Politicians speaking other languages

June 19, 2013 at 10:07 am

Here, for your entertainment, is a selection of clips of politicians, past and present, speaking foreign languages.

Mitt Romney speaking French

Vladimir Putin speaking English

Would you believe the Russian leader speaks good English? He kept that a secret.

Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking German

With a lovely Austrian accent! Did you know that another actor was used to dub his movies into German? His accent wasn’t considered brutal enough for characters like the T-800.

John Kerry speaking French

He jokes at the end of the speech that he has to revert to English or he will not be allowed home. Perhaps that explains why he refused to speak French at a later press conference in Canada.

Or perhaps he is still sensitive about the mockery he received from Republicans during the 2004 presidential race for his fondness for French culture. At the time, France was strongly against the invasion of Iraq so anything vaguely French was, by extension, unpatriotic. Freedom Fries, anyone?

George Bush speaking Spanish

The less said about this, the better. Perhaps he could take some tips from his brother.

Nicholas Sarkozy speaking English

Meanwhile, Sarkozy’s erstwhile political partner Angela Merkel will not speak publicly in English. Growing up in the DDR, she once joked that she would read a British socialist newspaper called the Morning Star to practise her English.

Nick Clegg speaking Spanish

…and Dutch

British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has Dutch ancestry and a Spanish wife. Is there a better way to learn a language?

Barack Obama speaking Bahasa Indonesia

Sadly there is no video of this, but there has been plenty of debate over whether the US President can speak the language. He lived in Indonesia for four years, from the age of six to ten, and went to school with local children. It would be very unusual if he didn’t pick up a good, if childish, grasp of the language during that time.

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