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stillakid
04-21-2008, 01:03 PM
This is a question that pertains to the entire saga really, but my son and I were watching A New Hope this weekend when he turned and asked me this question:

(while watching the Han vs. Greedo scene in the Cantina)

"Dad, if aliens can understand English and humans can understand alien languages, why don't they talk to each other in just one of them?"

I sat for a moment letting that question sink in. My first reaction was, "Yeah, you're right!" Look at it this way, rarely if ever on Earth do two people converse back & forth using their own respective languages. They'll pick one and both use it for the duration of the exchange.

However in every case (I think) throughout the Star Wars saga (except for a couple of instances with C3PO), all alien/human conversations take place with two languages, English and the other.

My second reaction was "How astute of my son!" who is now thirteen to think of that. Considering everything else that I and others have discovered to be "wrong" with the movies, that one never occurred to me before. Interesting....

Devo
04-21-2008, 03:04 PM
Coincidentally that occured to me the other night when I had a gander at TPM - when Qui-gon is negotiating with Watto he speaks english whilst Watto uses his own language, whatever it is. I sometimes wonder are we supposed to believe theres a Star Trek style universal translator at work where each race hears their own language coming out of the other (which I assume to be the case since each conversationist always has an instantaneous response). :Ponder:

El Chuxter
04-21-2008, 03:21 PM
I always chalked it up to different vocal cords not allowing all creatures to speak the same language. Possibly combined with a bit of racial chutzpah, kinda like how a lot of English speakers understand other languages but refuse to speak them unless absolutely necessary.

bigbarada
04-21-2008, 07:34 PM
I always chalked it up to different vocal cords not allowing all creatures to speak the same language. Possibly combined with a bit of racial chutzpah, kinda like how a lot of English speakers understand other languages but refuse to speak them unless absolutely necessary.

That's kind of my theory, there might be physical limitations that wouldn't allow alien vocal chords to pronounce English and vice versa.

For instance, the Wookiee language wouldn't be able to be spoken by humans and Wookiees wouldn't be able to speak English. So it's just a matter of learning to understand a language even without being able to speak it.

Mad Slanted Powers
04-21-2008, 08:24 PM
Sometimes it's easier to understand what someone else is saying than to actually figure out how to say it in that language yourself. I also agree with the points made about physical limitations and the "racial chutzpah" as El Chuxter put it. In the case of Jabba, he's effing Jabba the Hutt! He doesn't need to speak the language of those lowly humans. I believe this was somewhat addressed in the Han Solo trilogy. I think Han Solo impressed Jabba by speaking Huttese or something. Also, I think EU has established the legacy of Hutts and how they view themselves as kind of above everyone else.

Kidhuman
04-21-2008, 09:33 PM
I think its the TARDIS translator making everything sound your language

Phantom-like Menace
04-22-2008, 08:40 AM
Sometimes it's easier to understand what someone else is saying than to actually figure out how to say it in that language yourself. I also agree with the points made about physical limitations and the "racial chutzpah" as El Chuxter put it.

I'll second MSP's point and third El Chuxter's points. I know there have been any number of times with speakers of other languages where they've tried to say something in English and I've had no idea what they were trying to say, but then they've said it in their language and I got it right away. The same goes for me trying to say something in their language.

However, it would make more sense if everyone spoke Huttese on Tatooine, since it's the lingua franca for the planet. I would have accepted a pidgin also, but at least they were working toward accuracy with code switching between English and Huttese.

Darth Duranium
04-22-2008, 06:42 PM
I remeber reading in TPM's novelization that boy Anakin's use of the Force gave him the ability to understand alien tongues and he could tell if they were lying.
This would only work for Force sensitives...

Come to think of it, Han Solo never spoke a word of Wookie and that lyin' sack of foodoo Threepio BS-ed Owen Lars about speaking Bocci.

2-1B
04-23-2008, 12:02 AM
: plot hole :

stillakid
04-23-2008, 12:31 AM
I remeber reading in TPM's novelization that boy Anakin's use of the Force gave him the ability to understand alien tongues

:rolleyes: Oh brother. What can't the Force do? It's the magic bullet that fills any plot hole.

As seen ON TV. Buy The Force! Will cure ANY ailment or problem, real or otherwise. Batteries not included.

2-1B
04-23-2008, 12:43 AM
If you understand an alien tongue, you could work wonders with it. :thumbsup:

Mad Slanted Powers
04-23-2008, 02:02 AM
:rolleyes: Oh brother. What can't the Force do? It's the magic bullet that fills any plot hole.

As seen ON TV. Buy The Force! Will cure ANY ailment or problem, real or otherwise. Batteries not included.If a Jedi can sense feelings through the Force, perhaps they can tap into what someone is thinking well enough to understand the gist of what they are saying. I don't recall what the TPM novel said, but I imagine that despite whatever the Force allowed him to do, he probably learned Huttese the way any child who is immersed in a language can learn. I've heard that children can learn languages better than adults.

Bosskman
04-23-2008, 04:23 AM
I live in New Brunswick-Canada's only officially bi-lingual province (and coincidentally sorta the Tatooine of Canada as well). It is fairly common in places like Moncton for people to have conversations with one person speaking english and the other french. When I was a kid I could speak both equally as well. I can still completely undertand french as well as read and write it, but over the years my speaking french has suffered to the point of embarrassment so that if somebody talks to me in french I'll usually respond in english. It's also like that in situations in the past where I've dealt with people from Quebec. It happens in Europe a lot too. I don't think it's a stretch at all for it to be in Star Wars.

2-1B
04-23-2008, 06:19 PM
Brunswick makes really good bowling products.

stillakid
04-23-2008, 08:43 PM
Brunswick makes really good bowling products.

Canada makes good bowlers.

2-1B
04-23-2008, 09:03 PM
:mabs: is pretty good with a bowl.

stillakid
04-23-2008, 09:24 PM
:mabs: is pretty good with a bowl.

Especially after Mexican night. :sombrero:

CaptainSolo1138
04-24-2008, 01:57 PM
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El Chuxter
04-24-2008, 02:03 PM
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Had it been, it would not be around anymore.

Mad Slanted Powers
04-24-2008, 03:01 PM
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JEDIpartner
04-29-2008, 11:21 AM
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bigbarada
04-29-2008, 11:19 PM
I live in New Brunswick-Canada's only officially bi-lingual province (and coincidentally sorta the Tatooine of Canada as well). It is fairly common in places like Moncton for people to have conversations with one person speaking english and the other french. When I was a kid I could speak both equally as well. I can still completely undertand french as well as read and write it, but over the years my speaking french has suffered to the point of embarrassment so that if somebody talks to me in french I'll usually respond in english. It's also like that in situations in the past where I've dealt with people from Quebec. It happens in Europe a lot too. I don't think it's a stretch at all for it to be in Star Wars.

My dad was born in Mexico and English was his second language. I've heard him talking with people and switching seamlessly between Spanish and English in the same sentence. It's actually not that uncommon for English/Spanish speakers.