History Main / CunningLinguist

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.

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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.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.
2nd May '17 12:33:03 PM BeerBaron
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* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', 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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* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
**
In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', your character being a Dragonborn can learn to speak the language of series' backstory, the Dragons, which allows him/her to use powerful language-related abilities. Non-Dragonborn can also learn to speak the language, but do so Maormer (Sea Elves) King Orgnum is served by one of these. When Orgnum met with greater difficulty. The Dragons themselves seem Queen Potema 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
forge their language, while Arngeir only realises alliance in the Dragonborn's lack of fluency when they had to ask what 3rd Era, he was being said during their initiation ceremony.to have a translator who was fluent in all the languages of Tamriel, Pyandonea, [[EndlessWinter Atmora]], and [[{{Wutai}} Akavir]].


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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, 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.
1st May '17 6:13:01 PM TalonsofIceandFire
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* [[RealityIsUnrealistic Easier than it sounds in some parts of the world]]. There are a number of European languages, but with a few exceptions (notably the Finno-Ugric languages Finnish, Hungarian and Estonian, and the singular Basque language) they all belong to a handful of groups belonging to the same language ''family'', Indo-European. Romance languages like French, Spanish and Italian are all descended from Latin, for example. If you're fluent in one language from a particular group of sub-group, achieving a passable familiarity with one or two of the others is relatively easy.
** 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).

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* [[RealityIsUnrealistic Easier than it sounds in some parts of the world]]. There are a number of European languages, but with a few exceptions (notably the Finno-Ugric languages Finnish, Hungarian and Estonian, and the singular Basque language) language isolate Basque) they all belong to a handful of groups belonging to the same language ''family'', Indo-European. Romance languages like French, Spanish and Italian are all descended from Latin, for example. If you're fluent in one language from a particular group of sub-group, achieving a passable familiarity with one or two of the others is relatively easy.
** 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 greatly depends on the differing complexity of the grammar of your native language and the language you're learning. Thus For example, 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).
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.
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