Multilingual superheroes

June 24, 2011

I’m not really into superhero movies. I mean, they’re OK, but I’d rather watch a drama or something that really makes me think deeply about life. But every now and again, when your other half says, “It’s Friday night. Let’s go to a movie!” You just say yes. He loves superhero movies about as much as I love languages. He knows all the stories, all the heroes, all the villains, when the movies came out, who did the sound tracks, how the special effects were done. Really, it’s stunning how much useless information he can carry around in that brain.

But then again, he thinks that all the stuff I carry around in my brain about grammar, sentence structure, etymology and verbs is pretty useless.

Though part of me would like to scoff and say “WhatEVAH!” I also know which one of us has better conversations at dinner parties where the guests aren’t all linguists or language teachers.

But tonight, we both won. I had no idea there was such a thing as a multilingual superhero movie. Let alone a multilingual comic book superhero movie. Until tonight.

French, Spanish, German, Russian and English. X-men is a veritable smorgasbord of modern languages.

Good guys. Bad guys. Drama. Love. Action… and multilingualism. Now that’s a good Friday night.

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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.

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