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Parseltongue could only be spoken by certain wizards such as Gaunts, Voldemort, Harry (temporarily) and Slytherin. Why couldn't it taught like French or Latin? Why wasn't it a subject in Hogwarts? Ron could mimic it to open Chamber of Secrets. During the 6th book Harry visits Gaunt's house with Dumbledore in memory where he sees them talking in parseltongue. Could Dumbledore understand them and how?

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  • I count three questions here. "Why can't you learn parseltongue" is a good question, which I cover partially in my answer here. "Why isn't it a subject at Hogwarts" is covered here. "How could Dumbledore understand parseltongue" is covered here. You should edit your question to focus on the first one Jul 31, 2015 at 17:18
  • @JasonBaker All three could be covered by a single question like "Can Parseltongue be learned like normal languages?" If it can't, it would be obvious why it isn't taught in a class, and if it can, then Dumbledore's knowledge of it is obvious: he simply learned it.
    – Nerrolken
    Jul 31, 2015 at 17:21
  • Parseltongue could not be taught as a language because it was passed down via the Slytherin blood line. Ostensibly, it should be impossible for Dumbledore to speak Parseltongue. JKR explains his ability to understand Parseltongue as being due to his sheer brilliance. Jul 31, 2015 at 17:30
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    @Slytherincess: there's a world of difference between being able to hear (and understand) a human speaking Parseltongue, and being able to hear a snake speak at all, in any language. Dumbledore could do the former, but Chamber of Secrets shows that he couldn't do the latter.
    – Martha
    Jul 31, 2015 at 18:27
  • If it can't be learnt, Parseltongue can at least be imitated, as demonstrated in The Deathly Hallows when Ron opens the Chamber of Secrets.
    – Dragona13
    Jul 31, 2015 at 18:51

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