History Main / CunningLinguist

20th Mar '17 7:48:36 PM eowynjedi
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* The first ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' novel has the title character's ship sent to prop up a Nicaraguan rebellion largely because he knows Spanish. He's also the captain assigned to lead a joint operation between British and Spanish forces in Spain for the same reason. (Both ventures are miserable flops for various reasons.) Interestingly, his French is said to be poor in these books until he overwinters in a French household, but stories set earlier in his career have him quite fluent and establish that he learned it from an expatriate tutor as a boy--evidently as his service took him hither and thither, his French skills rusted and his Spanish (learned later during a two-year spell as a prisoner of war) improved. Because he's trilingual, Hornblower tends to be uncomfortable when he ''does'' confront a language he doesn't know and has to rely on someone else's interpretation skills.



* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': The title character is shown to be fluent in French in the television movies. This causes a BilingualBackfire for a French captain who "secretly" tells his men to wait for his order to attack, and in the earlier films acts as a translator for TheCaptain, who only is shown to speak English. In an interesting play on the trope, he has to interpret between a Spanish officer and Captain Pellew (who only speaks English), but the Spaniard ends up speaking French since Hornblower doesn't know Spanish. He gets the opportunity to learn in the third film when he's held prisoner in Spain with an affable jailer and very little else to do but work his way through ''Don Quixote.''

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* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': The title character is shown to be fluent in French in the television movies. This causes a BilingualBackfire for a French captain who "secretly" tells his men to wait for his order to attack, and in the earlier films acts as a translator for TheCaptain, who only is shown to speak English. In an interesting play on the trope, he has to interpret between a Spanish officer and Captain Pellew (who only speaks English), but the Spaniard ends up speaking French since Hornblower doesn't know Spanish. He gets the opportunity to learn in the third film when he's held prisoner in Spain with an affable jailer and very little else to do but work his way through ''Don Quixote.''Quixote'' using a dictionary.
26th Feb '17 4:46:06 PM nombretomado
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* [[PlayingWithATrope Played With]] in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' when the protagonists enter Klatch. While it is useful that some of them do speak Klatchian, and there is a ShoutOut to ''LawrenceOfArabia'', in one scene the somewhat racist Sgt. Colon, who doesn't speak Klatchian, is able to temporarily fit in, both because he has tanned skin and because his own language, "Morporkian", has become the local ''lingua franca''. It also helped that his (accidental) cover story was as a resident of a Klatchian town whose residents were a byword for stupidity: the locals believed him to be from Ur (also the name of a real city of ancient Mesopotamia) because that's what he said when they asked him.

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* [[PlayingWithATrope Played With]] in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/{{Jingo}}'' when the protagonists enter Klatch. While it is useful that some of them do speak Klatchian, and there is a ShoutOut to ''LawrenceOfArabia'', ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia'', in one scene the somewhat racist Sgt. Colon, who doesn't speak Klatchian, is able to temporarily fit in, both because he has tanned skin and because his own language, "Morporkian", has become the local ''lingua franca''. It also helped that his (accidental) cover story was as a resident of a Klatchian town whose residents were a byword for stupidity: the locals believed him to be from Ur (also the name of a real city of ancient Mesopotamia) because that's what he said when they asked him.



* [[LawrenceOfArabia Thomas E. Lawrence]], who was fluent in Arabic and knew thoroughly the Arab culture.

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* [[LawrenceOfArabia [[Film/LawrenceOfArabia Thomas E. Lawrence]], who was fluent in Arabic and knew thoroughly the Arab culture.
5th Feb '17 2:55:09 PM eowynjedi
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* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': the title character is shown to be fluent in French in the television movies, and in the earlier films acts as a translator for TheCaptain, who only is shown to speak English. He later learns Spanish as well (he was in a Spanish prison, so he had plenty of time and opportunity and little else to do.) Before he learns Spanish, we get an interesting play on the trope when a Spanish officer and [[TheCaptain Captain Pellew]] are having a meeting, and Hornblower has to act as interpreter. Since Hornblower doesn't know Spanish, the Spanish officer speaks French instead for the sake of communication.

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* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': the The title character is shown to be fluent in French in the television movies, movies. This causes a BilingualBackfire for a French captain who "secretly" tells his men to wait for his order to attack, and in the earlier films acts as a translator for TheCaptain, who only is shown to speak English. He later learns Spanish as well (he was in a Spanish prison, so he had plenty of time and opportunity and little else to do.) Before he learns Spanish, we get In an interesting play on the trope when trope, he has to interpret between a Spanish officer and [[TheCaptain Captain Pellew]] are having a meeting, and Hornblower has to act as interpreter. Since Pellew (who only speaks English), but the Spaniard ends up speaking French since Hornblower doesn't know Spanish, Spanish. He gets the Spanish officer speaks French instead for opportunity to learn in the sake of communication.third film when he's held prisoner in Spain with an affable jailer and very little else to do but work his way through ''Don Quixote.''
20th Jan '17 6:49:21 AM Fireblood
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** English is descended from Old Germanic, but mixed with enough French words and Romance grammar to make English and German mutually unintelligible. How easy you find learning another language from the same also to a large extent depends on the differing complexity of the grammar of your native language and the language you're learning. Thus native German-speakers have few problems with the grammar of French or 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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** English is descended from Old Germanic, but mixed with enough French words and Romance grammar to make English and German mutually unintelligible. How easy you find learning another language from the same family also to a large extent depends on the differing complexity of the grammar of your native language and the language you're learning. Thus native German-speakers have few problems with the grammar of French or 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).



** There is also the case that a large number of army linguists in Iraq and Afghanistan today do not know Arabic (Iraq), Pashto, or Dari (Afghanistan). There is some logic to that, since no one expected to be in either place for very long, and never know where they will get sent next. For decades, the most desirable language for military linguists was Russian, for [[UsefulNotes/ColdWar obvious reasons]]. The personnel policies never changed due to, dare say it, [[ObstructiveBureaucrat bureaucratic numbers games.]]

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** There is also the case that a large number of army linguists in Iraq and Afghanistan today do not know Arabic (Iraq), Pashto, or Dari (Afghanistan). There is some logic to that, since no one expected to be in either place for very long, and never know where they will get sent next. For decades, the most desirable language for military linguists was Russian, for [[UsefulNotes/ColdWar obvious reasons]]. The personnel policies never changed due to, dare we say it, [[ObstructiveBureaucrat bureaucratic numbers games.]]



** All Israelis past, say, elementary school speak English well enough to get by. You don’t have to ask people whether or not they speak English in Israel, which some find to be a neat perk.

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** All Israelis past, say, elementary school school, speak English well enough to get by. You don’t have to ask people whether or not they speak English in Israel, which some find to be a neat perk.



** Danish schools have English lessons from the 1st grade, German lessons from the 7th grade, and the option to take another language(depending on the school) during 8-9th grade. Similarly, when entering regular high school, most students have to chose a third language course besides English and Danish, which many either use to further increase their fluency in German or simply learn yet another language.

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** Danish schools have English lessons from the 1st grade, German lessons from the 7th grade, and the option to take another language(depending language (depending on the school) during 8-9th grade. Similarly, when entering regular high school, most students have to chose a third language course besides English and Danish, which many either use to further increase their fluency in German or simply learn yet another language.
26th Dec '16 6:47:41 PM shatterstar
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* Louise Banks from ''Film/{{Arrival}}'' is the foremost expert on linguistics in the USA, and it's the reason she's invited into the research team in order to communicate with the aliens called the Heptapods landed on Earth. [[spoiler:She eventually becomes the only one to crack the heptapods' language enough to rewire her brain into it.]]
18th Dec '16 1:21:54 PM AsForMyHandle
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->''"Wow, [[HerCodeNameWasMarySue Ty-K0]]... our blasters and force abilities were no match for these ancient runes - and you translated them so fast! Yes, mastery of ''language'' is truly the greatest weapon! Here, take this huge pile of credits and rare artifacts!"''

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->''"Wow, [[HerCodeNameWasMarySue Ty-K0]]...Ty-K0... our blasters and force abilities were no match for these ancient runes - and you translated them so fast! Yes, mastery of ''language'' is truly the greatest weapon! Here, take this huge pile of credits and rare artifacts!"''
11th Dec '16 12:24:59 AM Nazetrime
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* 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.
22nd Nov '16 3:20:20 AM Morgenthaler
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* ''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 [[strike:a {{Badass}}]] 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 Ryan. Spends the movie getting his hands dirty and learning to be a soldier, manages to end the movie [[strike:a {{Badass}}]] 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.
13th Nov '16 12:38:49 PM nombretomado
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* Franchise/{{Batman}}, in ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited''.

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* Franchise/{{Batman}}, in ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited''.''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited''.
8th Oct '16 10:12:16 AM SamCurt
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* Aya in the Literature/TanteiTeamKZJikenNote series bears the {{epithet}} of "the Language Expert," after all. While the franchise doesn't have many occasions involving foreign languages (and it'd more than likely to be [[CreatorThumbprint French]] if there is), in those occasions she learns the languages in question—computer languages included—in semi-InstantExpert speed.
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