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Every character on Lost speaks some form or variant of a language. The predominant language spoken on the original broadcasts of the show is American English, though variants of this language, as well as entirely different languages are used, often with English subtitles. Every main character on the show speaks at least some English. Several characters can speak up to four other languages on the show besides English (Naomi, Mikhail and Danielle).


Characters and languages

Below is a list of important characters who speak languages other than English.

Character Languages

Ana Lucia Cortez
English, Spanish
Ana Lucia primarily speaks English. She also speaks Spanish fluently, as shown in a conversation with her mother. ("Collision") It is unknown which is her native language.

Benjamin Linus
English, Turkish, Arabic, Latin
Ben primarily speaks English. However, he was also shown to speak Turkish when he was confronted by two Bedouins, and also speaks Arabic. ("The Shape of Things to Come") It is possible that Ben can speak fluent Latin, as we know from Juliet that all Others must speak this language. ("Jughead")

Charles Widmore
English, Latin
While Widmore almost exclusively speaks English, he was shown to be fluent in Latin, which is the secret language of the Others. ("Jughead")

Charlotte Lewis
English, Korean, French
Charlotte primarily speaks English. However, she has been shown to read in several different languages, including French ("Confirmed Dead"), and also speaks Korean, as shown when confronted by Jin. ("Something Nice Back Home")

Danielle Rousseau
English, French, Italian, German, Spanish
Rousseau was first heard speaking French over a distress signal ("Pilot, Part 2"), and it is presumed to be her native language. She was also shown to know several other languages when questioning Sayid. ("Solitary") However, she also speaks English fluently, and uses it to communicate with the other survivors regularly.

English, Japanese
Dogen is an Other in a position of authority at the Temple who speaks Japanese, which is translated to English by Lennon. While he can speak English, he does not like the way it "tastes on [his] tongue."

Mr. Eko
English, Yoruba
Though he generally uses English, even while talking with other Nigerians, Eko also speaks another of Nigeria's major languages. This is most likely Yoruba, as "Eko" and his brother's name "Yemi" are both names from traditional Yoruba. ("The 23rd Psalm")

Hugo "Hurley" Reyes
English, Spanish
Though he prominently speaks English, Hurley has also been shown to know Spanish, as he is the original owner of the Spanish comic book, and understands what Naomi says when she arrives on the Island. ("The Brig") He is also born to a Hispanic family living in the US.

English, Russian, Latin (possibly)
Even though she primarily uses English, Ilana was able to understand communicate with a nurse and Jacob. ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2") Also she at least understands Latin, as she understood what Richard answered to her question "What lies in the shadow of the statue?". ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")

English, Russian, Korean, Greek (possibly)
Though Jacob speaks English as his primary language, he fluently spoke Russian while visiting Ilana in the hospital and spoke Korean to Sun and Jin at their wedding, even being commented by Jin that he speaks excellent Korean. He also has the ability to (at the very least) read and write Greek as evidenced by his work on the tapestry in his quarters in the statue.("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")

Jin-Soo Kwon
Korean, English
Jin's primary language was Korean, as he had grown up and lived in Korea all his life, never having the need to speak another language. This caused a language barrier between him and other English speakers on the island. After his wife revealed that she could speak English ("...In Translation"), he was initially enraged, but finally accepted the fact, and allowed her to begin to teach him. ("Exodus, Part 2") His ability to speak English quickly developed, and by three years later, he was a fluent speaker. ("LaFleur")

Juliet Burke
English, Latin
Juliet's primary language is English, though she spoke Latin in "Jughead" when revealing Jones and Cunningham as Others. ("Jughead")

English, Japanese
Lennon is an Other in a position of authority at the Temple who translates Dogen's Japanese.

Mikhail Bakunin
English, Portuguese, Russian, Latin (possibly)
Mikhail generally speaks English, and uses this to communicate which his fellow Others and the survivors. However, he has also used Russian to speak with Beatrice Klugh so that the survivors would not understand their exchange. ("Enter 77") He also was able to translate Naomi's Portuguese, though he intentionally did so incorrectly. ("D.O.C.") Mikhail is Ukrainian, so it is possible that he also knows Ukrainian.("Enter 77") It is very possible that Mikhail can also speak Latin, as all Others should know this language. ("Jughead")

Arabic, English
Nadia's native language is presumably Arabic, as she was shown living in Iraq and speaking the language. ("Solitary") However, she was also seen in America on multiple occasions, speaking English fluently.

Naomi Dorrit
English, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish
Naomi's primary language is English, and she uses it to communicate with the survivors. However, she also seen speaking in several different languages, such as Portuguese, Chinese, and Spanish. ("D.O.C.")

Mr. Paik
Mr. Paik's native language is Korean. He has never been shown to speak any other languages. ("The Moth")

Richard Alpert
English, Latin
Richard primarily speaks English, though he has shown that he speaks Latin, possibly as it is the Others' secret language, when replying to Ilana's question "What lies in the shadow of the Statue?". ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")

Sayid Jarrah
English, Arabic, German, Spanish
Sayid's native language is presumably Arabic, as he was shown living in Iraq and speaking the language. ("Solitary") However, he also speaks perfect English, and uses this primarily on the island. He also speaks a little German as seen as his meeting with Elsa in a cafe. ("The Economist") He can also speak Spanish as he spoke it while working on the Build our Planet project in Santo Domingo. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")

Shannon Rutherford
English, French
Shannon primarily speaks English. She also learned some French, and was called upon the island to use it in order to decipher the distress signal sent out by Danielle Rousseau. ("Pilot, Part 2")

Sun-Hwa Kwon
English, Korean
Sun's native language is Korean. Throughout most of her life she spoke no other language. However, she soon started learning English under the tutelage of Jae Lee ("The Whole Truth"), and eventually became very fluent. However, she kept this a secret from Jin. Several weeks after crashing on the island, Sun revealed to everyone the fact that she spoke English ("...In Translation"), and then began using it almost exclusively, except with Jin, whom she began teaching English after his anger for her betrayal had subsided. ("Exodus, Part 2")


Michael recognizes Naomi's accent ("Meet Kevin Johnson")

Many characters have distinctive accents when speaking English, showing their countries of origin. Charlie speaks with an English accent, and is able to tell that Naomi hails from Manchester as well, judging from her Northern accent. ("Greatest Hits") Michael is able to discern this fact about Naomi as well, presumably judging from his time spent with Charlie. ("Meet Kevin Johnson") Widmore and some members of the Hostiles also use British accent while speaking. ("The Lie")  ("Jughead") Desmond uses a clear Scottish accent, an accent also used by many of his flashback characters. Desmond's ex-fiancee Ruth speaks with a slight Irish accent.

Gault's accent is Australian ("Ji Yeon")

Sawyer speaks English with a distinctive Southern accent (having hailed from Alabama). This is easily discernable by his fellow survivors, and sometimes draws insults from other survivors ("redneck man", "hillbilly").

Several characters speak English with a clear Australian accent. Claire is perhaps the most obvious of these, along with her family and most of her flashback characters, including Carole Littleton, Richard Malkin, and Lindsey. Captain Gault and Hendricks from the Kahana also speak with an Australian accent. Most Australian characters feature a New South Wales variation of Australian accents.

Several other characters speak with accents on the show. Jin and Sun speak English with a slight Korean accent, while Danielle Rousseau, as well as Robert and Montand, speak English with a French accent. Eko speaks with a deep, Nigerian timbre, and his brother Yemi speaks English similarly. Frank Lapidus speaks with a Yankee accent. Most other characters speak English with an American accent.

Language barriers

Ben struggles to be understood by the Bedouins ("The Shape of Things to Come")

Language barriers have caused some issues between characters of the show, because they are unable to understand one another. The most notable victim of a language barrier was Jin, because he was unable to speak English while his fellow castaways were. Sun had pretended to be unable to speak English, but was later revealed to be able to. ("...In Translation") Jin later began overcoming this barrier with the help of Sun. ("Exodus, Part 2") By three years later, Jin was perfectly fluent in English. ("LaFleur")

Another, more minor, language barrier existed between Ben and the Bedouins after he turned the frozen wheel and ended up in the Sahara desert. While being held at gunpoint, Ben tried to speak English with the two of them, and they appeared to not understand. Ben then began speaking Turkish, asking them wether they knew Turkish (tr: Türkçe biliyor musunuz?). After incapacitating both of them, Ben learned that one did speak at least partial English (Surrender!). He sarcastically noted this, and then knocked out the Bedouin with the butt of his gun. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

Hiding a language

Kate learns that Sun speaks English. ("Hearts and Minds")

Another minor recurring theme is a character keeping a language secret. The most notable occurrence was Sun's knowledge of English. She kept this a secret from her husband and the other survivors. She couldn't live with the same language barrier her husband lived with and finally opened up to Michael, whilst trying to defend her husband.("House of the Rising Sun") After a short period, she unwillingly had to admit the truth to Kate, after it became clear she had understood a comment by Kate in English.("Hearts and Minds")
Her final act was revealing it to everybody at the beach, in order to keep her husband and Michael from fighting. ("...In Translation") Jin at first thought of this as a betrayal, but eventually accepted it as an advantage over his barrier. He used her as translator and as an English teacher.

Charlotte is confronted by Jin, revealing that she speaks Korean. ("Something Nice Back Home")

Another minor occurrence was Charlotte's knowledge of Korean. She reacted in a way that made Jin suspicious that she may understand his and Sun's conversation, while journeying to and at the Staff. He finally confronted her, revealing that he saw through her, and demanded a safe place on the Kahana for Sun.("Something Nice Back Home") Jin later used Charlotte as a translator, when trying to communicate with Sawyer's group during the time flashes. ("This Place Is Death")

Secret languages

Cunningham and Juliet talk in Latin. ("Jughead")

The Others' have been shown to use multiple secret languages, most notably Latin. The first mentioning of this was when Cunningham and Jones were held hostages by Locke, Sawyer and Juliet, who used to communicate so their captors won't understand them, though they were understood Juliet, who being a former Other spoke the language and successfully revealed them as Others. Juliet later explained that the reason the Others speak Latin is because they consider it "the language of the enlightened". ("Jughead") Richard Alpert was also shown to speak it, when answering to Ilana's question "What lies in the shadow of the Statue?". ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")
Beside Latin, the Others have also used Russian to communicate among themselves. It was used by Beatrice Klugh and Mikhail Bakunin when they were captured by Sayid, Locke and Kate at the Flame, Bea used it to ask Mikhail to shoot her, something that he hesitantly does. ("Enter 77") Dogan used Japanese to speak with Lennon even though he spoke and understood English perfectly. Though he claims that he doesn't speak it because he doesn't like the language, his usage of Japanese had the same role as the Others' previous uses of Latin and Russian, as only he and Lennon understood what Dogan said. ("LA X, Parts 1 & 2")

Charlotte and her French translator in Medenine. ("Confirmed Dead")


Many of the characters on the show have worked as translators for others, thus helping them overcome their language barrier. Some such as Charlotte's French translator worked as professional translators. The most prominent example are the people that translated English to Jin and Jin's Korean for others. This role primarily belonged to Sun, though after her departure from the Island ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3"), Jin used Charlotte as his translator revealing to the rest of the survivors that she spoke Korean. ("This Place Is Death") Another prominent example includes the survivors using Shannon to translate Rousseau's distress call and later Shannon helping Sayid translate Rousseau's maps and notes. ("Pilot, Part 2")  ("Whatever the Case May Be")

Shannon listening to Rousseau's signal. ("Pilot, Part 2")

Other examples include Charlotte's above-mentioned French translator, though as it was confirmed that Charlotte at least understood the language, it is possible she only served as a translator to French but not the other way around. ("Confirmed Dead") A more recent occurrence of character being present for translating is Lennon, an Other who was used by Dogen to translate his Japanese to Jack, Hurley, Jin and Kate, though he didn't translate English back to Dogen, who later revealed that he actually spoke the language though didn't like using it. ("LA X, Parts 1 & 2")

This article uses material from the "Character languages" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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