Celebrities speaking languages

Many successful people speak various languages. Not only does it help in their job, it also opens the door to understanding different cultures and enjoying other countries much deeper.
And if that was not enough yet: studies have been showing that speaking several languages is one of the best exercises your brain can get. Even up to postponing the onset of Alzheimer's by 4 to 5 years.

Novak Đoković


Not only has Djokovic conquered the world of tennis, this elite sportsman has also mastered six or seven languages. He modestly classifies this great feat as "enough to communicate with people", nothing more and explains his passion for languages with a Serbian saying: “The more languages you know, the more is your worth as a person.” In fact, this spectrum ranges from French to English, including German, Italian, Arabic and Russian. Ever ambitious, he hopes to extend his knowledge of Chinese characters from a couple to 1000 or even 2000. He goes on to explain that the beauty lies in the endless learning process, seeing each misunderstanding as an opportunity to learn more.

Image by Andrew Campbell (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Novak_Djokovic_%2834808147273%29.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons

Audrey Hepburn


She was not only an enduring symbol of elegance but also a language enthusiast. Besides her native English and Dutch, Audrey spoke French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish fluently.

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Diane Kruger


Diane Kruger was born and raised in Germany, and is therefore a native German speaker. She now lives in America and speaks fluent English, but she is actually also fluent in French thanks to modelling in Paris earlier in her career. You can see her impressive language skills in the French film Anything for Her (Pour Elle in French).

Image by Georges Biard derivative work: Keraunoscopia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuva Novotny


A Swedish-born actress, who found her home in both Denmark and Norway, speaks all Scandinavian languages fluently. Being born to a Swedish mother and a Czech father, Tuva grew up bilingually. She also speaks English and has played in several English-speaking films.

Image by Ministry of Broadcast and Media (India) (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/db/Tuva_Novotny_at_a_press_conference_at_Black_Box.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons

Ben Affleck


Ben Affleck spent a big part of his childhood life living in Mexico, so it is of no surprise that he speaks fluent Spanish.

Image by Gene Bromberg (benaffleck7-2-1) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Jodie Foster


Foster attended a French-language prep school, the Lycée Français de Los Angeles, and graduated in 1980. She frequently stayed and worked in France as a teenager, and speaks French fluently. Due to her French fluency, Foster has dubbed herself in French-language versions of most of her films. In 2004, she took a minor role in the French WWI film, A Very Long Engagement. She also understands German and Spanish and can converse in Italian.

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Mick Jagger


Besides his native English, Mick Jagger is also fluent in French. When he was a young boy he spent his vacations with his family in France, the same country he owns a castle.

Image by Kronos at it.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons

Queen Silvia


Despite the fact that most of the members of royal families speak at least two foreign languages, no one can beat Queen Silvia of Sweden, who can hold speaches in six languages, and is nearly fluent in Swedish sign language. Born to a German father and Brasilian mother, her Majesty already spoke three languages, besides her native German and Portuguese, when she moved to Sweden. At the age of 32 she god married to the King and learned Swedish.

Image by Frankie Fouganthin (derivative work) (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6c/Queen_Silvia_of_Sweden%2C_June_8%2C_2013_%28cropped%29.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons

Arnold Schwarzenegger


Arnold Schwarzenegger has an accent so you may have already assumed he knew a second language. Well, he does! Arnold who is originally from Austria speaks German as well.

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Natalie Portman


One of the most stunning bilingual celebrities around, Natalie Portman is actually a multilingual star who has several languages under her belt. The Oscar-winning actress is fluent in Japanese, German and Spanish, also gets away with a light sprinkling of French, even though it's not fluent, and sometimes gives interviews in her native language Hebrew.

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Colin Firth


While Firth played a speech -riddled leader in the movie, The King's Speech, Colin is actually really skilful in rhetoric when he is living his real life. The British-born speaks fluent Italian. An English gentleman, international movie star and bilingual celebrity - the man has it down to the last syllable and his pronunciation is most eloquent. In 1997 he married the Italian film producer/director Livia Giuggioli and lives in both London and Italy. He speaks the language proficiently and says: 'It's wonderful to have an excuse to learn a language. My wife's English is better than my Italian will ever be. But, if you're going to live your life with someone you should, as a mark of respect, try to learn their way of conceptualising things.

Image by Rathika Mawtus [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

Bradley Cooper


Bradley Cooper's language skills remained relatively unknown until a 2011 interview that was promoting The Hangover 2, where he gave the whole interview in fluent French. Cooper picked up the language while enrolled in a study abroad program in college. Not thinking about becoming an actor or part of the bilingual celebrities pack back in his college days, Cooper rather spent his time as an exchange student in France, learning the language, and probably picking up the girls who fainted at his feet when he even glanced in their direction. When asked why French, he said: 'When I was a kid, I remember watching Chariots of Fire,' 'And French is the official language of the Olympics. So there's a scene where a guy was speaking French and I thought, 'Man, that sounds so cool. I want to learn French.'

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Colombian singer, Shakira, is of Spanish and Italian ancestry, and is fluent in both languages. The pop star is also fluent in Portuguese, Arabic, and English.

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Monica Bellucci


Besides being one of the most beautiful women in the world, Monica Bellucci also speaks a variety of languages. The Italian actress is fluent in English, French and Spanish, and knows some Serbian and Farsi as well. Since she has played in all these languages, it can be said that Monica is a real multilingual star. About her talent for languages she says: “I have a good ear, that’s for sure.”

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Gwyneth Paltrow


Gwyneth Paltrow speaks fluent Spanish. She learned the language while spending a year as a foreign exchange student during her high school years. She says she fell in love with the country and vowed to learn Spanish proficiently. She still spends a lot of time there, and true to word, now speaks it to a very high level. She says she's trying to pass on her language skills to her children too. Besides being fluent in Spanish, Paltrow mastered French.

Image by Andrea Raffin [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mila Kunis


Born in the now-Ukrainian city Czernowitz, Mila Kunis speaks fluent Russian, still speaking it at home with her grandparents and parents. She explains that, to her, the language is full of emotion and passion. One of the most interesting discoveries that her bilingualism has led her to, is the way that translators reformulate questions for her in interviews, either improving, or missing, the sense of the question. Ever mischevious, she also admits to waiting until the end of the journey to tell her drivers that she understands everything that they are saying about her!

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J.K. Rowling


The author of the Harry Potter books was a French teacher prior to concentrating on her writing career. She also has French ancestry, and is said to speak impeccable French. Her knowledge of the language is actually evident in many of the fabricated words and names that she included in the stories, which have French as their basis. Examples are Beauxbatons, which means beautiful wands, Fleur Delacour from 'fleur' meaning flower and 'delacour' meaning 'of the court' and Malfoy, from the French phrase 'mal foi' (meaning bad faith).

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Viggo Mortensen


The origins of Viggo Mortensen's name may seem difficult to place, which makes sense when one considers the actor's background. Born to an American mother and Danish father, who met in Norway, Viggo lived in Venezuela, Denmark and Argentina, all before the age of eleven. Thereafter, he moved to New York. Viggo's globe-trotting childhood has afforded him fluency in English, Danish and Spanish, conversational ability in French and Italian and an understanding of Swedish and Norwegian.

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Sandra Bullock


Even though she was born in the United States, Sandra Bullock, whose mother was a German opera singer, also speaks fluent German. In 2000, the brunette actress won a Bambi Award (Germany's version of the Oscars) and gave her acceptance speech in German.

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Will Smith


Will Smith speaks Spanish fluently. After his role in Seven Pounds, when Will Smith played a fluent Spanish-speaking role, fans were delighted to see that Smith was very well-versed in the language, and pulled off the character extremely well. Smith gave his first interview in Spanish in 2000, and still does them presently.

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Hugh Laurie


James Hugh Calum Laurie, known as Hugh Laurie, is an English actor, comedian, writer, musician and director. He speaks French, German and Spanish and learned all three at the Dragon School and Eton. He said in an interview that he'd like to be fluent in Italian because 'it's a beautiful language'.

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