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Lady Christina: You speak the language?
The Doctor: Every language.

Most people find it hard work to achieve native-level fluency in just one foreign language, even when they're a full-time student of it, but characters in stories might speak thirty languages well enough to be mistaken for a native speaker in each. This character might learn the local language fluently just by chatting while playing cards each evening for a few weeks, or perhaps due to having taken evening classes for a month when they were twenty years younger, they are able to win debates on metaphysics in a particular language. At the very least, they read the Genius Book Club books in the original language, even if that language is a dead language.

Sometimes there may be justification for this — perhaps it's a superpower, perhaps the character is immortal (and thus had the time to learn the languages the regular way) or perhaps they had an Upgrade Artifact. Sure, some people genuinely are good at languages, but sometimes it shows a lack of research — the author is not aware that learning a foreign language properly can be quite difficult and time-consuming (perhaps because the author has never properly attempted to learn a second language himself).


This is sometimes introduced via Suddenly Always Knew That; "Whoa, you speak Finnish? Mitä ihmettä? note You never mentioned that!" "You Never Asked."

The fact that young children are better at learning languages than older children, adults, or teenagers makes this trope easier to justify if the character in question was either A) raised in a highly multilingual environment or B) a Child Prodigy who learned languages for fun when they were four years old.

Such a character may be a Cunning Linguist, but that's a character role rather than a trait. This may also be a trait of The Face: they know ten languages instead of fighting styles like The Hero. If the character's fluency in every language is never explained, that's Inexplicable Language Fluency.

Not to be confused with the website Omniglot. Has nothing to do with Extreme Omni-Goat either.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Richard Ranasinghe de Vulpian in The Case Files of Jeweler Richard speaks no fewer than seventeen confirmed languages fluently.
  • L from Death Note can speak enough languages to communicate with police all over the globe. He knows basically everything. He's the three greatest detectives in the world.
  • Lupin III speaks or at least gets by in any language the gang encounters in their heists. This includes several computer languages.
  • Johan from Monster speaks French, German, English, and Czech, and Latin. He learned most of those while still a fairly young child.
  • Kirika Yumura of Noir is supposed to be fluent in multiple languages, presumably so that she could make herself understood in any region she is trying to track down and kill someone in. However, since the anime auto-translates for the viewer, this is an Informed Ability, and the exact languages she knows are never explicitly stated.
  • One of the abilities that a Campione! has is that they pick up and speak any language whatsoever. Kind of boring for the standards of this series, but very useful for the protagonist Godou.
  • Sora in No Game No Life knows a few languages but not enough for this trope. His sister Shiro, on the other hand, knows 18 languages including their classical versions. This is topped by the Flügel Jibril who states to know 700 languages and it's a plot point as well since the fact she has never seen Japanese script confirms the claim of Shiro and Sora that they weren't born in Disboard.
  • Rock from Black Lagoon knows a lot of languages, to the point where you wonder when a simple salaryman like him found the time to study them. Besides his native Japanese and English being the lingua franca of Roanapur, he also translated the Lovelace family creed while Roberta was reciting it in Spanish, he correctly identified the terms of affection that Hansel and Gretel used as Romanian, and he was able to translate Feng Yifei's Mandarin for Revy's benefit. Though it's mentioned at one point he worked in procurement and likely came in contact with several languages.
  • In Cahe Detective Club, Risa reveals that her ability to speak English well is less from being a Gamer Chick and more from having a family that globe-trots from time to time. She also explains she can speak Spanish, Italian, and French.
  • Shuu Tsukiyama from Tokyo Ghoul is prone to gratuitous foreign words, leaving many fans wondering where he even knew what he was saying. However, his father's diary reveals that he's a prodigy that took an interest in foreign languages at a young age because of his father's work. As the heir to an international business conglomerate, it makes sense for him to have a grasp of numerous languages. Besides his native Japanese, he's spoken English, French, Italian, and Spanish. This trope comes into play, however, when he reveals that he's fluent in German when responding to Kanae's Dying Declaration of Love.
  • Fujiwara of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is the daughter of a diplomat, so she's fluent in five languages (the exact languages are never specified outside of Japanese and French, though one of them is probably German due to her love of board games). Ironically, she sucks when it comes to her native Japanese (the official fanbook even lists it as her worst subject) since she spent so much time speaking other languages as a child that her fluency atrophied.
  • Devils in High School D×D have the ability Language, which allows them to verbally communicate in any language. After reincarnating as a devil, Issei finds himself having to make deliberate mistakes in his English classes to avoid suspicion on how he suddenly became fluent.
  • The Pillar Men from Jojos Bizarre Adventure Part II: Battle Tendency can pick up skills and knowledge extremely quickly. This includes language. They only have to listen to a few sentences (and in the case of the stronger and smarter ones a few words) to become fluent.
  • This is a job requirement for shinobi in Tokyo Shinobi Squad. Due to Japan's globalization efforts, Tokyo has become a hub of international business and crime, forcing shinobi to learn multiple languages to get more clients. Jin already knows 23 languages, including Japanese, Thai, Italian, French, German, Tagalog, and Arabic, and his teammate Papillon is implied to know even more.
  • Dragons in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid can learn languages very quickly (though it's not specified if it's due to magic or an inborn talent). Kanna is seen picking up English during a trip to New York City by just listening to people in a crowd talking for a few seconds.

    Comic Books 
  • Getafix in Asterix can speak Latin, proto-Germanic (called Gothic in-universe), and several other languages.
  • This is almost a running gag in Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge comics. No matter where in the world the ducks travel, Scrooge always knows the language there and will explain offhand that he learned it back when he "sold lawnmowers in the Sahara" or some equally implausible feat.
  • In "Lifeboat", from Creepy #34, a genetically engineered "superman" whose brain contains the minds of his entire dying race complains that he can speak "over two hundred and eighty-three languages, but there's no one to talk to."
  • The DCU:
    • Batman, not surprisingly, has mastered quite a few languages. In addition to his native English, he also speaks Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Russian, at least two dialects of Chinese, Latin, Kryptonese (and you thought Latin was a dead language), Urdu, Arabic, Vietnamese and presumably many more.
      • He could not speak Arabic in the continuity of Batman: The Animated Series, however (as seen in the episode "If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?"), and needed to use his portable computer to translate it.
      • David Cain (the father of former Batgirl Cassandra Cain) can say "That's nice. Now get me a Scotch or I'll rip your lungs out" in every Earth-native language in existence.
      • Dick Grayson also speaks many languages including English, some Romani (though mostly from circus slang), French, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, the alien language of Tamaran, and American Sign Language. He is occasionally shown to have trouble reading Japanese though.
      • Tim Drake has demonstrated or claimed at least some proficiency in Spanish, Cantonese, Russian, German and French in addition to his native English by the time he picks up the Red Robin mantle.
      • While spending time in prison, Bane learned six different languages.
    • Lady Blackhawk from Birds of Prey can order beer in thirty languages.
    • Impulse's mom learned English in 8 seconds thanks to super speed.
      • Max Mercury duplicated the trick... mostly... when he was introduced to Impulse's mother. Bart gave him a "speed course" in Interlaq with a few 'errors'.
        Max: I am pleased to meet you. I am Bart's loyal teacher and butthead.
    • The Green Lantern Corps' rings let them speak any language (with extremely rare exceptions when the ring doesn't recognize the language), which is useful, considering that they are something akin to a galactic police force.
    • Drinking water from the Fountain of Youth gave Detective Chimp of Shadowpact this ability, in addition to extreme longevity. He can speak "any language of man, beast, or monster". Since Rex the Wonder Dog has the same origin, and also speaks to humans, he presumably has the same Omniglot ability.
    • Shazam!:
      • In one Golden Age story, a time-traveling Mary Marvel used the Wisdom of Minerva to speak Atlantean. Her arch-enemy, Mad Scientist's Ugly Daughter Georgina Sivana, was also able to speak it just because she's a genius.
      • An issue of the New 52 Shazam! comics shows that apparently Billy in his Shazam form can speak any language, as Billy finds out when fighting a giant robot in Japan — he believes that he got this from "the wisdom of Solomon".
    • Starfire from Teen Titans has the power to learn any language, just by physical contact with a native speaker, but she usually kisses the speaker in question. (During a crossover with X-Men, Nightwing apologizes to Professor X for Starfire kissing Colossus when he mutters to himself in Russian. Nightcrawler's reaction: "Fräulein, sprechen sie Deutsche?") It is unknown how many languages she currently speaks, but it looks like she has the potential to speak... all of them. However, this is a trait of her species, and she still has an "accent" if you call it that.
    • Superman:
      • The Silver Age Superman, by virtue of super-intelligence, being one of his (rarely used) powers. He went and taught himself every language on Earth just because he wanted to be able to talk to anyone he was saving in their native tongue. Speaks a few alien languages, too. It occasionally pops up in modern comics as well. Supergirl as well, upon first arriving on Earth was noticed of learning not only English but several other languages as well... within the span of a month. This continued on to later Superman incarnations, notably Superman speaking fluent Russian in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and to Kong Kenan in Mandarin in New Super-Man.
      • Lex Luthor is fluent in an untold number of languages, thanks to being a genius-level person.
      • The New 52 version of the Silver Banshee can instantly learn any language she hears, which allows her to talk to Supergirl, who can only speak Kryptonian.
    • In several continuities, innate knowledge of all languages on Earth is one of the powers granted to Wonder Woman, and in all continuities, she knows a vast number of languages and is supernaturally good at picking up new ones no matter their planet of origin such as Saturnian and Sangtian.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Captain America can speak English, German, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, French and Italian. There might be even more that he is lingual in.
    • Mark Waid's run on Daredevil features Austin Cao, a client of Matt Murdock's. Austin worked in Language Services at Midas Investments; he speaks 17 languages fluently and another 10 passably.
    • Iron Man: Tony Stark, in addition to English, speaks fluent French, German, Russian, Chinese... That's not counting his armor's translation software.
    • The Mighty Thor: All Asgardians, and probably all deities in the Marvel Universe, can speak every language thanks to a handy little ability called the Allspeak, in which what they say is understood by every species in their own native language. This rather makes sense for a race of gods. After all, it's pretty difficult to tell your followers what to do if they can't understand a word you say.
    • Ultimate Fantastic Four: Namor becomes fluent in English by listening to the Fantastic Four speak to S.H.I.E.L.D. agents for roughly five minutes.
    • X-Men: One of the benefits of having so many telepaths running around the various teams of X-Men is that they've mastered how to hit field operatives with short-duration language programming, mostly by reading the minds of people in the area they're visiting. Examples include teaching Frenzy several local African dialects; programming the entire field team with local customs and languages when they visit a spaceship graveyard in Indonesia; and Cyclops becoming fully fluent in Cantonese for a couple of weeks when the team undertakes a mission in Hong Kong. In earlier comics, Professor X often uses his telepathic powers to teach members new languages as neccesary. For example, Colossus (being a rural Russian farmboy) originally spoke no English, so Xavier telepathically taught him the language, so thoroughly that Piotr speaks with an American accent (minus the occasional smattering of Gratuitous Russian). Similarly, when Piotr's sister Illyana came to stay with the team, Xavier taught her fluent English over the course of a single night by programming it into her brain while she slept and telepathically taught the X-Men to all speak fluent Russian, and when the team went to Japan for Wolverine's wedding to Mariko Yashida, he likewise taught them Japanese.
      • As previously mentioned, Professor X can psychically learn any language by reading the mind of a fluent speaker, so presumably he knows quite a few of them.
      • Kitty Pryde also speaks a wide number of languages. Kitty herself knows fluent royal and standard Shi'ar and has some moderate knowledge of Gaelic, Hebrew, and German.
      • Kitty's Platonic Life Partner Nightcrawler is similarly gifted. Justified in that he spent his youth traveling around Europe as the star performer in a circus and knowing the language of wherever they were that week was very handy. Aside from the Russian and Japanese everyone learned he also speaks German (his native language) English, French (which he also teaches), Spanish, and Italian.
      • Kitty's pet dragon Lockheed knows more languages than Beast, even though everyone treats him as a quote-unquote "starlet's chihuahua", as Abigail Brand put it. He's less a pet dragon as he is from a race of insect-like highly advanced aliens. He now teaches at the Xavier Institute.
      • Wolverine speaks 12 languages fluently and a couple others pretty well, including at least one extraterrestrial language. This is the same man who does not know his own real name and is prone to memory loss. Though he's also over a century old and a world traveler for most of that time, and brainwashing might be involved.
      • Wolverine's Arch-Enemy Sabretooth seems to have this, but possibly to a lesser extent. It's never been stated how many different languages he knows. He's spoken to Omega Red in Russian. Given his many travels there, he may also speak German, and has been shown to be able to fluently converse with Somalians in their native African language.
      • The X-Men spinoff New Mutants features the character Doug Ramsey/'Cypher', whose power is to do this with any language, even if it should have been completely incomprehensible to the human mind. This extends even to raw computer binaries, dead written languages for which no "Rosetta stone" exists, and an alien Starfish Language.
      • As of the Necrosha arc, in which Cypher is resurrected and insane, he became capable of doing this with body language as well. His first reappearance involves him reading all of the unspoken parts of a reunion between the New Mutants and Xavier, and later using it to hand them their asses in a fight. However, this only works when they're of their own minds — when Karma takes control of the entire team, he can no longer predict their moves.
      • Shatterstar, from X-Force, possesses enhanced learning capabilities and mastered Spanish by watching television. He's since been shown to be fluent in at least one other language (German), and probably speaks several others.
  • Skull Island: The Birth of Kong: In this Kong: Skull Island sequel graphic novel, there's Riccio. He already knows multiple languages before he comes in contact with the Iwi, learning their language overnight.
  • In the Star Wars extension comics, according to Han Solo, the warlord Zsinj can swear fluently in nearly 60 languages.

    Fan Works 
  • Earth-27: There are quite a lot of characters who speak multiple languages.
  • The Joker uses this as a weapon in I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC. While torturing the Green Goblin, he orders Lance to teach Gobbie Portuguese and Spanish, the entire language, at once.
  • Father Leo/Ultraman Lugeno from Ultraman Moedari can speak any earth language from any time and a plenitude of alien ones. Madame Kandakai/Ultrawoman Lunaram seems to do the same.
  • In Luminosity, this tends to come with the territory of being an immortal — perfect recall and the time for anything. Notably Bella and Edward cultivated this skill, and Bella passed it on to Elspeth.
    • Quite possibly Aro, and hence Addy, Elspeth, Siobhan, and everyone in range during Helper.
  • In Keepers of the Elements each generation of Keepers is granted this as a secondary ability.
  • The Pony POV Series has Private Running Gag, a member of Shining Armor's team in his Arc. His special talent is languages, and, in a manner similar to Fluttershy's ability to communicate with any animal on first meeting, only needs to hear someone speak in that language once or twice to be able to understand and speak it. This, obviously, makes him a very handy translator to have on a world tour. It also comes in very handy during the Changeling invasion in the Wedding Arc.
  • Zany To The Max:
    • Two words: Sikko Warner. Her ability to speak nearly every language results in lots of Bilingual Backfires. This combined with her voice imitation ability gets played for laughs, like her perfect imitation of Jakko Zarner singing "Wakko's America" in Finnish from "Sikko's Plan." Just don't ask her to translate for Beaker. She doesn't understand his language (and it's the only language she doesn't know).
    • Also, Wikko Warnerpuff, one of the newest students at Acme Looniversity — naturally, being a parody of Bubbles. And she can understand Beaker.
  • Captain Kanril Eleya of Bait and Switch (STO) is fluent in English and several dialects of Bajoran besides her native Kendran dialect. She also had to be conversant in Klingonese and Cardassian to qualify for off-world service when she was in the Bajoran Militia, although she's not fluent: in The Universe Doesn't Cheat, she speaks a few lines in tlhIngan Hol which are described by an onlooker as "accurate, but badly accented".
  • In The Infinite Loops, Fluttershy eventually realizes that anyone who bears an Element of Kindness (currently being her, Silver Spoon, and Chrysalis) gains the ability to speak and understand every language, even those from other Loops.
  • In Latch Key Kids, Beast Boy/Xander can read most ancient languages from his time having to research ancient prophecies and such back in Sunnydale.
  • In The End of All Things, Zach can speak, read, and understand any and all languages he comes across. Justified as it being a gift from Nayru, the Goddess of Wisdom.
  • In The Elements of Friendship, Twilight — who was already bilingual as a result of her father being of German heritage — has learned many languages over the years during her studies, aided by her Eidetic Memory.
  • In The Poker Game, Harry reveals that his Parseltongue ability is actually an aspect of a magical talent called Polyglot which allows him to speak, understand and read any existing language.
  • Ashes of the Past:
    • An Aura trick allows the user to be able to understand Pokémon. For novices, they can usually only understand their own Pokémon (thanks to their bond), but further mastery can allow one to understand all Pokémon. Pokémon can also use Aura to communicate with humans, hence why Lucario are often used as translators. Ash and his many companions use this ability to communicate with their Pokémon, making training and their other misadventures much easier to handle.
    • Molly Hale, as the result of her encounter with Unown, is also capable of communicating with all Pokémon, though she doesn't need Aura for it (in fact, it isn't clear how she's able to do it). Seeing as the incident that granted her this beneficial ability was potentially life-scarring, her parents are rather relieved that this was the only real side-effect.
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse) has Oliver, who knows dozens of languages, and can even speak in different dialects of said languages.
  • A Knight's Tale as Inquisitor provides a justified example through The Protagonist: because of the Mark/Anchor's influence on her current existence, Arturia finds herself knowing languages of countries that never existed in her era on Earth, she's automatically understands and speaks languages of a completely different world (i.e., Thedas).
  • Vigilantes' Dawn: Laurel can speak multiple languages like Oliver. Thus far, it's confirmed she knows Russian and Arabic. As she's had the same training as canon Sara, she may know Cantonese as well.
  • one day at a time: The entire Bat-Family, to the point that when Jason was Batman, he made it a requirement for his children to be fluent in at least three different languages outside of English before they were even allowed to go out in the field. Jason also openly considers the fact that Tim knew "only" five other languages before he died a mark of shame, and in a flashback reveals that he randomly learned Irish just to piss off his frenemy Kyle Rayner.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The Wolf is not only an omniglot thanks to his Gift of Tongues, he can choose to be understood by mutually-exclusive monolingual people as well, such as a Westeros-born warrior and a Nehekharan necrotect, but speaking Dothraki in the presence of that same warrior means he doesn't know what's being said.
  • The Loud House: Revamped: J.D. knows everything from English to Vietnamese.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Atlanteans in Atlantis: The Lost Empire are implied to know every single language in the world in addition to their own (including, but most likely not limited to, English and French). The main character also qualifies. He seems knowledgeable about a lot of languages, converses with the Atlanteans in several, and can read Atlantean just from comparing it to others. Milo justifies it by being a linguist, having studied language almost all his life.
  • The Rankin-Bass version of The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus has Tingler, who can not only speak any human language but animal languages as well. Justified in that he's a Sound Imp, who carry sounds from place to place and thus should be familiar with most any sound creatures are capable of making.
  • Jasmine mentions in Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams that, as a princess, she was taught many languages.
  • In WALL•E, EVE, being a robot, is capable of communicating in various languages. When she first encounters WALL•E , she tries to ask him what his directive is in several languages before finding the one he recognizes: English.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Indiana Jones:
    • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy claims that the Nazis will never find Marcus Brody (who has the Grail diary) because he speaks a dozen languages and can blend in with the natives. Cut to Marcus on a busy market square in the Middle East asking if anyone there happens to speak English...or possibly ancient Greek.
    • Played straight with Indy himself, who speaks English, Spanish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Latin, Chinese, Hindi, Sanskrit, Japanese, Russian, and Quechua, and can apparently understand many more. Canonically it's about 30 languages.
    • This goes back to The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles — Young Indy met T. E. Lawrence, who advised him to learn the language if he's going to spend time in another country, words he obviously took to heart.
    • Indy's Evil Counterpart Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark knows some languages that Indy does not.
      Indy: Too bad the Hovitos don't know you the way I do, Belloq.
      Belloq: Yes, too bad. You could warn them... if only you spoke Hovitos. [turns around and starts giving orders to the Hovitos]
  • Star Wars:
    • C-3PO is a protocol droid fluent in over 6,000,000 forms of communication, and thus acts as an interpreter. This was at first treated as a throwaway character trait just to get Luke's uncle Owen to buy him and thus become a part of Luke's life (not to mention relay what R2-D2 says to others), but Threepio's linguistic abilities eventually become important in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, when the Ewoks see him as a god and he gets their support in defeating the Galactic Empire. He also occasionally proves useful in being able to identify some codes. Despite his abilities, C-3PO is an absolutely horrible interpreter incapable of understanding any allusion or context of the conversation.
    • The protocol droid turned bounty hunter (really!), 4LOM (seen briefly alongside the other bounty hunters in The Empire Strikes Back) is a newer model, fluent in over 7,000,000 forms of communication.
    • Threepio's language database is so expansive that in Vector Prime he's able to translate the language of the Yuuzhan Vong, which initially no non-Vong in the entire galaxy speaks. This is handwaved by the language being similar to that of another alien species. Also, at one point, he actually manages to speak the Sith language.
    • Besides C-3PO and any other droids, Han Solo, besides speaking Basic, can understand Huttese (he's never seen speaking it, but can obviously understand it) and enough Shyriiwook (a Wookiee language) to understand whatever Chewbacca says, resulting in some Bilingual Conversation between the two. Expanded Universe authors expanded Han's repertoire to include fluency in at least half a dozen other languages including Rodian, Selonian, and practically anything else required by the plot.
    • Anakin Skywalker, besides speaking Basic, also spoke Huttese, verbal Binary (droid language), and (after becoming Darth Vader) the Sith language.
    • Rey from The Force Awakens can speak Verbal Binary (the Droid language) fluently, as well having skills at whatever scavenger dialect is spoken at the start of the movie. Notably, Finn can only understand Basic, being able to speak to, but not understand either BB8 or Chewbacca.
  • From The A-Team:
    Face: [after witnessing the very white and very Southern Murdock supposed to be disguised as a Rabbi speak flawless Swahili to an airport security guard] You speak Swahili?
    Murdock: You don't?
  • In the film Carlos based on the life of Carlos the Jackal, the eponymous terrorist speaks flawless Spanish, French, German, English, and Arabic — and that's just what we see; he presumably speaks at least some Russian as well, given that he studied at a university in Moscow. The actor who plays him is also fluent in all of these languages except Arabic and Russian.
  • John Milton in The Devil's Advocate. Which makes sense, considering...
  • Similarly, in The Forbidden Kingdom, a 20th-century kid from L.A. (who happens to be a fan of classic chop-socky movies) lands... literally... in Mythic China. When he first awakens, he can't understand anyone, which proves disconcerting when a group of unpleasant soldiers start yelling orders at him. Jackie Chan's character arrives, defeats the soldiers with Drunken Boxing and tries to talk to our hero.
    20th Century kid: [speaking loudly and slowly] I. Can't. Understand. You.
    Jackie Chan: [speaking in perfectly clear, slightly accented English] That's because you're not LISTENING! [after which point every character starts speaking English]
  • Hans Landa of Inglourious Basterds is a multilingual Nazi capable of speaking in German, French, English, and Italian, and each of these skills becomes a plot point. Christoph Waltz actually does speak German, French, and English, but his Italian is Faux Fluency. Tarantino nearly dropped the project after having difficulty casting the role.
  • Christoph Waltz lends his multilingualism again to the role of Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained. His German allows him to have a conversation with Broomhilda without the others listening in, and his French is used to highlight that Calvin Candie is nowhere near as intelligent or educated as he affects himself to be.
  • X-Men Film Series:
  • According to the doctor narrating in the beginning of Twins, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character (as a experimental result of creating a super baby by combining sperm from six athlete and scholarly fathers) can speak twelve languages along with excelling in all school subjects, physical and spiritual training.
  • Iron Man: Yensin speaks upwards of ten languages, but can't speak Hungarian.
    • Which actually makes a lot of sense. Hungarian is the largest of the Uralic language family, and not closely related to the Indo-European family that most other languages spoken in Europe are in.
  • The Bourne Series: One of the first things Jason Bourne learns about himself after his amnesia is he can speak several different languages including Italian, French, and German.
  • The Boondock Saints: The boys speak multiple languages, apparently because "[their] mother insisted on it."
  • Woman of the Year: Tess Harding speaks several languages fluently during the film.
  • Local Hero. Danny Oldsen knows a ton of them, and Mac basically has to ask him if there's a language he doesn't know.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): Diana says that she and the other Amazons know pretty much every language in existence, and she demonstrates this with several, including Sumerian. Sameer also knows many languages but admits Diana has him beat when he doesn't understand Ancient Greeknote . One of the only languages she doesn't recognize is Blackfoot, which makes sense because that came from the Americas, which the Amazons wouldn't have contacted.
  • Noelle: Santa inherently knows every language in the world. While Nick struggles with this Noelle speaks with a deaf girl in ASL despite having never learned it in the past, understands a little boy speaking Punjabi, then also understands and speaks French.
  • Flynn Carson from The Librarian has the ability to speak/read several languages fluently, including Portuguese and multiple dialects of Egyptian Heiroglyphs. Then in the first movie, he learns the extinct Language of the Birds in just a few hours, to the point where he tells the big bad, "You're up the creek and I have the only paddle" in the Language before translating it into English. Justified in that Flynn had spent his whole life learning a wide variety of subjects. (He'd earned 22 degrees before becoming The Librarian)

  • Lone Wolf: Beyond learning languages the normal way (like the Vassagonian tongue and script during his trip to Barrakesh), the Kai disciplines of Animal Kinship and Camouflage, as well as their respective upgrades, give Lone Wolf access to many languages spoken by creatures of Magnamund.

  • Peter/Akira of Touch is this, stating his own power in-story as that of "Intuitive Linguistics."
  • The science fiction story Omnilingual is not about this trope; it features a group of archaeologists on Mars who discover the ruins of an ancient Martian city and lament that there's no hope of ever finding a "Rosetta Stone" that will allow them to decipher the inscriptions. Then they come across a Martian school, and one of the chemists points out that a particular diagram is clearly a periodic table...
  • Most of Vladimir Nabokov's characters fit this tropes. Humbert Humbert, the main character of Lolita, speaks English, French, Italian and German fluently. And Van Veen from Ada or Ardor speaks even more languages, including Russian. Nabokov was, of course, himself a polyglot, speaking several languages, and is one of the few writers to have composed works of literary merit in two languages (in Nabokov's case, Russian and English, of which the former was his native language).
  • Indiana Jones is said (in Expanded Universe material) to have picked up twenty-seven languages, mainly just by traveling around and talking to people. A book set when Indy is 8 uses this trope as Character Development — when he was in Egypt, Indy met a tall, scary man who sounded practically demonic to him. T.E. Lawrence showed up, told Indy all the man was doing was asking what he was studying, and acted as translator. He then explained to Indy that the first thing you should do when entering a new country is learn the language, which breaks down any barriers you may have.
  • In 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Nemo is fluent in French, English, German, Latin, the constructed language he uses with his crew and probably far more languages.
  • And similarly accomplished is Professor Lidenbrock from Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • From the Discworld books:
    • Rincewind is inexplicably talented with languages, despite not being an excessively intelligent character otherwise. This mainly serves as a plot device which allows him to travel around the Disc without resorting to the use of some sort of Translator Microbes. The justification given for this is that he, a consummate coward, wants to be able to scream for help and be understood in as many places as possible.
      Narrator: Rincewind could scream for mercy in nineteen languages, and just scream in another forty-four.
    • Carrot, as The Chosen One, learns languages unnaturally fast, but not perfectly.
    • Nanny Ogg has a mild form of this ability, in that she can turn any foreign language she hears into a sort of pidgin that just barely manages to get the point across.
    • Tiffany Aching, after A Hat Full of Sky, can understand most languages, especially ancient ones, thanks to the remnant of a wizard's memory stuck in her head.
    • Amber from I Shall Wear Midnight picks up almost any language unbelievably fast.
  • Most male protagonists of a Dan Brown novels. Most notably the guy in Digital Fortress (his being able to speak Spanish was the reason he was sent to Spain that and so his fiance's boss could get him killed). The only exception, strangely enough, is Robert Langdon (you'd think a historian would know a few European languages to be able to read primary historical sources), and his inability to speak French or Italian would go on to bite him in the ass quite a few times. This part being, as is usual in the author, Dan Browned. The character is supposed to speak Spanish so well that he can fake a Burgos accent. But that's like saying someone can speak English so well as to fake a perfect "neutral accent" such as the RP or Midwestern.note  Being able to speak fluently is much easier than speaking with no foreign accent and faking to be raised at Burgos.
  • Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels knows many languages and learns new ones remarkably fast. He might be a parody of this trope, as Gulliver's Travels is partly a parody of improbable travel narratives.
  • Some of Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar characters (the Hawkbrothers particularly) have good relations with dyheli, a species of sentient telepathic deer-like creatures, which will obligingly use their telepathy to pick up languages and put them into people's heads. This grants native-level proficiency in the language. It also causes a headache and the receiver to pass out. How long and how painful this is depends on how many languages the receiver 'gains'.
  • Bean from Ender's Shadow is noted to pick up new languages with incredible ease: after spending just a few months in Thailand, he's nearly fluent in Thai. This is actually somewhat Justified: since his brain is constantly growing new neurons, he is still capable of the intuitive leaps that young children perform in learning their parents' language. By the end of the first book he's taught himself at least five languages and by the end of the fourth speaks at least a dozen.
  • Flashman, in Fraser's works, seems to pick up foreign languages far more easily than can be explained for reasons beyond the requirements of plot. Notable exceptions include Danish and Apache, which he finds impossible to learn even when immersed in the culture.
  • Phedre of Kushiel's Legacy knows thirteen languages by the end of the third book. Some of which she studied as a child, sure, but she picked up a lot more in conversation in the course of traveling through many countries. Her foster-son Imriel is nearly as adept at learning languages.
    • Imriel's a much more realistic example. While Phedre's gift for languages is remarkable to the point that it's lampshaded a few times, Imriel learns to make himself understood in a variety of languages because he spent months in an environment that spoke many different languages interchangeably. After he returns to Terre D'Ange, he rarely uses any language besides D'Angeline, and as a result loses most of what he learned as a child.
    • Moirin sometimes says she finds it difficult to communicate in languages other than her native Alban (fantasy equivalent of Gaelic), but still apparently acquires enough fluency in the local equivalents of Mandarin, Mongolian, Hindi, and Quechua to get along in a surprisingly short time.
  • Temeraire
    • Most dragons in his world learn languages literally before hatching, but the titular dragon and other Celestials continue to absorb languages like a sponge even after reaching their full growth. Temeraire can pick up and speak a language to something approaching a basic level after spending only a few days around it, allowing him to act as a translator in his and his retinue's many globetrotting adventures in addition to being, you know, a flying death machine.
    • The wanderer Tharkay, while lacking draconic natural advantages, has demonstrated good to excellent knowledge of Cantonese, Mandarin, multiple Turkic languages, and even Durzagh, the language of a wild dragon tribe in the Tien Shan mountains that has click consonants and is designed for draconic vocal tracts and not human ones.
  • Ayla from Earth's Children can learn a new language in approximately a week.
    • And let's not forget she can also talk to birds, well enough for actual birds to be confused and think she is one. Those are some adaptive vocal cords.
  • Evan Tanner, the "sort-of" spy in Lawrence Block's The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep series, had his "sleep center" destroyed by a piece of shrapnel in the Korean War. This means he never has to sleep again, so he learns as many languages as he can through Berlitz tapes (to help with his globe-trotting espionage activities.)
  • The eponymous character of Baudolino is able to learn any language incredibly quickly.
  • Conan the Barbarian speaks at least a dozen languages, and can read most of them. Pretty good for a barbarian.
  • Doc Savage, according to Philip José Farmer, was willing to bet that he could identify any tongue spoken on Earth; he was fluent in fifty languages and passable in another hundred — in other words, virtually all of the "living languages" (those still native to and spoken by a significant number of people in daily life). Those few he doesn't know he picks up freakishly fast.
    • Savage's cousin (again, according to Farmer) Tarzan can barely speak English in the movies; thus, most people who saw the pictures first are surprised to learn that in the books he speaks a variety of languages, including at least one non-human one (Ape or "Mangani" — his "native tongue"). His talent in this area may exceed Doc's; by the end of the second book, after only a year or so around other humans he has mastered French, English, Arabic, and the language of his adopted African tribe, Waziri, roughly in that order.
  • The People of the Artemis Fowl books are capable of speaking any language, including those of non-human species (such as dogs). This is explained as due to a combination of magic and the fact that every language is apparently descended from Gnommish (the fairy language).
  • The latest depiction of Thrawn, in Outbound Flight, has him learning Basic very, very quickly by taking lessons from a human who shares a trade language with him. The human is slightly alarmed by his progress. He tries to teach the human the Chiss language at the same time, but this works less well due to its complexity. "You are a fishing boat?"
    • The fishing boat example isn't due to the complexity of the language, but the fact that most speakers of Basic don't know how to make that soft (unaspirated) "p" sound. Presumably Basic, like English, usually has a puff of air accompany the "p" sound. This isn't part of the language but simply how it's spoken. The Chiss language, however, uses both as different phonemes.note  Car'das was so used to Basic that, try as he might, he couldn't make that soft "p" when the language called for it.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Barty Crouch, Sr. allegedly speaks over 200 languages, including Gobbledegook, Mermish and Troll (though Fred and George claim all this involves is pointing and grunting). Granted, we hear this from Percy, who hero-worships him.
    • Dumbledore can apparently speak Mermish, Gobbledegook and possibly Parseltongue, given the memories seen in the sixth book. The latter is usually an inborn trait that Dumbledore would not apparently have, but we know from Ron that people can at least understand certain words enough to imitate them.
  • In the Left Behind series, Nicholai Carpathia speaks nine languages and insists on using them all at every opportunity. The former is justified because he's the Antichrist. The latter is just unnecessary.
  • Stephen Maturin of the Aubrey-Maturin series can speak English, French, Spanish, Catalan and Latin fluently. He can speak Ancient Greek and Portuguese well, though of the latter he says in one of the later books that he has trouble with pronunciation. Over the course of the books he learns Urdu, Arabic and Malay, as well as picking up some Polynesian, Turkish and Berber. His cradle tongue was Irish, but by 15 he had forgotten it; by the second book he can subconsciously understand the Irish-speaking mutineers, and by the fourth he is writing political propaganda. In the rest of the books, he is fluent again.
  • The protagonist of Brazilian novel O Homem Que Matou Getulio Vargas (released in English as Twelve Fingers) learns many languages before becoming a teenager due to being raised on a traveling circus.
  • In The Jungle Book, Mowgli — and by extension his teacher Baloo — know all the languages of all the creatures of the jungle. Baloo knows them because he's old, wise, and accepted everywhere, and he teaches Mowgli them because being a "mancub" means that nobody will accept his presence at all unless he learns their language. Mowgli eventually one-ups Baloo by adding the Indian human tongue to his list.
  • Kellhus of Second Apocalypse has a perfect memory, above-genius level intellect, and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. It's no surprise that he learns new languages in about a week, just from talking with people who speak it. He even became fluent in the ancient language of magic in two weeks—which took his genius teacher six months to learn the grammar.
  • Tirla of Anne McCaffrey's Pegasus series has a Talent for communication that she used to survive in the slums as a messenger. At one point, it's mentioned that she can speak 93 languages like a native.
  • Norse and Teutonic folk hero Sigurd/Siegfried gained the ability to understand the language of birds after drinking the blood of the dragon Fafnir. Dragons being masters of language is a common power in western mythology.
  • In John Grisham's The Firm, Mitchell's brother, Ray, has a natural affinity for languages, and is using the immense free time he has in prison to learn several new ones.
  • The Travelers in The Pendragon Adventure are truly omnilingual. From ten (or seven, depending on how you see it) different worlds. Of course, it is done in a rather unique way: they hear all languages as their own, and they speak their own language but it is somehow transformed into whatever language the person they're speaking with can understand. It is explained that this is possible because the Travelers are incarnated spirits from the collective souls of humanity so they can subconsciously use the energy of the collective to power some magic translation mechanic.
  • In Andrei Belyanin's Tsar Gorokh's Detective Agency books, the eponymous tsar is fluent in the language of any nation with which his tsardom has diplomatic relations (English, French, Italian, German, Polish, Finnish, Swedish, Tatar, and Persian). When the amazed modern-day protagonist calls him a "polyglot", the tsar is offended, being unfamiliar with the term. Then he waves it off, saying it's a requirement of his position. Apparently, they've never heard of interpreters. When he later marries an Austrian princess, his speech to her is filled with both Russian and German phrases, mostly of amorous nature. In a later book, he receives a Japanese delegation, and starts peppering his speech with Japanese words.
  • The Shadow speaks and reads whatever language is necessary for that adventure, fluently, including Chinese, Italian, Turkish, and Russian.
  • The Sartan and Patryns from The Death Gate Cycle have the ability to learn languages instantly with their magic; this leads to a scene in the fourth book where Patryn Anti-Hero Haplo is dipped in magic nullifying water and loses all languages apart from his native tongue — and then instantly gets them back when he dries out, much to the amazement of the locals who'd rescued him.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories tale "The Butterfly That Stamped"
    Narrator: Suleiman-bin-Daoud was wise. He understood what the beasts said, what the birds said, what the fishes said, and what the insects said. He understood what the rocks said deep under the earth when they bowed in towards each other and groaned; and he understood what the trees said when they rustled in the middle of the morning. He understood everything, from the bishop on the bench to the hyssop on the wall.
  • Mars, the Incarnation of War, in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series. There aren't any language barriers when it comes to War.
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Diana speaks English, Bulgarian and Greek in the story and mentions she speaks every language on Earth.
  • In the Xanth cycle we have the friends pair Dor the Magician, who can speak to inanimate objects (endowing them with intelligence, cunning and bad humor) and Grundy the Golem, a rag doll that speaks any living language. Good Magician Humphrey supposedly knows every language dead or spoken, but rarely bothers to show.
  • In Time Enough for Love Lazarus Long claims that he can usually tack on a new language in a week, but refuses to do business with the Howards in any language but mid-20th century American English, which the Chairman learns in two days. Suggesting that it's a common trait for people who've lived multiple centuries.
  • The Star Trek novel A Singular Destiny introduces Sonek Pran. As he's a respected scholar and political analyst, we might expect him to know a few prominent languages, certainly more than the usual. But when it’s revealed he can speak perfect Lissepian (the Lissepians being a reasonably well-known trading culture but nothing special), he definitely crosses into Omniglot territory.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Some instances of this trope have popped up. The Vigilantes all speak English for starters. Kathryn Lucas reveals in the first book Weekend Warriors that she knows German (to what extent is not revealed), and she is quite fluent in Spanish. Yoko Akia is quite fluent in Chinese as the book Vendetta shows, Free Fall indicates that she can speak Japanese, but she states in Hide And Seek that she can't speak German, because it's so gutteral and too hard on her tongue. After the book Free Fall, the Vigilantes are required to learn Spanish and German. Despite this, Isabelle Flanders is unable to speak Spanish very well in Cross Roads. The book Fast Track has the Vigilantes finding out that Rena Gold speaks three languages, but they just scoff and one of them says, "Yeah! Fluent in Brooklynese, Southern belle, and kitchey-coo!" Harry Wong apparently knows a lot of languages, but it is never stated what they are or how many he knows, and it seems that he just uses them for cursing and showing that he is beyond furious.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has Missandei, who is specifically taken into Daenerys's court for her skill with languages. Somewhat justified, as Missandei is a child, and children learn languages better than adults, and she has been exposed to many languages in her life.
  • In Lisa Mangum's Hourglass Door trilogy, anyone who uses the eponymous door (a time machine) gains a gift — causing pain, seeing "ripples" in the future, and so on. When the main character, Abby, finally travels back in time, to Italy, she learns that her gift is Language — no need to learn Italian. while this is handy, even more handy is the fact that not only does it apply to "regular" languages, it applies to the language of Time itself.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, Midnight the badger is able to speak Badger, Rabbit, Fox, and a few types of Cat, whereas everything else in the series can only speak in the language of its own species (except for one case where a cat knows a little bit of Dog). Why and how she managed to learn all of these is never explained.
  • Bix in the Dinotopia series, though it may be a natural ability of her subspecies — Protoceratops multilinguous, the translator Protoceratops. She can speak most of the saurian languages on the island and many human as well. The one other translator we meet, Chaz, in Hand of Dinotopia and Dinotopia Lost is the same way.
  • Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess.
  • In Good Omens, Crowley and Aziraphale have universal fluency. Justified, of course, in that they're a demon and an angel, respectively. It would be rather silly (and interfere with their work) for them not to have this ability.
  • One of the earliest things learned about Agaton Sax is that he decided to learn a highly obscure language (less than 100 speakers period) just for the fun of it. Over the course of the first book, he shows at least some proficiency in Swedish (his native language), German (which he would have learned in school, given when the book was written), Graelic (the fictional and aforementioned highly obscure language), Brosnian (a fictional pseudo-Slavic language) and English.
  • Justified with Duncan in the Stardoc series. He has a telepathic ability that allows him to learn languages instantaneously by making physical contact with a native speaker.
  • In the Vanessa Michael Munroe series, Munroe speaks 22 languages as of The Innocent.
  • The Dresden Files: Normally, Harry only speaks one other language (Latin), and not very well. But when Lasciel moves in to his mind, she gives him the ability to understand any language she knows. And she knows all mortal languages, and many immortal ones. She, and this ability, are gone as of 'White Night.
  • Pazel Pathkendle from The Chathrand Voyages goes through periods where he can instantly learn any language after hearing a few words of it, thanks to a spell cast on him years ago by his witch mother to enhance his strongest natural attribute (in this case, learning languages). Unfortunately, at the end of these periods he'll have a "mind fit" that leaves him incapable of using or understanding language at all for several hours. His older sister Neda, affected by the same spell, acquired a perfect memory instead.
  • Taken to its logical extreme in the Young Wizards series. Being proficient in The Speech allows a wizard to hold conversations with literally anything. Humans, aliens, trees, animals, rocks...
  • The 1960s kids' series, Christopher Cool TEEN Agent, established its eponymous hero as one of these from childhood. He spoke French, German, Romani (the language of the "Gypsy" people), Turkish, Swahili, and Apache among others.
  • Omniglot is just one piece of the assigned superpower package for the Angels of Death in Geoph Essex's Lovely Assistant. Less pan-lingual (but more impressive, since she learns languages the hard way) is Carrie Raymond, who her husband describes as a polyglot. She is known to speak English, Latin and flawless Portuguese (leading to an awkward moment!), probably speaks at least some Cantonese and/or Mandarin as well (this may be insinuated from certain plot points), and learns a language that human beings shouldn't even be able to speak! Vincent Raymond himself speaks English, Japanese, and some Spanish.
  • The Seersa race in the Paradox universe were designed to be this, its said that every one of them knows twenty tongues and they developed the Universal language for The Alliance and most of their Pelted kin's original racial languages.
  • Jace from The Mortal Instruments, can speak a lot of languages, thanks to all the training his father put him to. An example is when he speaks to Sebastian in Romanian in City of Glass.
    Jace: De ce crezi ca va ascultam conversatia? (Why do you think I was listening to your conversation?)
    Sebastian: M-ai urmarit de când ai ajuns aici. Nu-mi dau seama daca nu ma placi ori daca esti atât de banuitor cu toata lumea. (You've been watching me since you got here. I can't tell if you don't like me or you're just this suspicious of everyone.)
  • Croaker, physician, historian, annalist, and later, Captain of The Black Company has a gift for languages (including sign language, which he refers to as "finger speak."). This hardly surprising, considering his life as both as a traveling mercenary (requiring him to learn the local tongue, wherever "local" happens to be) and as Company annalist (requiring him to read from the Company's history, meaning he needs to know how to read the older volumes that were written in different/archaic languages). Murgen credits him as speaking twenty languages, but later confesses to have been in awe of Croaker at the time. Some tongues that Croaker speaks are always referred to as dialects, so he may speak a few languages with local variations.
    • In the early books this was a universal trait in the Company, since they moved all over the northern continent (Croaker knew a few more as Archivist and the older members knew more because they started further away). When they were traveling south in Shadow Games they all picked up local languages in a few weeks from their guides.
  • Sunny and her friends in Akata Witch all speak more than two languages. Sunny, Orlu, and Chichi all speak Igbo, English, and Nigerian Pidgin English. Chichi also speaks Efik. Sasha speaks English, French, Spanish, Hausa, Igbo, and Arabic.
  • Kahlan in the Sword of Truth series speaks virtually every language used within the Midlands, thanks her her childhood training as a Confessor, including the languages of various small tribes who are typically unfriendly or homicidal towards outsiders. Partially averted later, as she never bothers to learn High D'Haran so she can help translate all the ancient books of knowledge the heroes keep needing to read.
  • Dime Novel hero Nick Carter can speak a wide variety of languages, including Old Norse.
  • Belisarius is fluent in, at a minimum, Latin, Greek, Ge'ez, Persian, Kushan, and Hindi — the last of which he has to hide for a while, since there was no reasonable explanation for how he could learn to speak it fluently with a native accent in a matter of months. Justified in that his learning is being assisted by an AI from the future.
  • Lu from Murderess is surprised to find out she became this after crossing over to Greywall’d.
  • Journey to Chaos: Zaticana can speak every language that exists as one of her divine authorities. She can bestow this ability on others as a blessing, but it only works for spoken languages. Throwing in the written version would be "too easy".
  • Justin Thyme, in his Many Amazing Tales series, studied many languages in his youth, including archaic and futuristic variants to facilitate his journeys through time.
  • Michael, being Relativity's resident genius, can speak a "plethora" of languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Latin, and Arabic.
  • Practically a running gag with the number of people in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series who know multiple languages. Jamie and Lord John are both fluent in English, French, German, Ancient Greek, and Ancient Latin, though Jamie outdoes him with additional fluency in Gaelic, proficiency in Spanish, and being conversational in Cherokee. Roger is fluent in English, Gaelic, Ancient Greek and Ancient Latin; Ian in English, Gaelic, Mohawk and a few other Indian languages; Jenny in English, Gaelic and French; and Claire in English, French, and limited Gaelic(she understands more than she can speak). Fergus, Marsali and their children are implied to be fluent in English, French(from Fergus) and Gaelic(from Marsali). Inverted with Brianna, who apart from English only speaks Gaelic and what is referred to as "bastard(basic) French".
  • In the Somewhither universe, the language "Ursprache" is the "father of all languages". Anyone who learns the Ursprache gains the ability to understand all languages, including grasping the subtlest semantic nuances much like a native speaker would. Conversely, anyone can likewise understand Ursprache, even feral children who have no concept of language.
  • In Jacek Dukaj's story "Ziemia Chrystusa" ("Christ's Earth"), all scouts dispatched to scope out alternate Earths are hypnotically taught over a thousand various languages. Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the titular world, where Jesus never died but instead ascended to heaven and reigns over humanity, all have the gift of tongues and can speak every language (and keep switching between them.)
  • Robin Goodfellow from the Cal Leandros series speaks — according to his own claim — all the languages in existence, and probably those that are extinct, too. That is justified because he's not human and is old enough to remember the dinosaurs. Basically, he was around before language was invented and picked them up as they came around.
  • Wordwitches in The Witchlands have the ability to speak and understand every language in existence as part of their powerset.
  • In Terra Ignota, Mycroft speaks around seven languages despite that being frowned upon, so he's often recruited for translation work. Being a Child Prodigy verging on Teen Genius, he actually learned them all on his own.
  • Oksa Pollock: Pavel Pollock can speak Russian, French, German, Chinese, Spanish and Swedish. It was implied that his family members are also fluent in many languages because the inhabitans of Edefia have the power to learn every language they want to speak in a few hours.
  • Tchwee from The Great God's War claims to speak "every language" when introducing himself, though he later admits that that was an exaggeration - he's just such a Cunning Linguist that whenever he encounters a language he doesn't speak, he can learn it extremely quickly.
  • In Seekers of the Sky, a Magyar (Hungarian) boy named Peter turns out to be fluent in eight languages: his native Magyar, Romanic (Latin), Gallic (French), Russian, Judaic (Hebrew), Ottoman (Turkish), Germanic, and Iberian (Spanish, Portuguese, or a mix of both). Oh, and he's teaching himself Chinese as well. Results in a moment of Bilingual Backfire, when two characters try to speak privately in Gallic, while Peter is giving them a tour of the city, only for Peter to ask in the same language if they'd like him to step away for a minute.
  • In the Tamuli sequel series to The Elenium, once Emperor Sarabian catches the protagonists alone and drops his Obfuscating Stupidity act, he reveals that his court translator is completely unnecessary and that he's fluent not only in the various languages of the Tamul Empire but also in the Western tongues. He also makes the Blasé Boast that he picked up Elene and the highly irregular Styric language in a matter of weeks.
  • Dragons in Elcenia know every language — even languages from other existences. This is necessary for them to speak Draconic, which is obscenely complicated and constantly shifting, to the point that it is widely considered straight-up impossible to learn.
  • In Rogues of the Republic, Kail knows at least enough to tell you that He Banged Your Mom in every language, even the tongue of the ancients. It's unclear if he can do more than that, but he's at least studied enough to do it flawlessly.
  • In The Fated Sky (Book two of The Lady Astronaut series), it's revealed that Stetson Parker has an ear for languages, and makes it a point to learn every language of the thirteen other astronauts on his voyage to Mars. Due to Elma's late addition to the crew, he does not speak Yiddish, but is eager enough to learn it that he will temporarily bury the hatchet he and Elma bear in order to learn more.
  • Since Nicole doesn't have omniglot powers, she has to point and scream at the Avians to get mana melons. Likewise, to escape the island of New York, she and Richard use a tablet to depict the Avians carrying them across the cylindrical sea, in Rama II. This is an aversion at a time it would be most useful - on an alien zoo.
  • In Renegades, during the tryouts for the eponymous organization, one of the candidates can speak every language in the world. While he's not picked for a superhero team, the council that rules the city does hire him, for obvious reasons.
  • Malena, the heroine of “The Translator”, puts all the other examples on this page to shame. By all reckoning, she appears to have been born with a supernatural ability to fully understand and speak any language perfectly just by hearing some of it, and eventually, just by reading some of it without ever hearing it spoken, being able to learn them as easily as breathing — she is genuinely surprised that others have to put effort into learning even one other language. She has native-level fluency in at least 11 languagesnote  before graduating elementary school, and those are just the 11 named. It is ultimately unclear how many more she learns, since she eventually becomes a shapeshifter and merges with the universe. From there, things get odd.
  • Johannes Cabal and the Fear Institute: Implied when the ghoul leader tells Cabal to speak in any human tongue he wants, since his ghoulish accent is terrible. Subverted with The Reveal that the ghoul is Cabal himself in a Stable Time Loop and therefore knows every language Cabal does.
  • The City of Brass: The Nahid tribe of daeva have the unique ability to understand and become immediately fluent in any language they hear spoken, which reveals the orphan Nahri as a Nahid Blue Blood as soon as she demonstrates it. It's so natural to Nahri that she almost panics when she hears a supernatural language that she can't understand.
  • Agaton Sax: It would be impossible to provide a list of all the languages Agaton Sax speaks, since such a large list would take up all our available server space. It would also be impossible to provide a list of all the languages that he doesn't speak, since that would require us to find a language like that.
  • Vainqueur The Dragon: As said in chapter 2, Monster Squires, technically, with all Monster languages, through their Monster Kin perk:
    you can now talk to and understand any monster, and gain a +20 charisma bonus when interacting with them!
  • In Crosstime Traffic, by the 2090s, brain implants allow people to instantly learn other languages without spending years studying them. This is especially useful for worlds where the language doesn't exist in the home timeline, like Gunpowder Empire, which speaks Neo-Latin (though Classical Latin is also used).
  • Nanako Tsujimura is known for writing characters who can speak an unrealistic number of languages.
  • The Scholomance: Those on the incantations track are required to learn many languages in order to build a strong spell list for graduation. Main protagonist El, who is on the incantations track, already knew four languages before she even entered the school at age fourteennote . She learned another two to a respectable level by the end of her sophomore year, and by the start of the series is actively learning five more, several of which are dead languages.
  • Doctor Dolittle, unlike what some may believe, has no special ability to speak animal language. His parrot taught him a large number of different languages, and the Doctor still spends time learning more if needed.
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society:
    • George "Sticky" Washington is able to read numerous languages, but has trouble actually speaking anything besides English. In The Perilous Journey, the Society encounters a man that they need to ask how to get to the train station, who speaks Portuguese. Sticky hands him a note written in Portuguese, only for them to discover that he can't read and doesn't speak English. Reynie, however, speaks rudimentary Spanish and as the man does too, this is enough to get them what they need.
    • Like Sticky, Mr. Nicholas Benedict is able to pick up on languages from reading them in books and from context clues. In the prequel book, The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict, he meets a girl and comes to the realization that she is deaf. When he meets her the next day, he communicates with her using sign language learned from a book he read the night before. She is astonished and is sure he is somehow pranking her until she realizes that as the conversation continues he is fluently using signs that wouldn't be in any book because they're personal signs she normally uses only with her own family.

    Live-Action TV 
  • It's hard to think of a language referenced in 3rd Rock from the Sun that Dick Solomon didn't know, and yet he misunderstood so many words and concepts in English.
    • Tommy apparently matches his skill handling a quiz on obscure topics responding in whatever language Dick asks him in.
  • Alias: Sydney Bristow can speak every language that is plot important, but it's never stated how many languages she can speak. The fandom wiki has reported her speaking 25 languages.
  • Anna in the fourth episode of Alphas has the power to understand every language, but due to a severe case of apraxia, she relies on computer programs for her ability to actually "speak" them.
  • Angel, though not a professional scholar, is also heavily multilingual, well versed in both human and demonic tongues. As a vampire born in 1727 and having lived in most of Europe and the U.S., he presumably has had plenty of time to learn.
    • Wesley's proficiency with languages is expanded upon even further once he makes the transition from Buffy to Angel. It's extremely rare to come across a language (human or demon) that Wes doesn't know. Even when he encounters the most ancient and obscure texts, he's still capable of recognizing enough words to determine the context and decipher the meaning.
    • Gunn as well, though justified due to his brain upgrade.
    • Jasmine is all but shown to be fluent in every language spoken, with her speaking English, Spanish, and Mandarin on screen, and casually stating that her being a fallen Power That Was allowed her to master spoken tongue.
  • On The A-Team Murdock can apparently speak several languages including Spanish, German, Vietnamese, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin Chinese. He can also speak Italian, but it quickly strays into My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels territory.
    Murdock: What can I say? One day I had a gonzo headache and before it went away I could read and speak Chinese. And it was a bad afternoon, too, lemme tell you.
  • In Betty en NY, Betty can speak five languages (including English and Spanish), however, she has a hard time finding a job due to her nerdy appearance.
  • In The Big Bang Theory:
    • Howard Wolowitz knows sign language, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Farsi, French, Klingon, and is implied to know many more. Although it may be an attempt to look sexy, as the waiter of a Chinese restaurant describes him as 'the one who thinks he speaks Mandarin.'
    • Sheldon Cooper reportedly speaks English, Klingon, Swedish, Finnish, Hindi, and Mandarin (very badly). Justified as he finds learning a language a more palatable activity than, to say, speaking to people.
  • Temperance Brennan on Bones said in one episode that spoke eight languages and was fluent in six. Possibly partly justified since she’s an anthropologist, but it’s still a lot.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Dawn Summers somehow found the time to learn at least Turkish and Sumerian(!) off-screen in a matter of months. Not many languages, true, but pretty impressive.
    • Somewhat more expansively, any Watcher (including Giles and Wesley) may be assumed to know an arbitrarily large number of ancient and demonic languages.
    • Andrew Wells is good at speaking demon languages as well as summoning them.
    • The introductory scene of the Season 5 Big Bad Glory has her effortlessly changing from Czech to English in mid-sentence. She can speak demon languages too, and it's implied any other language as well, as she's a Physical God.
  • Burn Notice has Michael able to speak pretty much any language the baddies of the week speak, except Spanish, which earns him ridicule from Fiona, as it's the most useful auxiliary language to know when living in Miami and that's where he lived during his childhood. And his Urdu's a little rusty, leading to a My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels moment in a first-season episode. Justified in that he's a former spy, and his assignments over the world required knowledge of various foreign languages to sell his cover I.Ds. In one episode, he pretends to be an ex-KGB agent trying to recruit a South American communist sympathizer. Naturally, he uses Russian, with the fact that neither of them is a native Russian hiding his American accent. However, the sympathizer's Russian is a little rusty, so he asks if they can switch to Spanish. Cue Michael's horrified expression, but he manages to recover by asking to switch to English, which the other man knows as well.
  • When the cast was running after a couple of suspects in Chinatown, the eponymous character of Castle revealed that he could speak Chinese, apparently fluently, as he talks to a pair of terrified bystanders. When asked, he claims to have learned it from a TV show he used to love.
    • Beckett can understand Russian, having spent several months as an exchange student in Ukraine. She never speaks it on the show, though, and instead goes with Just a Stupid Accent. Note that Stana Katic, who plays Beckett, can speak 5 languages: Serbian, Croatian, French, English and Italian; and can do the accents in British, Irish, Eastern European, Italian, Spanish, Greek, and South African.
  • Charmed (1998): Whitelighters are apparently fluent in whatever language(s) their charges speak. When Piper and Leo magically Swap Roles she's surprised to find herself suddenly speaking French.
  • Chuck's Intersect contains several languages which he can speak (after flashing on them).
    • Like all his Intersect 2.0 skills, it lasts only a few minutes.
    • Played more straight with Sarah, whose repertoire at minimum contains fluent German, Russian, and Polish. Possibly French too.
  • Annie Walker, the protagonist of Covert Affairs, was recruited into the CIA in no small part due to her skill with languages. The show never actually says how many languages she is fluent in, probably so that they can have her be fluent in whatever language is necessary for the plot that week. The implication, though, is that she can pick up new languages very quickly when needed.
    • In the pilot, she is sent to meet a Russian man at a hotel. The guy starts hitting on her, using Russian-sounding diminutives on her. Except she quickly figures out they're not Russian. She checks with her linguistics professor who confirms that they are, in fact, from one of the Baltic countries. This is a clue that the guy she met wasn't the Russian man she was supposed to meet.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • It started out simply enough with Elle in the first two seasons, who speaks English and Spanish.
    • Elle's replacement, Emily Prentiss, is the daughter of diplomats and spent her childhood moving around Europe. Throughout her tenure, she demonstrated familiarity with Russian, Spanish, French, and enough Arabic to identify its accent (Egyptian, though she was not shown to actually speak it, she was brought on as a translator in case the terrorist they were interviewing switched to his native language).
    • Then there's Prentiss's replacement, linguist Alex Blake. Though she only demonstrates English and American Sign Language, she's shown to at least understand written French (and recognize the dialect as creole, rather than just French) and German and the International Phonetic Alphabet. Her academic focus seems to be more on English itself, though the one class we see her teaching has her discussing variation and pidgin languages.
    • Early Installment Weirdness has Reid explicitly unable to read Russian, while a later episode states that he "reread War and Peace in the original Russian" before breakfast. He's also been shown to speak it, along with French, Korean (he offered to do a "simultaneous whisper-translation" for an un-dubbed film festival), and Yoruba (a Nigerian language), the last of which surprises even an FBI translator (who doesn't seem to speak it herself).
  • Meanwhile, the spinoff, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, which focuses on international travel has their own linguist who speaks... three languages. She and the rest of the team tend to rely on the locals speaking English.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Although the TARDIS automatically translates languages, the Doctor is shown to speak alien languages without the TARDIS as well, including Judoon in "The Stolen Earth", English in "The Three Doctors" (when the TARDIS was temporarily in another universe), and even an obscure language that is "spoken" by the movement of eyebrows. Justified by having had several centuries to learn. A language that was older than the Time Lords, however, was indecipherable to them. In "Planet of the Dead", the Tenth Doctor tells his companion that he speaks "every language". Considering that he was cut off from the TARDIS and chatting with a giant fly at the time, there's no reason to doubt him. In "The Enemy of the World", the Second Doctor says it's going to take him a while to learn a new language in order to impersonate Salamander (presumably Spanish). The Doctor knows a few Sycoraxic insults in "The Christmas Invasion".
    • The Judoon are examples of this trope. In their first appearance, their commanding officer barks orders in their language, records an utterance from one of the medical staff using a device, and plugs it into his armor; he then spends the episode speaking in fluent "Earth English".
    • In the parody special The Curse of Fatal Death, both the Doctor and the Master are shown to be able to speak a language spoken entirely by the modulated passing of wind. This episode, however, is not canon, even though it was written by eventual showrunner Steven Moffat.
    • The Eleventh Doctor even speaks baby. As in, he understands what a baby is trying to say when it gurgles.
      The Doctor: And really, you should call her "mummy" not "big milk thing".
    • This joke continues with Eleven being able to speak horse. He must have learned both Baby and Horse at some point before that incarnation since Nine and Ten spoke to a baby Rose, several cats and a horse from pre-revolutionary France lost on a spaceship.
    • Somewhere along the line, they even picked up Tyrannosaurus rex(!), as the Twelfth Doctor was able to understand one almost immediately after his regeneration.
  • Dollhouse: Due to the multitude of personalities that are downloaded into Echo's consciousness, it's not surprising when she speaks mostly in Spanish in one episode to gain the trust of an abused female immigrant, which she does freely even in the presence of the police guards since they can't understand what they're saying. One of her personalities is a Russian girl, so she knows that language as well (although the actress is pretty bad at it).
  • Doogie Howser, M.D. once picked up the basics of the Hmong language in a single half-hour episode, while treating a Hmong patient and conversing with the patient's relatives.
  • Sikozu of Farscape can apparently learn to understand a new language over the course of a single conversation. Of course, it helps that everyone around her has Translator Microbes, so she doesn't have to actually learn to speak any of the languages and can direct people (in her own language) about what to say to help her understand them... This skill is necessary for her, as she has an allergic reaction to the microbes and can't take the easy way out, being a bioloid. Other members of her species can understand unfamiliar languages as easily as everyone else.
  • Heroes has a character named Traveler who has this very power. Only it's not limited to any spoken language, but hand signs and animals as well.
  • Dr. House speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Japanese, Hebrew, and Hindi. He probably also knows quite a bit of Dutch — his family is originally from the Netherlands and he calls his grandmother "Oma". Though he can't speak much of Mandarin, he can only count to ten, say hello and say "your daughter is pregnant." The Japanese is justified — his father was in the military and he spent part of his childhood on Okinawa. He can also ask if one's sister is of legal age in Korean. He could also correctly guess that Chase's father is of Czech origin just from his accent. Joked about by other characters: "Do you actually speak six languages, or were you betting on never being interviewed by someone who does?"
  • Barney Stinson in How I Met Your Mother seems to randomly know a number of languages including Korean, Mandarin, Latin, French, and possibly others. He's said to speak Ukrainian to his tailor, but it is in fact Russian.
  • John Doe: John Doe can speak and understand any human language, but that's part of his Omniscient Hero power. This becomes a plot point in one episode, when this episode's Big Bad is talking to someone in Farsi, thinking that no one around him understands the language. Doe not only understands it but also knows that the phrase "Bedouin Prince" refers to a ship.
  • Law & Order's Ed Green can speak English, Spanish, French, and "enough Russian to get a date". It's unclear if he's fluent in French, however, and this is partially explained by the fact that he moved around a lot as a young child, sometimes living in French-speaking African countries.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent's Detective Serena Stevens is said to be a "linguistic savant". Largely an Informed Ability; in her entire (admittedly short) run on the show, she uses the skill exactly once, in her first episode.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit's Olivia Benson speaks English, Italian, some Spanish and French, and is able to read the Miranda warnings in at least two other languages. In one episode, without being able to hear her, Fin knew she was speaking Italian to a European colleague thanks to the Italians Talk with Hands trope.
  • Legion (2017): Amal Farouk, who claims to have lived for thousands of years, peppers his speech with a variety of languages, though he speaks English with a French accent and seems to prefer French. The actor Navid Negahban is himself fluent in four languages, though ironically only began learning French for the role.
  • Lost
    • Mikhail Bakunin is said to speak nine languages, including English, Russian and Korean, and presumably Latin, like most of the Others.
    • Charlotte says she knows Klingon along with English and Korean.
    • Jacob is fluent in (at least) Latin (his mother tongue), English, Russian, Korean and presumably other languages as well.
    • While interrogating Sayid, Rousseau has at least some degree of knowledge in several languages. She's from France and is also fluent in English.
  • In Lucifer (2016), the title character can speak every language; he can't read them all, though, as he thought speaking was more useful. When they find a book written in ancient Mesopotamian, he needs his brother Amenadiel to translate it.
  • The characters in Mission: Impossible often traveled to various made-up Eastern European countries, where they never had any trouble communicating with the local bad guys. On the show, all the foreigners spoke English with Just a Stupid Accent, but by all appearances, this is just the Translation Convention, and our heroes are "really" speaking dozens of Eastern European languages flawlessly.
  • Monk's brother Ambrose is shown in his first appearance to be able to at least read and write dozens of languages and speak at least English and Mandarin. Justified in that he's got extreme agoraphobia and is pretty much unable to leave the house, so he learned the languages in order to pass the time. He uses this skill to write instruction manuals.
  • Ziva David from NCIS speaks ten languages. However, she suffers from severe Blunt Metaphors Trauma when speaking English, and presumably any language other than her native Hebrew. The identified languages are: English, Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic, Turkish, French, Pashto (which she refers to as "language number 7"), German, Italian, Russian, and language of love. Neither the actress (Cote de Pablo, born in Chile) nor the writers speak Hebrew, so this trope is probably the reason Ziva almost never speaks a line of her native language.
  • Callen from NCIS: Los Angeles. Highlighted in a dialogue with another agent in which they repeatedly change languages. His partner Sam is no slouch either.
  • Person of Interest: Reese speaks at least four languages (English, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish).
  • The shorted lived British Sitcom A Prince Among Men has Gary's wife Lisel, who can speak in German and enough English to be able to work as a German to English translator. There is also mention of her knowing French, and some Japanese words.
  • Chuck from Pushing Daisies is a passionate student of language, speaking French, Japanese and Mandarin (though her grasp of the latter is 'rusty'), and probably others.
  • Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap speaks seven modern languages and four dead ones (Including Egyptian hieroglyphs). Interestingly enough, the languages he didn't speak (such as Italian or Hebrew) tended to be plot points more than the ones he did.
  • In The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, Passepartout is a subversion of this. As Fogg puts it: "He speaks fourteen languages. All of them badly."
  • Marguerite from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World has a talent for languages and can communicate with many different people. A conversation with Malone reveals that it's an innate talent she does not understand.
  • Michelle from Skins is shown to speak fairly fluent French and Spanish. She's also the only one to laugh at a disparaging comment made about Sid in Italian.
  • Stargate SG-1: Towards the start of the show in the episode "1969", Daniel states he can speak 23 languages. Throughout the show, he picks up new languages across the universe, including non-human languages such as Ancient and Unas. This stems from the film, where Daniel learns the language of Abydos after realising that their language is based on Ancient Egyptian. He was already fluent in the consonants, which is all that Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics records; he just needed to learn how to pronounce the vowels.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In an early episode when Riker considers a promotion to captain of his own ship, Picard informs him his first officer is known for his command of over 40 languages.
    • Presumably, Data can speak several languages and can learn one simply by flipping through a dictionary, though this is never used thanks to the Universal Translator... until someone needs to learn sign language on short notice. Which he does. (Well, the character did. His actor... not so much.)
  • Star Trek: Voyager ("Hope and Fear"). Captain Janeway encounters an alien whose species has a natural aptitude for languages (he knows over 4000). And not just natural languages, a bit later he decodes and falsifies an encrypted datastream in his head, despite Voyager having spent weeks trying to break it with powerful computers.
    Neelix: I was trying to negotiate with a Xenon-based life-form when the Universal Translator went off-line. Arturis here stepped in and acted as a perfect go-between — and he'd never heard either of our languages!
  • Hoshi from Star Trek: Enterprise can speak 40 plus languages. This is justified in one episode where a telepathic alien notes that she has an unusual mind which is hardwired to understand languages. Hoshi eventually programs the early Universal Translator that the later series take for granted.
  • In Star Trek: Discovery, Saru reveals that being the first and only Kelpien in Starfleet, he strove to distinguish himself and thus taught himself over 90 languages. He was previously shown to be extremely capable of learning new things when he took apart an advanced piece of tech and built a subspace communicator with it while having the education level of a pre-industrial society.
  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: In "Children of the Comet", Uhura reveals at the dinner party that she's fluent in 37 languages; 22 of them are from her native Kenya, and she also speaks non-Earth languages like Andorian and Vulcan.
  • Subverted in The Star Wars Holiday Special, with Luke Skywalker having trouble understanding Chewbacca's family unless they speak slowly. Understandable, since by that time he hasn't known Chewie for a long time.
  • On Strong Medicine, Andy is fluent in five languages, including Tagalog, due to having been an Army brat.
  • Cameron from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles shows fluency in every language she has come in contact with (English, Armenian, Russian, Spanish, and Japanese as of the end of the second season). It stands to reason that she knows many more as well, as she does have a very good memory.
  • In Vikings, due to his background as a Catholic monk and scribe, Athelstan has a fluent or working knowledge of several languages, including Old English, Latin, Greek, Old Norse, and probably High German because of his time in Charlemagne's court. He's also shown to have a natural gift for picking up dialects. It was this demonstrated ability that initially caught Ragnar's attention and resulted in him sparing Athelstan's life.
  • Neal on White Collar speaks French, Japanese, and he may also speak German — he can at least read it (Diana needed a German-English dictionary to translate the manifest; Neal just read the titles right off the page). In fact, one episode confirms that Neal speaks eight languages, including some conversational Swahili.
  • The language skills of Indiana Jones mentioned above were also illustrated in the television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
    • Indy is about eight and meets one of the locals, also about the same age. They start by giving each other a counting lesson and by the end of the day Indiana is up to conversational fluency in the language, to the mild amusement of his parents (there is no mention of his new friend's proficiency in English).
    • Used for humour when seventeen-year old Indy engages in a duel of languages with the daughter of a British diplomat. They go through French, German, Italian, Hungarian, Swedish, Greek and Arabic. She finally tries another language, and this time it's unsubtitled. Indy doesn't even recognize what language it is, and she asks: "You mean your name is Jones, yet you don't speak Welsh?"
    • Later in the series, Indy encounters another omniglot who claims to speak more languages than him. The man challenges him, but Indy manages to impress him with his knowledge of sign language. The man calls a draw – in Icelandic.
  • A Viral Marketing poster for Hannibal describes Hannibal Lecter in terms that suggest a fugitive without outright saying it... and among his notable qualities are listing a full eight languages that he speaks; namely Lithuanian, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, and Japanese. However, besides his role as an iconic criminal genius, according to the backstory given in Hannibal Rising, which overlaps with World War Two, he was a Lithuanian by birth who was orphaned by Nazis, spent part of his childhood in a Russian orphanage, was taken out of there by a family member living in France, became close to a Japanese woman, burned his bridges while actively seeking out the aforementioned Nazis, and traveled to North America; besides this, he's been depicted as having an interest in Italy as an adult, and in the series, he had actually lived there.
  • Treadstone. Cicadas can speak multiple languages, which is suggested to be a result of their conditioning implanting the knowledge subconsciously along with all the other skills required of a Professional Killer. Vincent is stated to be fluent in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Mandarin and Farsi. Soyun starts to freak out when she realises she can understand English—as a North Korean citizen, she should not be able to speak it at all.
  • In Benidorm it's revealed that in addition to Spanish and English, Mateo can also speak Italian, French and German.

  • Christopher Lee, known for his linguistic ability in real life, recorded the duet "The Wizard's Dream" with Italian power-metal band Rhapsody of Fire in four different language versions: English, French, Italian and German.
  • Heather Dale is either this or a Cunning Linguist, given the number of songs she's pulled off in not just English, but Gaelic, French (well, she is Canadian), and even, in one case, Huron, or Wendat.
  • Michael Robert Rhein, frontman of the German medieval rock band In Extremo performs songs written in, in order of frequency: his native German, Latin, Galician, Old Icelandic, Old High German, Occitan, Old Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, French, Gaelic, English, Hebrew and Ladino.
  • Hayley Westenra has recorded in English, Māori, Gaelic, Welsh, German, Portuguese, French, Italian, Latin, Japanese, Mandarin and Taiwanese. And a little Quenya, but that goes with the territory.
  • Teresa Teng recorded songs in her native Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and English.
  • Most opera singers are required to be competent in Italian, German, and French, and possibly also English and Russian.
  • Týr often writes songs in English, Danish, and Faroese, and their album Land additionally has songs in Norwegian and Icelandic. Before becoming a musician, lead singer Heri Joensen initially wanted to become a linguist.
  • Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish has written songs or pieces of songs in English, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Welsh.
  • Haggard likes to switch between English, German, Italian and Latin in their songs.

  • Dice Funk: Anne speaks Common, Halfling, Orc, Goblin, and Abyssal. Unfortunately, she isn't quite smart enough to translate accurately....

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Swiss wrestler Claudio Castagnoli/Antonio Cesaro is said to be able to speak five languages (English, French, German, Italian and Romanch.) However, WWE would say that he is speaking "Swiss."
  • Canada's Sami Zayn (aka El Generico) speaks at least three languages: English, French, and Arabic. (The last makes sense when you realize he's of Syrian origin.)
  • George Hackenschmidt, the first wrestler to ever hold the original version of the World Heavyweight Title, was a very well-educated man who could speak seven languages
  • Angelico of Lucha Underground speaks English, Spanish, and Afrikaans
  • Madusa speaks Japanese and even recorded a music CD in the language.
  • Meng is an interesting case. He can speak English, his native Tongan and other languages, though, in character, he chose not to most of time.

  • In Doubt Academy, Emilia speaks multiple languages, even a few dead ones.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Aberrant, each point of Linguistics grants fluency with a language group, like Scandinavian languages or multiple dialects of Chinese. A MegaIntelligence enhancement quadruples this.
  • The Ars Magica 4th Edition Grimoire lists a merit called Gift of Tongues, a quasi-magical trait that when bought at character generation allows the character to effectively speak every human language as if he is a native speaker: the character can understand and talk to any human being, but can only speak one language at a time (meaning that if two people do not share a language, the character can converse with character A in one language and character B in another, and freely translate between the two, but cannot speak a language that both understand at the same time). The merit does not extend to understanding written texts. But it is a common trait, not restricted to mages only, and thus very useful when combined with merits like Widely Travelled.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In 2nd Edition, the Lillendi are able to speak any language perfectly, including non-languages like Dabus Rebus Bubbles and Scramblespeak. But then, they're spirits of creativity, and this is explicitly a super-power granted by their deity. We also never find out whether it would work on codes and ciphers, or what would happen if a Lillend was faced with a page of randomly generated nonsense.
    • 2nd Edition also ties the number of languages a PC can know to their Intelligence stat; with average Intelligence, a character can have fluency in 2 languages. A perfect 18 Intelligence grants you an impressive 7 languages.
    • In 3.5 Edition, multilingualism is extremely easy. Characters start out fluent in a number of extra languages proportional to their intelligence, and just one skill point enables them to read, write and speak an entire new language. On top of that, the "Master Linguist" feat lets them learn one new language whenever they gain a level.
      • The spell "Tongues" makes its target fluent in all languages for a few minutes and can be made permanent with more powerful magic.
      • High-level Monks gain the "Tongue of the Sun and Moon", allowing them to speak to any living creature whatsoever. Amusingly, this means that a French-speaking vampire presents more of a language barrier than a salmon.
      • The Epic Level Handbook provides the feat "Polyglot", which requires Super Intelligence but grants a character fluency in absolutely every language, down to the most obscure regional accent.
    • In 4th edition, learning languages is restricted to a feat, Linguist, that requires above-average intelligence, but that feat instantly grants fluency in three new languages of the player's choice. Since a character can exchange one previously acquired feat upon gaining a level, they can spontaneously learn Draconic, Primordial, and Abyssal by forgetting Elven, Dwarven, and Goblin. It helps that core 4e only has 10 languages and every character starts out knowing at least 2.
    • 5th edition also provides the Linguist feat, though without the high intelligence requisite - anyone can just learn 3 extra languages! Though as 5e contains 16 core languages this is probably a necessity.
      • Spells such as Comprehend Languages and Speak With Animals temporarily extend a character's linguistic abilities, while Monk ability Tongue of the Sun and Moon shows that the character is so in touch with people's energies they can understand all speech, and be understood in turn.
      • The Warlock eldritch Invocation Eyes of the Runekeeper gives the Warlock a variant. They can read any language (including extinct ones), but cannot recreate them, so if they want to write or speak the languages themselves, they have to do it the old way.
  • In Pathfinder, the Spiritual Successor to Dungeons and Dragons 3.5:
    • Learning languages is incentivized by merging its skill with the skills for forging documents and deciphering coded, incomplete, or archaic texts. Becoming incrementally better at either of the latter automatically comes with a side of fluency in a new language.
    • A canonical example of an omniglot is Ezren Zefiir, the Iconic Wizard. In his pre-generated statblocks, he's fluent in six languages at level 1,note  thirteen at level 7note  and twenty languages, one of them a long-dead Classical Tongue, at level 12.note 
    • Many celestial beings have the power of "Truespeech", which any non-mindless being hears as their own native language or form of communication, and which lets the celestial understand all forms of communication.
    • Aasimar (people with celestial beings in their ancestry) have the alternate racial trait of Truespeaker, representing them being able to tap into a measure of celestial Truespeech. It allows them to learn two languages whenever they take a rank in Linguistics (the language skill).
  • There's actually a trait for it in Eclipse Phase called Hyper Linguist — it reduces the time and cost to learn Language skills to one-third, lets your character automatically learn a language through a single day of complete immersion, and grants a + 10 modifier to interpreting languages they don't know. Given that you need 50 points in a language skill to be fluent, and you normally require one Rez Point per skill point and one week of studying per point, plus you're restricted to 5 points in a skill per month, this is very handy if you're not planning to rely on your Muse's translation program for communication. It can also be varying degrees of justified, as your character can be anything from a custom-programmed AI to a centuries-old world-weary immortal, and it's available as a fairly cheap Biomod though that doesn't transfer when you Body Surf like the trait.
    • There's also the Pattern Recognition psi-slight, which gives a + 20 modifier to interpreting any human language that they have had a few hours of exposure too, but can't automatically learn the language and only reduces training time by half. But it can be used to interpret alien languages as well, Hyper Linguist only works with human languages, and given a week or so can crack most ciphers. It also costs half as much, assuming the slightly insane prerequisites are already met.
  • Similarly, Exalted has Linguistics Charms that produce various effects of this type, ranging from "You pick up the language temporarily after listening to it for a few minutes" to "Your body language cuts through the linguistic barrier." Also, as with Aberrant above (it's the same basic system), every point in Linguistics gives you a language family. For some context on that, the Indo-European language family includes everything from English to Russian to Gaelic to Hindi, and there's no reason to think Creation's language families are any less diverse.
  • GURPS Supers has an advantage called Omnilingual. You don't actually know every language but every time you encounter a new one (no matter how absurdly obscure) you get to make a skill roll to see if you just happened to study it.
    • The GURPS basic set has Language Talent advantage. In Third Edition, when paired with high intelligence, this made it possible for a character to learn 20 languages or more for just a handful of points. Fourth Edition changed the way languages worked in the game, making Language Talent a much milder advantage.
  • Mutants & Masterminds has the Language skill — for every rank, you speak an extra language. One Power Point at character creation gives you four skill points, so for one point, you can know five languages (the native one's free). Fans and some later books have tried to devise ways to make it a little closer to reality. A standard "fix" is to make each language cost two points instead: one to speak, and another to be literate. Although that ratio seems less impressive in a system where one point can also let you breathe in space or casually stroll at 10 MPH and two points lets you speak and understand all languages for every species everywhere.
  • One of the Epic Intelligence Knacks in Scion is Language Mastery — if you listen to a language for a few minutes, you'll speak it with complete fluency. There is a drawback: you can also write that language, but you don't gain automatic mastery of how it's spelled. Even without it, characters use the same system as the World of Darkness below; so even a modestly intelligent character still probably speaks three or four languages.
    • The Second Edition upgrades it to Omniglot Translation, removing the restriction on writing, to compensate for the fact that characters get fewer Knacks.
  • One fan-made adaptation of Shadowrun to the D20 system had a game balance error that allowed a starting Elf character with a halfway decent Intelligence to read and write every language ever spoken in the history of the human race (as well as Sperethiel (Elvish) and Or'zet (Orkish)).
  • Fourth-edition Shadowrun has the Linguist quality, which raises all knowledge skills the player has ranks in by two ranks, and the Linguistics Adept power, allowing an Adept to make an ability check to learn a language at skill rank one after being exposed to it for several hours. A character designed for the purpose can fly to any city in the world, spend four or five hours wandering around on the streets, and come back fluent in anything short of technical subjects in the local language essentially for free.
  • Spirit of the Century makes no pretenses toward being realistic in this area. A character can speak a number of additional languages equal to their Academics skill (maximum of + 5 for player characters), however, the player does not need to choose their languages up front. Rather, these are considered language "slots" which can be filled as is convenient. This effectively makes any character with decent academics an Omniglot until they run out of language slots, as they can just fill in whatever languages they encounter. The "Linguist" stunt adds an extra 5 language slots, and the "Gift of Tongues" stunt takes this a step further. Any character with this stunt can speak any mainstream language by default and can spend their normal language slots on esoteric languages they have no business ever having learned.
    • The rulebook quote:
      "Ancient Martian Frang'Twa dialect? I know a few phrases."
  • Spycraft tries to make this an Acceptable Break from Reality, and does so pretty decently; you're considered fluent in all the major languages in your area, and you can add them as you increase a skill (but in 4-rank increments) by area. However, you can only gain a passing familiarity with most languages in the area, and can only communicate with a communication check. A character native to North America is presumed fluent in English, for example.
  • All There in the Manual for Warhammer 40,000 describe the Kroot as extremely gifted in language due to their natural mimicry, making them able to pick up and speak almost any language with fluency in a matter of months. They can apparently even pick up Eldar and Tau language, which most humans can't speak due to exacting pronunciation. Most Kroot (except their leaders, who must be able to read the employment contracts) are illiterate on top of it and usually can't write any of the languages they may be able to speak.
  • White Wolf has the Linguistics skill. In early editions of their games, each rank in that skill (up to five) gained you one additional language. Eventually, the writers realized that this wasn't nearly epic enough compared to the rest of the games, so now each dot doubles the number of languages you speak. A skill level of five was supposed to represent top human ability, and knowing sixteen additional languages is about right looking at the Real Life section below.
    • As a funny side note: in the original rules of Vampire: The Masquerade, it was necessary to be a reasonably low-generation vampire (which is to say, a vampire who's only a few generations removed from Caine, the first vampire; the lower the generation, the stronger their blood) in order to get an attribute or ability score above five points. The old "Murphy's Law" comic strip/column, which highlighted fun errors and oversights in various games' rules systems, pointed out that this meant that in the World of Darkness, anyone who speaks more than six languages — such as, say, most of the people who work at the translation department at the United Nations — is, by the game's rules, at least a seventh-generation vampire. This may not have been specifically why White Wolf changed how Linguistics worked, but it could not have helped.
    • The trope itself gets parodied in some of the flavor text describing the Linguistic skill in Adventure!, when it turns out the team Omniglot... isn't. Sure, he speaks six dialects of Sumerian, but that doesn't mean he speaks Spanish.
      • The Jack of All Tongues Knack plays it straight: you double the number of languages you know, and it costs half as much to learn new languages.
    • They also veered too hard in the other direction initially in the New World of Darkness. Each language you knew besides your native language was a separate one-to-three-dot merit, and you required two dots to be literate and conversationally fluent — one dot meant you were minimally fluent and illiterate. For reference, this means that it took nearly a third of a character's starting merit dots to be able to read and speak an additional language, and it cost as much in merit dots or experience as having an intuitive sense of impending danger or being a relatively significant celebrity. They quickly rewrote it in the errata so it now acts as the original version of the Linguistics skill, except as a merit.
      • And the rules update from The God Machine Chronicle splits the difference — there's now Language and Multilingual. Both are one dot, but Language is complete fluency in a single language, while Multilingual is reasonable spoken fluency and a roll to understand writing for two languages.
    • A bunch of the game lines likewise have powers that take care of this. Werewolf: The Forsaken has at least three language-derived Gifts, ranging from "you instantly pick up the native language" to "you can understand what anyone says, but you can't converse back." Mage: The Awakening has Mind rotes that let you blow past the language barrier. Promethean: The Created has Transmutations that allow a Promethean to translate any written language and speak in a tongue that everyone understands. And Changeling: The Lost has a Merit that allows a changeling to temporarily draw upon a language by using the Wyrd to draw upon the collective unconscious.
    • If you have demons in your DNA (whatever that means), you can learn an infernal power, Tongue of Babel, that allows you to comprehend and speak any language, permanently.
      • And then there are the other demons, who have the innate ability to speak any language that is considered a "living language" by the denizens of the world, be they mundane or supernatural. So demons can speak the First Tongue of the spirit world but are SOL when it comes to Latin or Akkadian. This often plays a heavy role in demon SIGINT, with the Unchained sending messages back and forth in Tagalog, Urdu, or whatever is unlikely to be translated if intercepted in their local area.
    • Changeling: The Dreaming: The Willow Whisper cantrip lets you literally talk to everything and anything in its own language, with the exception of cold iron. The Zeitgeist cantrip gives you temporary knowledge of the local human language.
  • Warhammer has Wulfrik the Wanderer, a warrior who drunkenly boasted he could kill any warrior anywhere, and now wanders reality for eternity proving that. He has the ability "Gift of Tongues", which lets him speak any language anywhere. He uses this to deliver the most heinous insults possible to his enemies; in game terms, if he issues a challenge to another character, they cannot refuse, because they're too pissed off by his insults to back down.
  • In Hero System, a character with the Universal Translator talent doesn't technically know every language s/he encounters, but can communicate in them note  with an INT check.
  • The Nobilis, among their various talents, get this:
    Jenna Moran: As far as I can tell they can speak, understand, read, and write every language flawlessly from the moment of Commencement, including every mortal language and the “True Tongue” of Heaven.

    Video Games 
  • Fighting game characters seem to have this inherently:
    • Street Fighter includes people who should be speaking Japanese, English, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Thai, and Russian. They converse with each other without issues.
    • Tekken is even worse ... Japanese, English, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish at least. And then there's four animal characters, none of whom share species, yet seem to converse perfectly fine with each other and occasionally the humans as well. This doesn't even address why one Chinese girl seems to only speak Japanese, or the Mexican wrestler just uses jaguar snarls.
    • Soulcalibur has Greek, Japanese, Korean, French, English, German, Tagalog, Chinese (which has its own numerous dialects), one of the Native American Languages, Spanish, and that's to start.
      • Lampshaded in the background fluff where Mitsurugi had difficulty finding work as a mercenary in Europe due to language barriers.
  • In Alpha Protocol, Mike Thorton is noted as having an unusual gift for languages, which is why the agency recruited him. If you pick the soldier background, the e-mail describing Mike says he picked up Arabic during his tour of duty in Iraq, just by interacting with native speakers. He apparently speaks the language at a fluent level, as well as being capable of understanding and conversing in Russian, Italian and Mandarin Chinese with no apparent difficulty. Technical specialist Mike, meanwhile, has a PhD in linguistics and is outright stated to know English, Farsi, Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin (Chinese) and Japanese.
  • Downplayed with the protagonist of Cultist Simulator. Their classical education in London starts them out speaking English, and some Greek and Latin. As the game progresses, they become capable enough in Greek, Latin, Aramaic, and Sanskrit to readily translate works of eldritch lore written in those tongues into English. And eventually, another four fictional languages, each related to one of the previous but spoken primarily by Eldritch Abominations and their worshippers for the truly ancient and mind-shattering stuff. However, the protagonist is not speaking these languages, but painstakingly translating books with reference works explicitly at hand at all times.
  • Fenris from Dragon Age II is an ex-slave with no formal education and memory issues to boot, but nonetheless speaks at least three languages: Tevene - his native language, Common Tongue, and Qunlat. He picked up the last one by listening to them. He also knows enough elvish to hold a conversation, though it's not known if he's fluent.
  • Evolve plays with this in regards to Bucket, and by extension all other Rank-Rajat Minds. He has the capability to speak any and every language but is limited by which dictionaries he currently has loaded. Bucket himself doesn't have many at a time, but he still has more than any meatbag.
  • Final Fantasy has a couple of examples from different games in the series:
    • Final Fantasy VI has Mog, a moogle who can speak the same language as humans effortlessly (when all other moogles can just say "Kupo!"). This is justified by the moogle himself, who explains that the Esper Ramuh taught him to speak their language in his dreams, and told him to seek the party out and help the cause. He still usays "Kupo!" at the end of some sentences.
    • in Final Fantasy X the main character, Tidus, can learn the Al Bhed Language after completing a world spanning Collection Sidequest to find Al Bhed Primers. By the end of the game once you've collected all 26 primers, Tidus will be completly fluent in speaking Al Bhed.
    • Player characters in Final Fantasy XIV possess a power known as the Echo, one of the effects of which is the ability to understand any spoken language.
  • Mrs. Arrow from the F-Zero games speaks over 40 languages, including Octoman's native tongue.
  • Throughout the Hitman series, Agent 47 has impersonated people from France, Thailand, Italy, Colombia, Morocco, India, and many more places. We hear the games' dialogue in English, but Agent 47 presumably blends in by speaking the local language wherever he goes.
  • The Protheans from Mass Effect are shown to be capable of learning another language by using touch-telepathy to empathically view memories. Their technology is capable of similar feats, with Vigil learning English via radio-chatter.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Solid Snake's trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, as well as various bios from the series itself, states that he is fluent in six languages. One of these languages is implied to be French in Metal Gear Solid 4, and if the novelizations for Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4 are anything to go by, he also seems to have a fluency in Russian due to taking courses in Russian as part of his FOXHOUND Training, and the Slavic Languages either during his membership in FOXHOUND or possibly even during his stint in the Green Berets.
    • Big Boss, his father, is not any different, being explicitly shown to know Russian and English (the former due to his tutelage under The Boss), and is implied to be fluent in French as well, and at the very least has some knowledge of Spanish in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. In one briefing tape, it's also implied that he subconsciously learned how to speak cat.
    • Kazuhira Miller, aside from Japanese and English (the former being his native language), was also stated to be fluent in Spanish.
    • Ocelot speaks Russian, English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Italian.
    • Liquid Snake's various bios also state that, besides English, he also knows Spanish, French, Malaguay, and has a mastery of Arabic. In addition, it is implied that he is fluent in seven languages, meaning there are two languages besides those listed that he also knows. In MGSV, one of these is revealed to be Kikongo.
    • Gray Fox is implied to know English and German.
    • According to some bios and the novelization for Metal Gear Solid, Decoy Octopus is fluent in twelve languages, at least some of the languages being English, Spanish, French, German, and Ebonics (the first two are presumably his native languages, seeing how according to those sources, he was born in Mexico).
    • Monsoon in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is fluent in his native Khmer, as well as Chinese, and English.
    • Diamond Dogs members in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain can become fluent in up to five different languages (in addition to their native language) by learning them from other soldiers on Mother Base.
  • Grobnar Gnomehands of Neverwinter Nights 2 speaks several languages including Gnomish, Goblin, Orcish, Elvish, and Draconic.
  • In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, the sidekick Rekke is initially unable to speak in anything but an unknown language. After a month of in-game time, he is able to speak Aedryan quite fluently. Justified because he's from Yezuha, a distant empire where many cultures with their own languages exist. Being able to learn new languages quickly would be a vital skill in such a place.
  • Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong: Racter mentions that he speaks 15 languages. However, he is only literate in twelve of them, and, much to his chagrin, never got the hang of Arabic. He gets bonus points for having done it all the old-fashioned way, without datajacks and linguasofts.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • As the protagonist of Knights of the Old Republic, you know almost every language you come across, seeing them as subtitles. A Wookiee character is surprised that you can understand him — really, to facilitate Bilingual Dialogue most Star Wars characters understand if not speak several languages — and you have the option to wonder to an assassination droid with translator capacities why you can't understand the Sandpeople tongue. HK tells you that he knows you pick up languages with the help of the Force, but it doesn't substitute for actual linguistic training (he speculates that the Sand People being deliberately obscurantist with their language contributes; they don't want you to understand). Towards the end of the game, only you can understand Rakatan, which startles your companions. As the Dark Lord Revan, you ripped the language out of their heads and forced them to comprehend Basic.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords handles the situation a little more believably; you don't actually know all those languages, but a small sonic imprint sensor you picked up in the first level is equipped with a translator unit that helps you out and you don't run across anyone who speaks anything obscure.
  • The Spy from Team Fortress 2 is French, and is fluent (apparently) in English, French, Spanish and Italian (and possibly other languages too).
  • Resident Cute Bookworm Kosuzu Motoori of the Touhou Project spinoff series Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery bears the power to decipher any book just by touching it. However, it doesn't allow her to actually write or speak in any of languages her power translates the writing of.
  • Though he only uses this ability to learn Dwarven, the titular Tomba! can learn anyone's language by biting a few different people who speak it.
  • Yakuza 4: Tanimura is noted for his language skills, and proves to be conversational in Mandarin, Thai, Korean and Tagalog, on top of his native Japanese.
  • Yo-kai Watch 3 introduces Lionguist, a Yo-kai that can speak any language and make a person speak and understand any language.

    Web Animation 
  • Gordon Freeman, in Freeman's Mind, has shown himself capable of speaking five languages: English, German, Haitian Creole, Hindi, and Spanish. He states having been to Haiti and India (in both cases, just before speaking a bit of the local tongue), and he also mentions his time in the city of Innsbruck in Austria (from his canon backstory). His ability to speak Spanish isn't specifically explained, but it's not really much of a stretch either—especially since he lives in New Mexico.

  • The Uryuoms in El Goonish Shive have the ability to psychically learn and teach languages almost instantly through rubbing their antennae for three seconds on the forehead of whoever they want to learn a language from or teach to. This ability only works with languages, though.
  • Zoe from Girls in Space speaks every Earth language. She doesn't bring this up because she thought everyone could do that.
  • R.L. in Kevin & Kell is Domain's version of this, understanding and speaking the species-specific languages of all his employees... including feline, which is how he knew Frank was going to challenge him for supremacy.
  • Considering Zoophobia's Perci is the teacher of languages at the Z.P. Academy, his ability to speak every language is technically justified.
  • According to the Girl Genius novelizations, Agatha speaks Latin, Greek, German, English, French, Arabic, and Russian. This is in addition to her native tongue, which is Romanian.
  • Annie Carver of Gunnerkrigg Court can speak a wide variety of languages due to hanging out with various cultures' Psychopomps on a regular basis. This usually comes up with her ability to speak Polish, allowing her to easily talk to Gamma, who otherwise only talks to Zimmy due to not knowing English. Downplayed in that she's not especially fluent and makes realistic grammatical errors when speaking to Gamma.
  • Tuuri from Stand Still, Stay Silent is a native to Finland who took Icelandic and Swedish as second languages, living in a world in which Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland are the only known surviving nations. To add to this, Swedish is close enough to both Danish and Norwegian that she can actually communicate with people speaking those languages.
  • 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.
  • Dabbler from Grrl Power claims to know lots of languages — lots. Mind you, most of them are probably not from Earth.
    Dabbler: Give me a break, English is my 137th language.
  • White Rooms: The Ritses are taught how to speak several languages, including Russian and French.
  • Avengers… Adventure!!!: Per Gwyneth's description, her character (Pepper) has such a high Linguistics score she had to invent languages to add to her character sheet.

    Web Original 
  • Hissy in Tales of MU speaks just about every language that's been mentioned in the story and can apparently pick up new ones very easily, as they're all simpler than her native Lizardfolk language.
  • Worm:
    • Arbiter can learn languages exceptionally fast as part of her enhanced social intelligence.
    • Contessa can also speak any language as one of the many applications of her power which comes in handy for her as she is from an alternate Earth and doesn't know how to speak any of our languages normally.
  • Noriko Null from Beyond the Impossible, as a result of having all the information in the world downloaded into her brain. Greek gods have this as a natural ability, to the point that not only they can understand and talk any language, but people who stick around them for long will understand as well. The only exception is Demon speech, which they can't understand at all.

    Web Videos 
  • Vork from The Guild claims to know all languages at one point. Aside from English, we see him speak Korean and Hindi. This is very likely a reference to the quote at the top of this page.
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Miss Blanche Ingram is a model and serious businesswoman, and she claims she's fluent in eight languages. However, at one party she owns to he friend Warren she hated when her Nanny used to make him "conjugate, conjugate, conjugate" as a kid.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of All Grown Up! shows Susie Carmichael knowing various words in various languages as part of a language contest. She claims that she has a "freaky knack" for this. Problem is, such an ability is attested only once outside of the episode in question. note  The even bigger problem is that this ability solely exists to eventually force Susie into picking helping her friends win the language contest over auditioning for a singing contest.
  • The title character of Carmen Sandiego knows many languages because she was raised in a highly multilingual environment.
  • Castlevania (2017): The second season reveals that Sypha can read and speak a large variety of languages, including the original human language spoken by Adam and Eve. She states her education would be lacking if she found text to remember but couldn't read it.
  • Danger Mouse can speak 47 languages fluently... "but gibberish isn't one of them" (from Close Encounters Of The Absurd Kind).
  • In DuckTales (1987), Scrooge McDuck knows enough languages to be able to speak with almost anyone, but then he spent the better part of his life traveling the world doing business, and it's easier to haggle when you know the lingo. If he doesn't speak the language, he might speak a similar one — when he ended up in the Lost World of Tralla La in Himalaya, he found the natives spoke a language similar to one he learnt while yak trading in Tibet.
  • Chloe Carmichael from The Fairly OddParents knows 12 languages, including communicating with dolphins.
  • Being a robot, Bender from Futurama can actually have languages installed into his system, and if he ever resets, will instantly pick up the language of his surroundings, even animals.
  • Kaeloo: According to Episode 69, Kaeloo can speak English, French, Spanish and German, understand duck language, and possibly knows even more languages.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: The kwamis speak all languages, having been around for long enough that they were there when the languages were created, or at least had ample time to learn once they contacted someone who spoke a new language. This is necessary for their duties, as they might be used by someone anywhere in the world.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: Jenny is showed to language disks in her mouth that allow her to speak any language, however, we have only seen her speaking English and Japanese.
  • PAW Patrol: Cap'n Turbot not only Speaks Fluent Animal, but he is also able to understand alien, and even alien rock.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Ferb speaks English, French, Japanese, Martian, and Dolphin.
    • Buford shows signs of this as well, he knows Latin and French and doesn't think much of it.
  • Bubbles of The Powerpuff Girls can apparently speak pretty much any language. This isn't limited to human languages, either.
  • The Raccoons: Troy Malone from the episode "The Sky's the Limit!" claims to be fluent in 10 different languages, though this may be more of an Informed Ability as he's only shown speaking English.
  • Different episodes of The Real Ghostbusters show that Dr. Egon Spengler can speak Russian, Japanese, Sumerian, American Sign Language, and Troll.
  • It's a little more subtle than most of these examples, but Velma on Scooby-Doo seems to be able to read absolutely any language, no matter how obscure or ancient.
  • Drew Saturday from The Secret Saturdays states she speaks 37 languages. Ulraj claims to speak 15 of their "surface languages," though he doesn't seem to know what countries they come from, but what do you expect for someone who lives underwater?
  • The Simpsons: Although it doesn't come up very often, Homer and Bart consistently display the ability to pick up fluency in just about any language they encounter, sometimes in only a few hours.
    • While waiting in line for a lottery ticket Homer picks up a book on learning Spanish and is able to have a fluent conversation with Bumblebee man before he reaches the end.
    • While listening to Manjula and Apu arguing in Hindi, Marge tells her husband to stop eavesdropping since he can't even understand them, only for Homer to tell her he's picking it up and manages to pick out the exact word Manjula used to call her husband a 'jerk'.
    • Played with on a flight to Brazil. Bart learns and understands Spanish before they land, but the realization that Brazil's language is actually Portuguese prompts Homer to order him to forget it. Bart does so by hitting himself over the head with the phone in the back of the seat in front of him. Much to Marge's disappointment.
    • Lampshaded in possibly its first use. Bart is lamenting the fact that he can't speak French since it means he can't denounce his evil exchange "guardians" to a friendly but uncomprehending gendarme. As he reaches the end of his complaint, he suddenly finds himself speaking perfect French.
    • Homer is such an omniglot he can even speak Penguin — and his comment that he can understand "food talk" in any language may mean he has a limited grasp of any animal language.
  • In Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo, Raven is wandering around the eponymous city looking for something to do. She arrives at a news-stand and asks if they carry anything in English, German, Latin, Romanian, Ancient Sumerian, or Sanskrit. Apparently, Starfire and her kind have the ability to gain and understand another's language just by kissing them (which she demonstrated by smooching a Japanese stranger).
  • Zack on Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? can speak a large number of languages, which comes in useful as he and his sister travel the globe chasing the eponymous villain.
  • Word of God says that Superboy in Young Justice (2010) knows many languages (English, Spanish, French, Korean, Arabic, Russian, etc.). It's justified, as he was programmed with copious amounts of information by the G-nomes during his conditioning.

    Real Life 
  • Ziad Fazah, who has been tested on national Brazilian TV, is listed in the Brazilian edition of the "Guinness Book of World Records" as speaking 56 languages at the time of publication (2001). However, he has been a divisive figure in the world of polyglottism, especially due to his 1997 appearance on the Chilean TV show Viva el lunes, where his abilities in several of those languages were tested by native speakers, and he failed to fully understand and respond to all of them, including some very basic questions. With regards to this incident, Michael Erard writes that "A blogger, Magnus Lewan, on his blog,, would later express a sensible conclusion shared by many, that 'it is very likely that Ziad Fazah is one of billions of people who are unable to speak fifty-nine languages'".note 
  • Harold Williams was listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s greatest omniglot (alive or dead) at 58 languages.
  • Moe Berg, a third-string catcher who played for six MLB teams, spoke seven languages fluently and had passing ability in three more. During a tour of Japan by MLB all-stars, Berg was sent along primarily because he could act as a translator. Or to get information on Japanese progress on shipbuilding during WWII (he was an operative of the OSS).
  • Indian actress Asin can speak seven languages: Malayalam (her mother tongue), Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, French, English, and Sanskrit.
  • India's former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao was reported to speak seventeen languages: Telugu (his mother tongue), Hindi, Urdu, Oriya, Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, and Persian.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien was a polyglot who spoke well over a dozen languages and had some comprehension of up to forty. He even made up a few of his own. Let's just say there aren't many authors who kept interfering with the foreign translations of their books to point out how the translators aren't translating things properly into their native languages (see for instance Swedish translator Åke Ohlmarks).
  • Jeremiah Curtain was said to speak over seventy languages at the time of his death. He certainly collected a lot of fairy tales in the original languages.
  • Noah Webster learned 26 languages for his work in dictionaries.
  • Mormon historian Hugh Nibley knew 13-plus languages, including Ancient Coptic.
  • Jackie Chan speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, Shanghainese, Shangdong dialect, Japanese, Korean, English, and American Sign Language and also speaks some Thai, German, Spanish, Moroccan and Russian.
  • Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks Somali (native language), Arabic, Amharic, English, Swahili, and Dutch.
  • Cleopatra was known to speak between 6 and 9 languages, depending on who you ask. The general consensus seems to be Aramaic, Egyptian, Ethiopic, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, Greek being her native language, and Egyptian the language of her kingdom. This was actually somewhat unusual for her dynasty; rulers of the Ptolemaic Dynasty often didn't even bother to learn Egyptian (being as they thoroughly disdained the "common" folk of their kingdom), let alone anything else beyond Greek.note 
  • Robert Stiller, Polish translator, linguist and essayist makes professional literary translations from and to at least dozen languages (including Polish, German, English, Russian, French, Czech, Ukrainian, Hebrew, Yiddish, Hindi, Old English and Old Icelandic), knows of at least twenty more and possesses cursory knowledge of further few dozen languages and dialects. Although he claims to really 'know' only languages he uses on a daily basis in his work.
  • Out of all the seiyuus out there, Tetsuya Kakihara is the only one who's known to be able to speak five languages and those are Japanese, German, English, Spanish, and Latin.
  • Sir Richard Francis Burton, Genius Bruiser that he was, spoke 29 European, African and Asian languages.
  • Polish-Russian linguist Jan Niecisław Ignacy Baudouin de Courtenay (AKA Ivan Nikolaevich Baudouin de Courtenay) knew 92 languages with reasonable fluency and reportedly had some understanding of several dozens more. There's a rumor that he once said that learning a language is only difficult if you're doing it second or third time, once you know five, learning one more is a breeze.
  • If you are curious why American voice actor Yuri Lowenthal averts the Not Even Bothering with the Accent, this is mainly because he's fluent in Japanese, German, and French (as well as English obviously). This allows him to pull off a wide range of accents (including Russian, even though he doesn't speak the language). He jokes about how the only Spanish he knows involves ordering from Mexican restaurants.
  • Andrew Divoff, a Russian-Venezuelan actor you probably know best for playing Mikhail Bakunin on Lost speaks English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Catalan, Portuguese and Russian. And he knew how to speak Romanian, but forgot when he had nobody to speak to with it.
  • Christopher Lee spoke English, French, Italian, Spanish, and German; had proficiency in Swedish, Russian, and Greek; and if Sir Ian McKellen is to be believed, could handle a little bit of Afrikaans, Zulu, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Swahili!
  • While it's not known how fluent he was, actor Paul Robeson studied Swahili, Bantu, Igbo, Yoruba, Zulu, Chinese, Russian, and Hindi.
  • Cardinal Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti (1774–1849) was fluent in 30 contemporary languages, proficient in a further 10, and in total had some ability in around 70. While some historians claim that his abilities may have been limited to theological and religious matters, an ability to carry out a sermon or maintain a philosophical dispute in a language is still a mark of great fluency. Lord Byron once lost a multilingual cursing contest with him, and described him as "a Monster of Languages, the Briareus [giant] of parts of Speech, a walking Polyglott and more, who ought to have existed at the time of the Tower of Babel as universal Interpreter".
  • Emil Krebs (1867–1930), German diplomat, is considered the greatest polyglot of all time. He was fluent in more than 60 languages not counting the regional dialects and dead languages and used 33 of them on a daily basis. He was so proficient in most of them that native speakers were often asking for help in linguistic matters, which is no small feat, given he spent a large part of his adult life in China. According to his contemporaries, he needed roughly 2-3 months to achieve relative fluency in a new language.
  • Christopher Columbus spoke his native Italian (at least the contemporary Genoese variant—Ligurian), spoke Castilian Spanish as the servant of the Spanish kings, knew Portuguese and Arabic as a sailor experienced in sailing around the Mediterranean, kept the official records in Latin and an "unofficial" record in Greek. He was not especially exceptional, moreover, in his language skills among the contemporary sailors.
  • Pope John Paul II could speak at least twelve languages and used at least nine as Pope.
  • The now-retired Pope Benedict XVI speaks nine languages.
  • Actor Brad Dourif speaks German, French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, and Japanese. He can also pull off a British accent so flawless that he has fooled actual British people that he was one of them. In fact, whenever he reverted to his native West Virginia drawl on the set of The Lord of the Rings, people would tell him that his hillbilly impressions were hilarious.
  • Israeli-born Natalie Portman is fluent in English and Hebrew. She also knows French, Spanish, German, Arabic and Japanese.
  • Diane Kruger, most notably of the National Treasure movies and Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds is fluent in German, French, and English. She even had to affect a German accent when speaking English in Inglorious Basterds because she almost completely lacks one.
  • Uschi Digard, big-bust model and softcore movie star, taught herself to speak eight languages (German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, French, and English) as a child because she was a voracious reader and wanted to read every book in her town's library.
  • Sri Lankan Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is fluent in Sinhala, English, Tamil (these three being the official languages of his home country of Sri Lanka), German, French, Italian, Spanish, Indonesian (the official language of Indonesia, where he was Apostolic Nuncio from 2004-2005), Greek, Latin and Hebrew.
  • Nikola Tesla was able to speak at least 8 languages: his native Serbian/Serbo-Croatian/whatever they're calling it this week, Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, and Latin.
  • Tim Doner is the youngest person to achieve this title.
  • German politician Willy Brandt, who was born in Lübeck spoke Low German (which gave him a reasonable understanding of Dutch) as a mother tongue, learned High German in school and later acquired reasonable fluency in English, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Spanish. When he was Secretary of State from 1966 to 1969, he took French classes because he thought his linguistic abilities weren't enough for such a position. Most of his languages were acquired during his life in exile (Denmark, Norway, and Spain for a short time), but probably his most enduring act of communication involved no talking at all, being a dramatic genuflection (i.e., kneeling) in Warsaw.
  • Karl Marx was quite able to write in several European languages and (as a matter of course for an educated gentleman of his era) had a knowledge of Latin and Greek by the end of high school. This shows in his work, which is hard to understand as it is without the allusions to obscure foreign language terms. His main languages, however, were German (his native tongue) and English (as he lived in England for much of his life, and died there).note  He even elaborates on minutiae like the difference between the English words "worth" and "value" - in the German edition.
  • Alfred Nobel knew five languages (Swedish, Russian, German, English, and French) by age seventeen. He once ran an ad in those languages looking for a personal assistant and got a response in all five languages from one applicant: Bertha von Suttner. He hired her on the spot. She was a well-known pacifist and may well have been responsible for the inventor of dynamite and dealer in weapons-grade explosive dedicating his fortune to the Nobel Peace Prize (along with that whole "Merchant of Death" obituary).
  • The European Commission suggests that every European learn two living European languages in addition to their mother tongue. Given that primary and secondary education is the purview of the member states (and sometimes states within those member states), the actual results vary quite a bit with the Nordic countries and some Central and Eastern European nations running up the score whereas others like France and Spain, have trouble getting even one language down, with Ireland managing to have trouble getting its own language down.
  • Member of the British Parliament and current Master World Trader for the City of London Robert Woodthorpe Browne speaks English, French, Spanish and German which makes sense as all those languages are under the Livery's purview.
  • It is rather rare for most of the previous generations of Nigerians to speak only one language. Prior to the 1990s and beyond, the average Nigerian (post-Biafran war) was educated in English, French, and German in their British-based schools (Portuguese sometimes got thrown in) and they would learn their tribal tongue from their parents. Some Nigerians would learn one of the big three (four if you include Arabic) native tongues of the nation. So you could have a situation in which a middle- to upper-class Nigerian would speak English, French, German, Portuguese, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, and Arabic because the state demanded it of them.
  • Benny Lewis can speak English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, German, Esperanto, Mandarin Chinese, Irish, Dutch, and American Sign Language. He runs a website called Fluent in 3 Months.
  • A slight aversion: many people from the Balkans understand Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin... because it's all basically the same language.
  • Ioannis Ikonomou is an EU Translator who speaks 32 languages and was fluent in 15 languages by the time he was 20 years old. He speaks Greek, English, German, Italian, Spanish, French, Finnish, Danish, Russian, East African Swahili, Hebrew, Arabic, Mandarin, and Bengali, knowing 21 out of the 42 languages spoken in the EU.
  • Besides being acclaimed in his home country as a national hero, Filipino nationalist and intellectual Jose Rizal (of Noli Me Tangere fame no less) was known for being able to speak twenty-two languages, including Spanish, French, Latin, Greek, German, Portuguese, Italian, English, Dutch, and Japanese. He also knew some Malay and could also speak Chavacano, Cebuano, Ilocano, and Subanon.
  • A surprising 25 Language sample from Mario of Voces et Manus Mundi as seen here, with various degrees of fluency, as he indicates for each one, respectively.
  • Tennis great Novak Djokovic has given interviews in Serbian (his native tongue), English, French, German, Italian, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, and Portuguese, and has reportedly picked up some Mandarin and Japanese as well.
  • In football/soccer, Chelsea and Belgium superstar Romelu Lukaku, born in Antwerp to parents who immigrated from DR Congo, is fluent in both of Belgium's main languages of French and Dutch. And DR Congo's national language of Lingala. As well as English, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish. And has a reasonable understanding of German, also an official language in Belgium. As he put it in a 2021 story for The Players' Tribune, a website featuring contributions by prominent sportspeople:
    Lukaku: I’ll start a sentence in French and finish it in Dutch, and I’ll throw in some Spanish or Portuguese or Lingala, depending on what neighborhood we’re in.
  • In the Torne valley, the border region between Sweden and Finland, multi-linguality is the norm, with everyone speaking meänkieli (Torne valley language), Finnish and Swedish natively and learning English in school. On top of this, many people speak at least a smattering of North Sami and/or German. The Torne valley is a melting-pot of languages to the point that the meänkieli word for "foreigner" or "outsider", "ummikko", literally means "monolingual".
  • Pedro II of Brazil, Brazil's second and last monarch, had a passion for linguistics and studied several languages because of that. Besides his native Portuguese, he was able to read and speak in Latin, French, German, English, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Chinese, Occitan and Tupi.
  • Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, the son of a French woman and a Luxembourgish man, can fluently understand and speak French, Luxembourgish, German and English at a near, if not native level.
  • Hồ Chí Minh, in addition to his native Vietnamese, could speak fluently as well as read and write professionally in French, English, Russian, Cantonese, and Mandarin. He also spoke conversational Esperanto. This was out of necessity, as he spent nearly 30 years overseas and needed to communicate with political allies. During his political career, his fluency enabled him to converse directly with other leaders without the need for interpreters. When interviewed by foreign reporters, he defaulted to French.
  • Barack Obama once claimed in an interview that if he could have any one superpower, he would be omnilingual. Perfectly understandable, given how useful this would be even in a non-political career.

"Bakit hindi mo sinabi na marunong ka magtagalog?" "Bakit? Nagtanong ka ba?" "Dili, bai."

Alternative Title(s): Extreme Multilingual