Study Guide

The Goose Girl Language and Communication

By Shannon Hale

Language and Communication

Hello. Hola. Ni hao. Hallo. Bonjour. Guten Tag. Ciao. You might already know that we just gave you a bunch of ways to say hello in different languages, but do you know how to say hi in horse or goose? How about wind or fire? Anyone? In The Goose Girl, people are born with one type of language: (1) people-speaking, (2) animal-speaking, or (3) nature-speaking.

Ani's mom (ahem, the queen) and most rulers have the first, but Ani and her aunt have the second. As for the 3rd? That's the rarest speech of all because it means people—like Enna—can hear the wind, fire, or trees talking to them. Throughout the book, we see different examples of these language skills, but—unlike the Kildenree people—Ani never thinks less of anyone for knowing one language over another.

Questions About Language and Communication

  1. Think about the way Ani communicates with the animals. How does this compare to how she talks to humans? Which one does she feel more comfortable around? Why?
  2. Why do the Kildenreans not trust animal-speakers? Why is this (or nature-speaking) made fun of by some people in the book?
  3. If you could be a people-speaker, animal-speaker, or nature-speaker, which would you be? What would be the advantages of each?
  4. Is Ani hindered because she is an animal-speaker? How does it help her?

Chew on This

At first it seems like Ani's animal-speaking might be a problem, but it actually helps her learn a lot about herself.

While Ani's animal-speaking skill is cool, it hinders her from becoming a trustworthy and regal princess.

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