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Fictional Books with Words in a Foreign Language

I love to read. Every once in awhile, I'll come across small piece written in a foreign language. It is kind of awesome, if you can understand the word(s) without googling them. Anyway here is the list:

Book ~ Type ~ Language some phrases are in

Sisters of the Sword ~ Teen/kid's Historical Fiction ~ Japanese

Esperanza Rising ~ Kid's Historical Fiction ~ Spanish

Leviathan series ~ Teen/dystopia ~ German (quite a bit of it )

Clockwork Princess ~ Teen Fantasy ~ Welsh

Nightingale ~ Adult Historical Fiction ~ French

All the Light we cannot See ~ Adult Historical Fiction ~ French?

Perfect Chemistry ~ Teen/Adult Romance ~ Spanish

Also, the 39 clue books probably have pieces of a variety of different languages.

Does anyone know any other books to add to the list?

January 4, 2018



Peace and War - Russian Epic - Some parts are in French

Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull - German humorous novel - Parts in French, small parts in English and Italian


War and Peace, in English. You're right. It amazed me when first opening it in Russian to see that it, one of the very most famous Russian novels, begins in French. There's German and French in his Childhood, Boyhood, Youth, too, and probably in Anna Karenina, which I've never read.


A few more books to add to the list:

Pied Piper, by Nevil Shute: this is about rescuing orphans from France at the very beginning of World War II, and there is French used w/o translation in some of the dialogue. It could be considered propaganda for the British war effort, but as w/ almost all of his novels, it's a great story told extremely well--even if his most famous novel, On the Beach, was rather slow.

The Weathermonger, by Peter Dickinson. An "alternate history" fantasy novel about Britain plunged back into the dark ages. There's a good bit of Latin here, untranslated, at least in the British edition, used a little in conversation and also in a document or 2 completely in Latin. A good book, but the first two books in this trilogy (The Devil's Children, and Heartsease) are better--the series was written in reverse order from the order of events in the books, FWIW.

The Hidden Treasure of Glaston, by Eleanore M. Jewett, about 12th century Britain, w/ a Latin document (clue to the story's mystery) towards the end of the book; it seems to me that the document was untranslated in the book (but I suspect that I do not remember correctly).

A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, a post-apocalyptic SF novel in which the Catholic church becomes central to world affairs, and there is a good deal of untranslated Latin. A really beautifully written book. (I read it in high school w/o knowing Latin and enjoyed it very much; it's a bit better if you know Latin, of course; this page seems to be a fairly complete translation of the Latin, but I haven't checked it against the book.)

Is the Leviathan series you mention by Scott Westerfeld, or is it something else? If the former-- although I don't remember the German, the three books are very enjoyable.

(Wasn't All the Light We Cannot See marvelous? A couple of your suggestions that I've not read, I'll definitely take a look for.)


It is the one by Scott Westerfeld. At the end of first book maybe a bit into the second book, Deryl begins learning "Clanker". It is "a lot" compared to some of the other books I listed, although barely any compared to many of the books you guys have listed.There are probably around five sentences or so. I haven't read the books in years, so don't quote me.

All the Light We Cannot See was enchanting. It was impossible to put down!


[Better late than never, I hope.] Yes, I did read the book by Westerfeld--the whole series, actually, which my wife and I both really enjoyed.


And sometimes there are languages within languages: French passages in the Italian books I have read for example.


Out of tye Silent Planet and Perelandra by C.S. Lewis have snippets of Old Solar, a fictitious language.

I havent read it, but I understand the Watership Down by Richard Adams has a fictitious language spoken by the rabbits.

More down to earth, the novels by Gary Jennings, Aztec and The Journeyer are peppered with non-english. The former having ancient Aztec and Spanish, the latter, Italian, Arabic and Chinese if memory serves.

Last but not least, the Riverworld series by Phillip J. Farmer features some Esperanto, but it’s non-standard. It probably reflects a pidginization as its use spreads along the river.


The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek - WW1 satire - German

I've read the Russian translation when I was a kid, still remember some German swear words from there.


I once asked a similar question, only with a more strict condition - that there are two more or less balanced languages in the book.

You might find a few more interesting tips there: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/13526662


Percy jackson (all 10 books (including the second series))

they have bits and pieces of greek in there


There is a reasonable amount of French in Jane Eyre.


Any book I have ever read by Umberto Echo. He likes to throw in all sorts of language references, both living and dead languages. Also, if we Include fictional languages, all the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, for which he invented several languages: Tengwar, Silmarrion etc. In fictional languages, A Clockwork Orange contains Nadsat, a form of Russian influenced American slang created for the book by Anthony Burgess. Though not as comprehensive as a complete language, it is really well executed. Though it’s a short book, by the end of a Clockwork Orange I had picked up most of the Nadsat. I personally dislike it when authors throw in bits of foreign languages in their books without translation unless it serves the story or characters in some way, because I find it pretentious on the authors part. I agree though it is fun to pick up as a reader and I really enjoy seeing these lists!

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