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21 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Gandalf identify the troll's swords?

Gandalf was unable to read the runes because the swords were covered with dried goblin-blood As first written and published in The Hobbit, Gandalf was a lot less developed, and he was indeed unable to ...
ibid's user avatar
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19 votes
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Fantasy novel read in the 80s or early 90s. Protagonists visit a land where people only speak by quoting their holy book

In Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun from the 1980s the protagonist Severian visits the land of the Ascians Although Ascian is their mother tongue, adult Ascians do not understand plain Ascian ...
Andrew's user avatar
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15 votes
Accepted

When was the first time a human spoke an alien language in Star Trek, without the use of the Universal Translator?

Not sure about other alien languages off the top of my head, but I believe the first instance of a human speaking Klingon was Kirk saying the words "Maltz... activate beam!" in that language ...
LogicDictates's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Short story about an alien glossary of untranslatable terms

"Confluence", a short story by Brian Aldiss which was also the answer to the question Scifi short story that is only dictionary entries, including a word for eating maternal grandmothers. It ...
user14111's user avatar
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4 votes
Accepted

Vintage movie about early modern humans

I'm sure this is a distorted memory of either One Million B.C. (1940) or the remake One Million Years B.C. (1966) A language of grunts, and various power struggles for leadership of the tribe Early ...
Pete's user avatar
  • 16.9k
4 votes

SF story about a multi-generational colonist ship?

If you can accept a space station instead of a ship, "Incommunicado" by Katherine MacLean is a perfect match for the description. There are two stations working together, Pluto Station and ...
Occam Shave's user avatar
  • 4,507
2 votes
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Is there an SF story on the theme of language that does NOT use the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis?

Yes, there are several. While many SF stories about language use the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis as a starting point, like Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Delany's Babel-17, there are other ways to use ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 49.3k
1 vote

Looking for more information on a Wuxia novel term (返老還童)

The oldest novel I know that used that term was by Jin Yong, a wuxia author. He is the one who started the wuxia era in Chinese novels. His work existed pre-"Jade Dynasty", the one that ...
someoneuseless's user avatar

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