Some people have a stereotype of celebrities: beautiful, rich, and perhaps not too intellectual.
That’s incorrect, of course. Some celebrities are very accomplished, including being polyglots, people who can speak or read in several languages. Many of these well-known people speak five or six languages.
- Canadian singer, songwriter Henry Kau speaks five languages, English, French, Mandarin, Korean and Cantonese.
- Oscar-winning actress, producer Natalie Portman speaks five languages, in addition to English, Hebrew, French, Japanese, German and Spanish. To top that off, she has a degree in psychology from prestigious Harvard University in the U.S.
- Singer-songwriter Shakira is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, and also somewhat in French and Arabic.
- Actor Viggo Mortensen can speak seven languages, including French, English, Spanish, Danish, Italian, Catalan and Arabic.
- In addition to her native language, Spanish, Penelope Cruz also speaks French, Italian and English.
- U.S. First Lady Melania Trump was born in Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) and speaks six languages, Slovenian, French, English, Italian, Serbian and German.
One of the top polyglots in the world is not quite a well-known celebrity.
In 1985, Canadian Powell Janulus claimed the Guinness world record for being fluent in 42 languages. To win, he had to pass a two-hour fluency test in each. His languages include English, French, Spanish, Italian Russian, Macedonian, Hindi, Cantonese, Armenian, and dozens of others.