-fluent and capable of holding a conversation in a manner of ''minutes''.

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** The PlayerCharacter also has shades of this. Carth comments that the amount of galactic languages you speak is are pretty rare for a raw recruit, but should come in handy being stranded on the rear end of the Outer Rim. He's right.
** A great example of this is when confronting Sasha ot Sulem, a stowaway on the ''Ebon Hawk'', who's who apparently only speaks an ancient dialect of Mandalorian. The player character goes from utterly confused to being semi-fluent and capable of holding a conversation in a manner of ''minutes''.



** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', your character being a Dragonborn can learn to speak the language of the Dragons, which allows him/her to use powerful language-related abilities. Non-Dragonborn can also learn to speak the language, but do so with greater difficulty. The Dragons themselves seem to know both the Dragon language and the basic language of Tamriel fluently. However, while the Dragonborn can [[InstantExpert instantly]] learn new [[LanguageOfMagic Words of Power]] and use the Thu'um, they actually do ''not'' gain a full understanding of the Dragon-Language itself. [[BigBad Alduin]] mocks and berates them for having the audacity to call themselves "[[YouAreTheTranslatedForeignWord Dov]]" when they don't understand their language, while Arngeir only realises the Dragonborn's lack of fluency when they had to ask what was being said during their initiation ceremony.

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** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', your character being a Dragonborn can learn to speak the language of the Dragons, which allows him/her to use powerful language-related abilities. Non-Dragonborn can also learn to speak the language, language but do so with greater difficulty. The Dragons themselves seem to know both the Dragon language and the basic language of Tamriel fluently. However, while the Dragonborn can [[InstantExpert instantly]] learn new [[LanguageOfMagic Words of Power]] and use the Thu'um, they actually do ''not'' gain a full understanding of the Dragon-Language itself. [[BigBad Alduin]] mocks and berates them for having the audacity to call themselves "[[YouAreTheTranslatedForeignWord Dov]]" when they don't understand their language, while Arngeir only realises realizes the Dragonborn's lack of fluency when they had to ask what was being said during their initiation ceremony.



* Maggie Robbins in ''VideoGame/TheDig'' is an IntrepidReporter and "good at languages," verging on {{Omniglot}} status. She's especially good at ''learning'' languages, which comes in handy on an alien planet. Thanks to an alien library/teaching machine, she learns enough of the local language to communicate with one of the aliens after only a few hours. [[spoiler: Later the laguage was revealed to be created as ridiculosly easy to learn and it's implied that the government knew the astronauts would end up meeting aliens, and chose Maggie specifically for her language skills.]]

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* Maggie Robbins in ''VideoGame/TheDig'' is an IntrepidReporter and "good at languages," verging on {{Omniglot}} status. She's especially good at ''learning'' languages, which comes in handy on an alien planet. Thanks to an alien library/teaching machine, she learns enough of the local language to communicate with one of the aliens after only a few hours. [[spoiler: Later the laguage language was revealed to be created as ridiculosly ridiculously easy to learn and it's implied that the government knew the astronauts would end up meeting aliens, and chose Maggie specifically for her language skills.]]



* In ''Webcomic/{{Galaxion}}'' [[TheSnarkKnight Vessa]] is generally overqualified for her job (or for any job, really). She speaks several Earth languages, AND Myradi, the alien language spoken by very few humans. Also attempts Orehu, but she's only had so much to go on, so, as she wryly notes, she might have just as well asked for an anteater.
* In ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'', Tuuri is a Finn who took both Icelandic and Swedish as second laguages, which makes her the only one able to speak with everyone else on her MultinationalTeam. This effectively makes her the translator, while her official jobs on the team are mechanic and skald.

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* In ''Webcomic/{{Galaxion}}'' [[TheSnarkKnight Vessa]] is generally overqualified for her job (or for any job, really). She speaks several Earth languages, AND Myradi, the alien language spoken by very few humans. Also Also, attempts Orehu, but she's only had so much to go on, so, as she wryly notes, she might have just as well asked for an anteater.
* In ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'', Tuuri is a Finn who took both Icelandic and Swedish as second laguages, languages, which makes her the only one able to speak with everyone else on her MultinationalTeam. This effectively makes her the translator, while her official jobs on the team are mechanic and skald.skald.
* In ''{{Rhapsodies}}'', bandmember, Hsin, has been shown to be fluent in several Chinese dialects, Russian, Korean and may know several more. Because of his atrocious English, this usually catches his friends by surprise. English, he's quick to point out, is his "last" language.



--> '''Candace''': Just remember, Gaston said I will always be his ''cou de crayon''.

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--> '''Candace''': Just remember, Gaston said I will always be his ''cou ''coup de crayon''.



** How easy you find learning another language also greatly depends on the differing complexity of the grammar of your native language and the language you're learning. For example, native German-speakers have few problems with the grammar of English (where the inflectional endings of nouns are largely absent, replaced by prepositions), while native English-speakers find German nouns with their case-endings and often unpredictable grammatical genders extremely challenging. Germans on the other hand have to struggle with many of the more complex features of Slavic languages like Russian (for instance, while German nouns have four cases, Russian nouns have six, or seven if you count the vocative).

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** How easy you find learning another language also greatly depends on the differing complexity of the grammar of your native language and the language you're learning. For example, native German-speakers have few problems with the grammar of English (where the inflectional endings of nouns are largely absent, replaced by prepositions), while native English-speakers find German nouns with their case-endings and often unpredictable grammatical genders extremely challenging. Germans Germans, on the other hand hand, have to struggle with many of the more complex features of Slavic languages like Russian (for instance, while German nouns have four cases, Russian nouns have six, or seven if you count the vocative).



* The British Army has Wilton Park. If you are on a language course you will only speak the language you are learning to other students, and teachers. You are expected not to be just fluent, but native with in 6 weeks. It has been known to cause problems in the bar when the barman sometimes has to ask customers to drop Persian, or what ever, because they have forgotten to switch back to English.

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* The British Army has Wilton Park. If you are on a language course you will only speak the language you are learning to other students, and teachers. You are expected not to be just fluent, but native with in within 6 weeks. It has been known to cause problems in the bar when the barman sometimes has to ask customers to drop Persian, or what ever, whatever because they have forgotten to switch back to English.



* On an individual level, few can compete with UsefulNotes/{{Israel}}'s first ambassador to the UsefulNotes/UnitedNations and third foreign minister, Abba Eban. A South African of English and Dutch Jewish descent raised in the UK, Eban spoke no fewer than ''ten'' languages according to Wiki/TheOtherWiki. He knew Arabic--''Arabic''!--well enough to produce a good translation of at least one classic of modern Arabic literature into Hebrew, spoke English better than anyone Henry Kissinger had ever seen, and is reported to have had an impressive command of Hebrew, as well.

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* On an individual level, few can compete with UsefulNotes/{{Israel}}'s first ambassador to the UsefulNotes/UnitedNations and third foreign minister, Abba Eban. A South African of English and Dutch Jewish descent raised in the UK, Eban spoke no fewer than ''ten'' languages according to Wiki/TheOtherWiki. He knew Arabic--''Arabic''!--well enough to produce a good translation of at least one classic of modern Arabic literature into Hebrew, spoke English better than anyone Henry Kissinger had ever seen, seen and is reported to have had an impressive command of Hebrew, as well.



** Hebrew and Arabic are fairly closely related languages to begin with and Israel itself has a large Arab and Arabic-speaking minority (in addition to more obvious complicated relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors). A large number of Israelis, especially those in military, intelligence, or diplomatic services, speak excellent Arabic, albeit often with a fairly distinctive accent.
* Members of small nations tend to be {{Cunning Linguist}}s. Since nobody will learn ''their'' language anyway as it is likely to be all too insignificant, they are adept on learning foreign languages. Every Finn is likely to understand not only Finnish, but also Estonian (which is close enough to Finnish to be understood), Swedish and English. Many also speak Russian, German, French and/or Japanese.

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** Hebrew and Arabic are fairly closely related languages languages, to begin with with, and Israel itself has a large Arab and Arabic-speaking minority (in addition to more obvious complicated relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors). A large number of Israelis, especially those in military, intelligence, or diplomatic services, speak excellent Arabic, albeit often with a fairly distinctive accent.
* Members of small nations tend to be {{Cunning Linguist}}s. Since nobody will learn ''their'' language anyway as it is likely to be all too insignificant, they are adept on at learning foreign languages. Every Finn is likely to understand not only Finnish, but also Estonian (which is close enough to Finnish to be understood), Swedish and English. Many also speak Russian, German, French and/or Japanese.



** Creator/VladimirNabokov was born in an aristocractic family and spoke Russian, French and English at home, he also studied at Trinity College, Cambridge. He spent the first part of his career as an emigre writing in Russian, and remarkably made the transition to writing in English for the second part of his career. Nabokov boasted that this put him one over Conrad, who never wrote books in his native languages, whereas Nabokov wrote accomplished works in both Russian ''and'' English.

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** Creator/VladimirNabokov was born in an aristocractic aristocratic family and spoke Russian, French and English at home, he also studied at Trinity College, Cambridge. He spent the first part of his career as an emigre writing in Russian, and remarkably made the transition to writing in English for the second part of his career. Nabokov boasted that this put him one over Conrad, who never wrote books in his native languages, whereas Nabokov wrote accomplished works in both Russian ''and'' English.



* In film history, cinema being an international language occassionally leads to film-makers working in different national cinemas:

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* In film history, cinema being an international language occassionally occasionally leads to film-makers working in different national cinemas:
13th Oct '17 12:27:01 PM BeerBaron
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** Also from the backstory, the [[LongDeadBadass ancient]] [[FounderOfTheKingdom King]] Ysgramor is credited with creating the old Nordic Runic writing system, said to be the first written language of Men in Tamriel based on Atmoran and [[ClassicalTongue Aldmeri (Elven)]] linguistic principles.
6th Aug '17 8:33:53 PM Adept
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* ''Manga/YakitateJapan'' has Pierrot, a world-class clown, who can speak in 135 languages and, as such, is able to communicate to all the participants of the Monaco Cup, who came from all around the globe.
30th Jul '17 12:01:00 AM kjnoren
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* ''Film/WonderWoman'': By her own words Diana understands [[{{Omniglot}} hundreds of languages]]. The British council had a hard time looking over Dr. Poison's notebook because it was written in two different scripts and they couldn't even tell what language it was. Diana glanced at it and identified both languages and ended up translating for them.

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* ''Film/WonderWoman'': By her own words Diana understands [[{{Omniglot}} hundreds of languages]]. The British council had a hard time looking over Dr. Poison's notebook because it was written in two different scripts and they couldn't even tell what language it was. Diana glanced Sameer combines skills with at it and identified both least four languages with being an effective ConMan and ended up translating for them.actor.
27th Jun '17 5:18:56 PM nombretomado
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* On an individual level, few can compete with UsefulNotes/{{Israel}}'s first ambassador to the UsefulNotes/UnitedNations and third foreign minister, Abba Eban. A South African of English and Dutch Jewish descent raised in the UK, Eban spoke no fewer than ''ten'' languages according to TheOtherWiki. He knew Arabic--''Arabic''!--well enough to produce a good translation of at least one classic of modern Arabic literature into Hebrew, spoke English better than anyone Henry Kissinger had ever seen, and is reported to have had an impressive command of Hebrew, as well.

to:

* On an individual level, few can compete with UsefulNotes/{{Israel}}'s first ambassador to the UsefulNotes/UnitedNations and third foreign minister, Abba Eban. A South African of English and Dutch Jewish descent raised in the UK, Eban spoke no fewer than ''ten'' languages according to TheOtherWiki.Wiki/TheOtherWiki. He knew Arabic--''Arabic''!--well enough to produce a good translation of at least one classic of modern Arabic literature into Hebrew, spoke English better than anyone Henry Kissinger had ever seen, and is reported to have had an impressive command of Hebrew, as well.
25th Jun '17 5:04:33 PM DirtyHarry44Magnum
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* Corporal Garrett in ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonorVanguard'' understands German, this allows him to translate what the German Soldiers are saying in the mission, 'A Shallow Grave'.
23rd Jun '17 7:04:01 AM bobwolf
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* ''Film/WonderWoman'': By her own words Diana understands [[{{Omniglot}} hundreds of languages]]. The British council had a hard time looking over Dr. Poison's notebook because it was written in two different scripts and they couldn't even tell what language it was. Diana glanced at it and identified both languages and ended up translating for them.
5th Jun '17 6:21:28 AM SteveMB
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--> '''Batman''': (in Kasnian) I can...and you will.

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--> '''Batman''': (in Kasnian) [[BilingualBackfire I can...can]]... [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique and you will.will]].
22nd May '17 8:41:41 AM Nargle-Girl
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*Ioannis Ikonomou, a translator for the European Commission, speaks 32 languages fluently, his favorite of which is Chinese.
11th May '17 11:47:04 AM MasterFuzzy
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** Note Benny Lewis's shirt actually says "[[TitleDrop Cunning Linguist]]", [[InsistentTerminology despite the fact that other times he calls himself a polyglot.]]

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** Note Benny Lewis's shirt actually says "[[TitleDrop Cunning Linguist]]", [[InsistentTerminology despite the fact that other times he calls himself a polyglot.]]]] This is actually TruthInTelevision (see RealLife below).


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* It should, however, be noted that many linguists in RealLife do not speak all that many languages, and are ''not'' an {{Omniglot}}. They learn to understand how foreign languages work, but this does not mean that they are fluent in all of them. For example, they may have a comprehensive knowledge of Hebrew phonology[[note]]the system of sound patterns in language[[/note]] without being able to hold even a simple conversation in Hebrew.
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