TALENT AND SKILL THESAURUS

A KNACK FOR LANGUAGES



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HELPFUL TIP:

When planning a cast member's talents and skills, think about how genetics, personality traits (both positive attributes and flaws), past experiences, environment, and the character's roles (within a family, a community, and society) all factor into what strengths may form. These special qualities should tie into the story, not only to make the character interesting but also to help him achieve his goal.
DEFINITION:
Being able to learn non-native languages

DESCRIPTION:
Some people have an ear for languages. They naturally pick up on patterns and nuances, quickly learn to understand other languages, and are able to speak them fluently in record time. A knack for languages can also enable people to tune into cultural cues, idioms, and the humor of a culture, which can be difficult for outsiders to grasp.

BENEFICIAL STRENGTHS OR ABILITIES:
Recognizing patterns
Having a basic understanding of languages and linguistics
Having good hearing

POSITIVE TRAITS SUITED FOR THIS SKILL OR TALENT:

NEGATIVE TRAITS SUITED FOR THIS SKILL OR TALENT:

REQUIRED RESOURCES AND TRAINING:
Languages can be learned in isolation, but experts agree that one of the best ways to become fluent in a foreign language is to immerse oneself in the culture. To this end, traveling and being surrounded by certain cultures and languages can be the quickest and most effective way to learn.

Experts also say that people who learn multiple languages as children are more likely to pick up others easier when they’re older. If you want to add credibility to your character’s gift with languages, maybe having him be bilingual as a child is a way to start.

ASSOCIATED STEREOTYPES AND PERCEPTIONS:
That if a person is able to navigate two or more languages effectively, they will be able to easily pick up any language (misconception)
That because one has the knack, learning languages requires little or no work to learn (misconception)
That once a character learns the words of a language they can communicate effectively as if nuances and cultural applications are unimportant (misconception)

SCENARIOS WHERE THIS SKILL MIGHT BE USEFUL:
As a translator
In a hostile takeover situation where one needs to be able to understand and speak the enemy’s language
Being thrust into a foreign culture and needing to assimilate quickly
When one is stuck in a foreign country
When one must flee one’s own country
When living in a melting pot culture where many languages are spoken
In an emergency situation when critical details must be relayed and time is of the essence (the scene of an accident, in a hospital ER, questioning witnesses at a crime scene, etc.)