James Bond - Cunning Linguist

edited March 2013 in Bond Movies Posts: 41
Who would like to see Bond show off more of his language skills in future films?

Craig's Bond had a clever line in Spanish in Quantum of Solace, but what other languages would you like to see him speaking?

Also, in what other films have we seen Bond speak in another language? I can only think of Brosnan "brushing up on a little Danish" in Tomorrow Never Dies, and Dalton saying "beautiful" in Pashto or Dari in The Living Daylights.

As a Chinese-speaking Caucasian, I always get a kick out of eavesdropping on conversations without anyone realizing that I understand what is being said. I also enjoy saying something just as I'm about to leave - some of the reactions are priceless. It makes me feel sneaky, almost Bond-like! Has anyone else had similar experiences?

I searched for similar topics with the keyword "linguist", so I hope I'm not duplicating anything! Thanks :)
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Comments

  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.
    Posts: 30,365
    Doesn't Bond say something to the valet in GE, and he also tells another valet in TND (I believe) "Don't let her push you around," in regards to his vehicle? I could be wrong.

    Either way, I was thinking the same thing while watching QoS tonight, and I wouldn't mind seeing him speak a little more of another language.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    I love Bond's line about winning the lottery in QoS so that he can nab a nice hotel. Great delivery as always by Dan. =))
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.
    Posts: 30,365
    I love Bond's line about winning the lottery in QoS so that he can nab a nice hotel. Great delivery as always by Dan. =))

    Steals Fields' line, adds on the bit about the lottery, and throws in a smile for good taste. I love it, as well.

    "Shoot me. I'd rather stay in a morgue."

    Even on a mission while being hunted by his own superiors, Bond still won't settle for less.
  • Posts: 194
    I love Bond's line about winning the lottery in QoS so that he can nab a nice hotel. Great delivery as always by Dan. =))

    Ha! I'm watching QoS at the moment and didn't remember the line. It gave me a decent laugh.
  • edited March 2013 Posts: 2,059
    I love also love that QOS line. :D

    Any language that would fit with the story would be nice. Daniel has used Russian before, elsewhere, and I certainly wouldn't mind hearing some more of that, but any language as long as the context is natural - not just for the sake of it. In a Bond movie it would only be a few words, anyway, so which language doesn't make much difference as such.
  • Bond said he studied oriental languages at Oxford in YOLT. I can see him speak more foreign languages in future films.
  • QBranchQBranch Always have an escape plan. Mine is watching James Bond films.
    Posts: 7,076
    In TND, Bond speaks German when at the Avis booth just before Q appears. He also says "I studied at Oxford" in Russian when talking with Christmas Jones in TWINE.

    I agree- Bond needs to show off his language skills a bit more often.
  • Posts: 3,250
    Bond speaks french (rather well) in GE. Italian in TSWLM.
  • haserothaserot has returned like the tedious inevitability of an unloved season.
    Posts: 4,188
    Bond uses Egyptian Arabic in TSWLM - when saying Hello to his Mi6 contact, and also 'no thanks"

    Bond uses French in GE - says "Hello Pierre, are you doing alright?" (or something to that effect)

    Bond uses Danish in TND - says "goodbye my sweet" to Moneypenny over the phone.

    Bond uses German in TND - says "dont let her push you around to the valet"

    Bond uses Russian in TWINE - says it to Christmas right before going down into the bunker.

    Bond uses spanish in QOS - uses it to the hotel desk clerk.

    thats about all i can think of at the moment..
  • Posts: 11,305
    Interesting thread. I am all for Bond using foreign languages a bit more, but not too much, as he is an operative, not a multilingual linguist. His mother is French Swiss so he should know French, German too and probably a bit of Italian and Spanish, he is maybe not fluent but can have basic conversations if he brushes it up a bit before missions.

    @Haserot-Bond spoke Spanish in FYEO.
  • MrcogginsMrcoggins Following in the footsteps of Quentin Quigley.
    Posts: 3,129
    Did not Bond speak Japanese in YOLT.
  • He's an operative on the international stage so clearly can and will use other languages when appropriate.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 4,369
    Ludovico wrote:
    Interesting thread. I am all for Bond using foreign languages a bit more, but not too much, as he is an operative, not a multilingual linguist. His mother is French Swiss so he should know French, German too and probably a bit of Italian and Spanish, he is maybe not fluent but can have basic conversations if he brushes it up a bit before missions.

    @Haserot-Bond spoke Spanish in FYEO.

    He's fluent in Fr4ench and German becouse of his mother, it's one of the reasons why MI6 hired him. That's Fleming's back story to Bond. I'd really love to see him speak French or German on a mission.
  • Posts: 11,305
    Ludovico wrote:
    Interesting thread. I am all for Bond using foreign languages a bit more, but not too much, as he is an operative, not a multilingual linguist. His mother is French Swiss so he should know French, German too and probably a bit of Italian and Spanish, he is maybe not fluent but can have basic conversations if he brushes it up a bit before missions.

    @Haserot-Bond spoke Spanish in FYEO.

    He's fluent in Fr4ench and German becouse of his mother, it's one of the reasons why MI6 hired him. That's Fleming's back story to Bond. I'd really love to see him speak French or German on a mission.

    Yes I remember the Bond from the novel being fluent in French and German. I don't think he should be fluent in more than three languages, it would look too far fetched.

    But a Bond girl who is a linguist or a translator would be very interesting.
  • I'd like to see the following in a Craig film: a woman says something about Bond (perhaps complimenting him) in French to another woman, thinking he doesn't understand. Then he starts speaking French to her, and when she looks surprised he simply says "My mother was French."

    But of course that would enrage certain people because then we'd be finding out "too much" about Bond... ;-)
  • Posts: 3,250
    Well, we already know that Bond's mother has a french name, with the headstone in SF. So, it's not as if that would come as a surprise.
  • Posts: 2,059
    Ludovico wrote:

    Yes I remember the Bond from the novel being fluent in French and German. I don't think he should be fluent in more than three languages, it would look too far fetched.

    Just curious, why would it be too far fetched for him? Being fluent in three languages is not that uncommon and so being fluent in more than three doesn't sound far fetched at all to me.
  • Posts: 140
    Bond should certainly be fluent in French and German, in keeping with Fleming, and we know from QOS that he has at least a little bit of Spanish.

    Given his work as a secret agent, and the current geopolitical milieu, I could see Bond also having at least a basic grasp of Arabic, Farsi, Russian and Chinese.

    And part of me would also like to see Dan mimicking a Southern drawl, like Rog in TMWTGG, "Ah shore am, Boah!"
  • edited March 2013 Posts: 172
    I'd like to see the following in a Craig film: a woman says something about Bond (perhaps complimenting him) in French to another woman, thinking he doesn't understand. Then he starts speaking French to her, and when she looks surprised he simply says "My mother was French."

    But of course that would enrage certain people because then we'd be finding out "too much" about Bond... ;-)
    And I donot want to see any past of Bond.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    A quick list off the top of my head:

    TB - Doesnt Connery say 'Madame I've come to offer my sincere condolencies'. Therefore I'm saying that that is French as if he said it in English he wouldve said 'Madam'.

    YOLT - He speaks Japanese at he Sumo arena - although only two words. He also speaks a few words to Kissys friends? All in all pretty feeble for a first in oriental languages from Cambridge!

    OHMSS - Doesnt he say 'Thank you Herr Grunther'? I'm counting that as a word of German.

    TSWLM - The aforementioned Egyptian (is that a language or is it just Arabic?) at Husseins tent and when asking the boat guy where Anya is.

    MR - Err - he says 'Franco' with a blatant Italian accent.

    FYEO - Spanish when he gets the villagers to push the 2 CV and Greek at the market when they buy some fruit. I've got a feeling there might be a line of Italian in there too somwhere when he checks into he hotel.

    OP - Spanish when he tells the technician to carry on in the PTS, German in the car with the sausage and beer couple.

    AVTAK - 'Monsieur' Aubergine rather than 'Mr'? Does that count as speaking French? Actually he says 'sante Monsieur Aubergine' so thats definitely a sentence.

    TLD - I've got a feeling he says 'danke' to someone at some point. Possibly something to do with he cello?

    LTK - He must speak a word of Spanish at some point in Isthmus? He calls Sanchez 'Senor Sanchez' in the office so that will do.

    GE - French with the valet at the casino.

    TND - Danish to Moneypenny, German to the valet.

    TWINE - Russian to Christmas.

    DAD - 'Buenos dias' to the girl in the South African's room and the people in the hospital.

    CR - 'Guten Abend' to the fat German.

    QOS - Spanish when checking in.

  • edited March 2013 Posts: 41
    Wow, this list is coming along! I didn't realize there were so many quick instances of Bond using his language skills.

    I would really like to see him say a few words (pronounced correctly, of course) in Chinese. But after Skyfall, we may have missed out on this opportunity for a while. I feel like he could have said something at the bar in Shanghai when he was waiting to hear from MI6 about Patrice's flight information. And more than just 谢谢 (xiè xie)! :P
  • Posts: 11,305
    Tuulia wrote:
    Ludovico wrote:

    Yes I remember the Bond from the novel being fluent in French and German. I don't think he should be fluent in more than three languages, it would look too far fetched.

    Just curious, why would it be too far fetched for him? Being fluent in three languages is not that uncommon and so being fluent in more than three doesn't sound far fetched at all to me.

    A fair deal of people are fluent in more than three languages, yes, but it is rarer than trilingual. It is very rare to be fluent in more than five and it would then fit another background than Bond. Bond is already an expert marksman, first class hand to hand fighter, he has knowledge as an operative. Making him fluent in many languages, I find it a bit much, a bit too close to a know-it-all, something Bond should not be. So O am all for him to be trilingual and to have enough notions of say Italian and Spanish to be able to get along in basic conversations. But make him know Oriental languages, Russian, Arabic, and know them apparently currently, that is pushing a bit.
  • Posts: 2,059
    ^^ Ludovico, I agree with all that. I was just curious why 3 would be the limit for Bond, it doesn't sound a lot to me. (Unless you mean native-like fluency in which case even three is quite a lot.) But certainly being fluent in lots and lots of languages would seem ridiculously superhuman, and even more so if the languages weren't even related. (For someone already fluent in French learning, say, Spanish would be far easier, you don't have to start from scratch.)
  • Posts: 13,157
    Very interesting lists. Thank you. More of this may well come out in future films, one can only hope.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    I don't know if it has been mentioned yet, but in LALD Bond speaks some Italian while conversing with both Ms. Caruso and Moneypenny at the beginning of the film.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 9,567
    Then he starts speaking French to her, and when she looks surprised he simply says "My mother was French."

    She's Swiss actually.
  • SandySandy Somewhere in Europe
    Posts: 4,012
    Ludovico wrote:
    Tuulia wrote:
    Ludovico wrote:

    Yes I remember the Bond from the novel being fluent in French and German. I don't think he should be fluent in more than three languages, it would look too far fetched.

    Just curious, why would it be too far fetched for him? Being fluent in three languages is not that uncommon and so being fluent in more than three doesn't sound far fetched at all to me.

    A fair deal of people are fluent in more than three languages, yes, but it is rarer than trilingual. It is very rare to be fluent in more than five and it would then fit another background than Bond. Bond is already an expert marksman, first class hand to hand fighter, he has knowledge as an operative. Making him fluent in many languages, I find it a bit much, a bit too close to a know-it-all, something Bond should not be. So O am all for him to be trilingual and to have enough notions of say Italian and Spanish to be able to get along in basic conversations. But make him know Oriental languages, Russian, Arabic, and know them apparently currently, that is pushing a bit.

    I'm fairly fluent in 5 languages and I don't think that's uncommon. I remember the dossier from CR said something about Bond's language skills.
    RC7 wrote:
    Then he starts speaking French to her, and when she looks surprised he simply says "My mother was French."

    She's Swiss actually.

    You took the words from my fingers.
  • Posts: 11,305
    Tuulia wrote:
    ^^ Ludovico, I agree with all that. I was just curious why 3 would be the limit for Bond, it doesn't sound a lot to me. (Unless you mean native-like fluency in which case even three is quite a lot.) But certainly being fluent in lots and lots of languages would seem ridiculously superhuman, and even more so if the languages weren't even related. (For someone already fluent in French learning, say, Spanish would be far easier, you don't have to start from scratch.)

    Yes, that is what I meant. i think it is plausible that Bond speaks French and German like a native (with a Swiss accent).
  • Posts: 2,059
    ^^ Ok, I see. We were talking about slightly different things then. :)
  • MrBondMrBond Station S
    Posts: 2,026
    In the book "James Bond The Secret World of 007" it says Bond knows the following languages:
    French (fluent)
    German (fluent)
    Italian
    Greek
    Czech
    Russian

    And he presumably he knows Japanese and some bits of Spanish.
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