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Where Did Conan Learn Languages?


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#1 RJMooreII

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:33 AM

Where did Conan learn his languages? One might suppose he picked up some spoken tongues simply from interacting with speakers, but he sure does seem to speak a few (though with an accent) quite early in his career. More curious to me is where he picked up polyliteracy. Writing in any given language is quite a separate skill from speaking any given language; unless they utilize similar phonetics or a copped alphabet each new language is a whole new skill to learn. Literacy, unlike speech, is a rather contrived human skill and takes quite a bit of practice.

On top of that, writing and reading are also distinct skills. Conan does not do a whole lot of writing, but it's unclear just how many languages he can write in (as opposed to speak, and read).
"Never trust a wizard - even in death." - Grognak the Barbarian

#2 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 01:58 PM

Where did Conan learn his languages? One might suppose he picked up some spoken tongues simply from interacting with speakers, but he sure does seem to speak a few (though with an accent) quite early in his career. More curious to me is where he picked up polyliteracy. Writing in any given language is quite a separate skill from speaking any given language; unless they utilize similar phonetics or a copped alphabet each new language is a whole new skill to learn. Literacy, unlike speech, is a rather contrived human skill and takes quite a bit of practice.

On top of that, writing and reading are also distinct skills. Conan does not do a whole lot of writing, but it's unclear just how many languages he can write in (as opposed to speak, and read).


He was only mentioned writing a few times, signatures in the royal library, once on a map, and on a note to Xaltotun, all in Aquilonian although I would guess he could write in many more languages of the 25 that I surmise he speaks. As to when and where he learns them I have given it a guess in a chronology with the languages spoken in each tale and where and when he may have picked them up.

(Amra's) The Chronicles Of Conan The Cimmerian

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 16 April 2012 - 02:02 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#3 Kortoso

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 04:46 PM

I'm concerned that you didn't find this thread in your search:
Conan's Linguistic Abilities

#4 ZackDavisson

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:34 PM

From my personal experience of living in Japan, I would say that language aquisition happens a lot faster when you NEED to learn it just to feed yourself.

#5 RJMooreII

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:45 AM

I'm concerned that you didn't find this thread in your search:
Conan's Linguistic Abilities

I probably did the search wrong, but thanks for the link!

Likewise, Amra. I'll read up on them.

Edited by RJMooreII, 17 April 2012 - 01:48 AM.

"Never trust a wizard - even in death." - Grognak the Barbarian

#6 Ironhand

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 02:04 AM

I wrote a treatment for a story about "How Conan Learned to Read". I'll try to put it on my website.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#7 RJMooreII

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 04:38 AM

I wrote a treatment for a story about "How Conan Learned to Read". I'll try to put it on my website.

Sounds good. I'd like to read it.
It says in The Tower of the Elephant that he used to listen to the philosophers talk, so that explains a lot of his obscure knowledge. I figure that he might have picked up some reading skills by comparing readings to text, but that's just a speculation.
"Never trust a wizard - even in death." - Grognak the Barbarian

#8 Ironhand

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 06:09 AM

OK, I've sent it to my guru nephew, who functions as my webmeister. I have no idea how long it will be before he actually uploads it. It could take weeks. I'll let y'all know when it's done.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#9 Ironhand

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 02:32 AM

OK, I've sent it to my guru nephew, who functions as my webmeister. I have no idea how long it will be before he actually uploads it. It could take weeks. I'll let y'all know when it's done.

OK, it's up! Just a treatment, a couple of pages of text. Here's a direct link:

http://scrollsofiron...ned to Read.pdf
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject