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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old May 6 2010, 05:31 PM   #16
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

I just prefer to label the TUC scene as "apocryphal" and say that yes, Nyota Prime was an expert in languages just like the new one. It seems stupid to me that she wouldn't know Klingon, the language of the main enemy of the Federation.
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Old May 6 2010, 06:03 PM   #17
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

Captain Rob wrote: View Post
I've got to agree with you guys about Uhura. For her to be where she was, she had to be all of those things. I believe that alot of the new stuff came from Nichelle Nichols herself. How do we get that scene from TUC striken from canon.
Yes, Nichelle Nichols has long claimed that Uhura was originally supposed to be a skilled linguist:

According to the biography Gene and I developed for my character, Uhura was more than an intergalactic phone operator. As head of Communications, she commanded a corps of largely unseen communications technicians, linguists, and other specialists who worked in the bowels of Enterprise, in the "comm-center". A linguistics scholar and a top graduate of Starfleet Academy, she was a protege of Mr. Spock, whom she admired for his daring, his intelligence, his stoicism, and especially for his logic.
(Beyond Uhura, 144-145)

She didn't like the "Uhura can't speak Klingon" scene in TUC. According to her, Uhura was first supposed to give a speech in Klingon, but they wanted to add more humor to the movie, so they scrapped it and replaced it with the humorous scen of Uhura looking for the right word in Klingon.
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Old May 6 2010, 07:22 PM   #18
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

DevilEyes wrote: View Post
... Uhura was originally supposed to be a skilled linguist ...
Maybe even a cunning linguist.

(I'm sorry, but someone had to say it.)

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Old May 6 2010, 08:06 PM   #19
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

Thanks for the quote, DevilEyes

I think the Bad Robot bods must have read Nichelle's book, or gotten it straight from her - there's so much from that quote in STXI (although they took the Spock thing a few steps further, he was her teacher and she his top student)

And something else I've thought of: Didn't Uhura break a Romulan code in "Ballence of Terror"? Or did she give it to Spock to decode? I can't remeber OTOH.
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Old May 6 2010, 08:15 PM   #20
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

I think she gave it to Spock to decode.
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Old May 6 2010, 09:15 PM   #21
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

Maybe even a cunning linguist.
Note how in the new movie, Saldana deliberately fumbles the pronunciation of "aural" in this line to the mentor of her character:

"And did I not, on multiple occassions, demonstrate exceptional aural sensitivity..?"


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Old May 6 2010, 09:46 PM   #22
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
DevilEyes wrote: View Post
... Uhura was originally supposed to be a skilled linguist ...
Maybe even a cunning linguist.

(I'm sorry, but someone had to say it.)

Took freakin' long enough, too...

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Old May 6 2010, 09:50 PM   #23
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

There is a huge difference between being a linguist and being a translator. Linguists formally study various elements of language, not necessarily foreign languages and translation. Like many linguists, I am a linguist but not a translator. Most linguists do not even venture into foreign languages unless they are doing comparative/historical linguistics or finding a unifying theme among syntax and phonology.

From what I can tell, Hoshi Sato is a linguist since she developed the syntactic and phonetic algorithms for the Universal Translator, and apparently neo-Uhura studied xenolinguisitics. But Uhura [prime] didn't do any of this and merely works the Comm system. This doesn't make her a linguist and I have never seen any evidence to suggest that she has any formal linguistics training.
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Old May 6 2010, 09:52 PM   #24
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Maybe even a cunning linguist.

(I'm sorry, but someone had to say it.)
Yeah, but you waited too long! I lost a bet that it would be within the first ten posts!

Anyway, I don't think Uhura was any kind of linguist (there's no evidence for it anywhere in TOS) and I don't think there was any need for her to be. I've never quite understood this argument that if she's not some kind of language savant then she's just a glorified telephone operator. She's a communication specialist, an expert in communications procedures and systems (including the maintenance and repair of same). That's nothing to sneeze at.
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Old May 6 2010, 10:05 PM   #25
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

But if all Uhura did was run and repair the space radio, then why did they ever bring her on away missions? Take "City on the Edge of Forever" for example - what use would she be on that team? At all?
Unless she's a xenolinguist or translator and can translate and decipher any writings found in the ancient ruins.

(in other news: nuUhura did not blow her way onto the Enterprise!!)
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Old May 6 2010, 10:42 PM   #26
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

Beyond Antares wrote: View Post
I just prefer to label the TUC scene as "apocryphal" and say that yes, Nyota Prime was an expert in languages just like the new one. It seems stupid to me that she wouldn't know Klingon, the language of the main enemy of the Federation.
Or maybe she was deliberately trying to sound bad, in order to play the part of a comical smuggler.

(In the novelization, the reason they can't use the UT is different: Valeris erases all records of the Klingon language from it.)
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Old May 6 2010, 10:52 PM   #27
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

od0_ital wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
DevilEyes wrote: View Post
... Uhura was originally supposed to be a skilled linguist ...
Maybe even a cunning linguist.

(I'm sorry, but someone had to say it.)

Took freakin' long enough, too...


Darned. I wanted to do it. Had been holding my tongue since the first post.
I've always wanted to see Prime Uhura announced as she enters the Bridge "Booty on the bridge!" and everyone stands to attention.
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Old May 6 2010, 11:30 PM   #28
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
But if all Uhura did was run and repair the space radio, then why did they ever bring her on away missions?
I don't believe anyone ever specifically said why. Are we speculating? Well, then I could speculate any number of reasons, none of which need have anything to do with her being any kind of linquist.

There is simply no evidence in TOS of her being any kind of language wizard - and at least one scene in the movies that shows she is not.
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Old May 6 2010, 11:45 PM   #29
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

greenguy wrote: View Post
There is a huge difference between being a linguist and being a translator. Linguists formally study various elements of language, not necessarily foreign languages and translation. Like many linguists, I am a linguist but not a translator. Most linguists do not even venture into foreign languages unless they are doing comparative/historical linguistics or finding a unifying theme among syntax and phonology.
Or not such a huge difference. I studied English Language and Literature (which is a foreign language to me) which included studying general linguistics as well as phonetics, morphology, syntax and history of the English language, as well as translation, and a bunch of other things (including comparative analysis). I would say that I am a linguist since I studied a language at the University, and I am or have been a translator since I've worked as a translator. I fail to see how being a translator precludes one from being a linguist, or vice versa.
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Old May 7 2010, 12:47 AM   #30
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Re: Was Uhura a linguist?

Jonas Grumby wrote: View Post
KingDaniel wrote: View Post
But if all Uhura did was run and repair the space radio, then why did they ever bring her on away missions?
I don't believe anyone ever specifically said why.
I believe in addition to being a communications systems expert, she was also a mid rank general bridge officer. She was on the landing party during "Mirror Mirror." Kirk assigned her to navigation with out a pause and when we first saw her she was dressed in command gold-green so Kirk might have just move her to the comm station from somewhere else.

Hows that for Fan~Wank~A~Doo.
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