Montague ‘Monty Hill’ Glupie is the main character in Children of Little Might. He has high functioning autism and is a bit of a translation buff. On my Twitter account I explained how many languages I personally speak. Four. English, German, French and Dutch.
But Monty Hill, as he likes to be called, speaks many more languages. He uncovered that there are about 6500 languages worldwide. Some of them, such as Chinese or English, are very popular. Others are far less so.
Of those 6500 Monty speaks 15 fluently. In another 85 languages he’s able to express himself in the most basic sense.
“Me babble English,” is a good example of that. He may not know all the words to use, but local people understand what he means and will answer him.
The rest of the languages, he knows only a few words and mostly numbers.
“Tisíc a jedno,” is one thousand and one in Czech. Drie, again, is three in Dutch.
Monty loves languages. Me? Yes, I speak four languages (of which 3 fluently) and I know how to write well in two, but that doesn’t mean I’m a language buff. Au contraire, even. I’m not so much into languages as I needed to be for this upcoming book.
In the old days, you used a dictionary to get translations. That meant that for every language you wanted to use, you needed a separate dictionary. Since I also use Indian languages and sometimes even dialects, it means that of a lot of languages, I wouldn’t be able to find anything.
Unless I used internet. And more specifically: Google. Google Translate is a handy tool that helps me for specific words. Sentences are a bit more difficult, because it fails to place the words in the correct order, but for specific words, Google Translate is a great help. I select my mother tongue, choose the language for the word I need and press Enter.
The result is a translation that’s probably not always on the dot (to be fair, it’s probably not very accurate in most translations), but that doesn’t have to be. I don’t need literal translations; I need something that conveys the message and tells us something about who he is. That’s why he will rarely use the word ‘stupid’, but instead switch to ‘glupi’, which is ‘stupid’ in Polish (and with an extra e at the end, also his last name).
Languages differentiates Monty from most other people within Children of Little Might. Words are important to him and define who he is in a way that allows me to show his autism through those words.
But we talk about Monty – and who he is – another time. Also, we will look in a future article on why I gave Monty autism.
Children of Little Might, published by RethAskew somewhere in 2019 (no specific date yet, we’re still in the editing phase), is my 46st book, but it is also my literary fiction debut. And I’m really looking forward to that.
So, if you want to know more, or have questions, please don’t hesitate to leave them behind in the comments. I try to answer them.