Everyone speaks English to Alex?

Discuss the June 2017 Book of the Month, Superhighway by Alex Fayman. Superhighway is the first book in the Superhighway Trilogy, so feel free to use this forum to discuss not only the first book but also the other books in the series.

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Mailis
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Everyone speaks English to Alex?

Post by Mailis »

Did I miss something where there was explanation how Alex understands everyone or why everyone always seem to speak English right from the start to him? The Amsterdam Times newspaper he swipes seems to be in English. After falling asleep next to a dumpster he is wakened when a man named Stewart yells at him to get up before he gets arrested. In English seemingly. Everyone in the shelter talks in English and so on...

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Post by cristinaro »

Keen sense of observation! :) Let me find an explanation for you! Do you remember how Alex was able to access a huge amount of data on the spot? Maybe he used this in order to learn Dutch and we're simply not told. Plus, his intelligence is well above average. :) I'm just kidding. There are indeed some inconsistencies in the story.
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Post by gaporter »

Yeah, that bothered me too. It seemed like sloppy storytelling, to me.

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Post by kfwilson6 »

I noted this as well. I don't think it was that he learned other languages from the internet because of the way he had to sift through the information a file at a time so I think he could have learned other languages from the internet, but not instantaneously.

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Post by mamalui »

cristinaro wrote:
21 Feb 2018, 06:11
Keen sense of observation! :) Let me find an explanation for you! Do you remember how Alex was able to access a huge amount of data on the spot? Maybe he used this in order to learn Dutch and we're simply not told. Plus, his intelligence is well above average. :) I'm just kidding. There are indeed some inconsistencies in the story.
Well said.
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Post by desantismt_17 »

I didn't even think of this, but it's true. If Alex did indeed his internet ability to auto-translate everything he heard or read, that would have been really cool. It would have been nice to know if that were the case.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Post by Helpme71 »

Mailis wrote:
15 Feb 2018, 04:06
Did I miss something where there was explanation how Alex understands everyone or why everyone always seem to speak English right from the start to him? The Amsterdam Times newspaper he swipes seems to be in English. After falling asleep next to a dumpster he is wakened when a man named Stewart yells at him to get up before he gets arrested. In English seemingly. Everyone in the shelter talks in English and so on...
I agree with you on that. I noticed that as well when I was reading, and it was very disconcerting to me. There was no explanation as to why he could, all of a sudden, understand spoken and written Dutch. It was very off-putting to me, and helped further prevent me from being able to fully submerse myself in the story.
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Post by KRay93 »

It's a plausible explanation that his knowledge was acquired during his travels throughout the Internet, although there is never made explicit in history. In the same way, in most cases, Alex meets tourists who speak his own language, and even the person in charge of his home, a latin man, also speaks his same language.

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Post by FilmStar »

Yeah, looking back I'll admit I found that part weird how he was in foreign countries but yet everything and everyone was in English. There were no language barriers for him.

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Post by Jgideon »

You have some keen observation. I hadn't seen it that way but I think the book would've been more tasteful if the author had included other languages especially with the new people that Alex met in foreign countries.

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Post by holsam_87 »

KRay93 wrote:
03 May 2018, 11:17
It's a plausible explanation that his knowledge was acquired during his travels throughout the Internet, although there is never made explicit in history. In the same way, in most cases, Alex meets tourists who speak his own language, and even the person in charge of his home, a latin man, also speaks his same language.
That's possible, after all, he seemed absolutely enamored by the internet. He also seemed to really decisive decisions when choosing where he wanted to go, so maybe he made efforts to learn the languages in his youth since he was very intelligent.
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Post by chupke07 »

I immediately found that to be weird, but many books have the exact same inconsistency.

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Post by Storm+ »

This particular inconsistency bothered me a lot as well. It's really weird to me that, in a story based around the idea of the ability to go anywhere you wanted, all over the world, there was little representation of the vast amount of languages or cultural differences in the places Alex visits. I think that the author needs to either make it a part of Alex's ability to be able to understand data in any language (which could include code, a fun concept to play around with) or provide some other explanation for the inconsistency.

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Post by Eryn Bradshaw »

This really bothered me. While I live in Europe, I live in an English speaking country. I spoke to my husband though who was British about it. He said in Amsterdam, it's likely people are speaking in English, but to find a newspaper in English is probably rare unless you're international hotels or airports. However, the gangsters on the outskirts of Amsterdam probably would've spoken Dutch. As for the cafe owner in Switzerland, if I remember correctly, he spoke first and would've probably said something in Swish German before English. It was a bit sloppy in my opinion. It wouldn't have been so big of an issue if Fayman mentioned that Alex knew Dutch. But there was a line where a woman spoke "in perfect English" to Alex in the novel. What about the rest of the people?
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Post by dbulkley »

I didn’t catch this, but excellent point. Adds to the many things I didn’t like about it!
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