6 Famous Women Who Speak Many Languages

The ability to speak more than one language is a vital skill in many areas of business, sport, and entertainment – after all, people are always much more receptive to what is being said when the speaker is using their own language. A person who is multilingual is known as a polyglot, but you won’t only find them among the ranks of diplomats or interpreters; in fact, some of the world’s most famous women can speak fluently in several languages, as these six examples show.

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn won the Best Actress Academy Award for Roman Holiday in 1954 and is also famous for her role in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. She was also known for her timeless elegance and beauty, but there was a lot more to this brilliant woman. Many people are unaware that Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium and served with the Belgian resistance against the Nazis in the Second World War. She also became a highly active UNICEF Ambassador, and this won her the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1993. Her language skills certainly came in useful during her many journeys to countries across the globe, and she was fluent in Dutch, English, Spanish, German, and French. Oh, and Italian, which always comes in useful on a Roman holiday of any kind.

Natalie Portman

In many ways, Natalie Portman is a natural successor to Audrey Hepburn, as she is among the most celebrated actresses of her generation and has already won the Best Actress Oscar for Black Swan, along with a further two nominations for the films Jackie and Closer. One other thing she shares with Audrey Hepburn, alongside her captivating screen presence, is an ability to speak multiple languages. Natalie is fluent in English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, and Hebrew, which is a testament to her formative years spent in Jerusalem. She has now made the move into directing films, as well as acting in them, so don’t be surprised to see her add a Best Director Oscar or two to her collection.

Shakira

Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll is one of those singers so famous that only one name is needed. She was already famed in her native Colombia before the infectious pop song ‘Whenever Wherever’ catapulted her to global stardom in 2002. A string of smashes have followed, including the single ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ which sold over four million records and 13 million digital downloads. One reason that Shakira is so phenomenally successful is that she can sing as well as speak in many languages, which is sure to go down well on her sell-out world tours. In fact, Shakira is fluent in Spanish, English, Italian, Portuguese as well as Catalan, the native language spoken by her soccer superstar partner, Barcelona’s Gerard Pique.

Diane Kruger

Diane Kruger is a German actress and former model who is perhaps most famous for her role as Helen in the 2004 movie ‘Troy’ and for her appearances as Detective Sonya Cross in television’s ‘The Bridge’. Diane is also a talented actress in her native language, picking up Best Actress at the prestigious

Cannes Film Festival for her role in the German film ‘Aus dem Nichts’. She learned both English and French while she was a student in the respective countries, but if you’re on holiday there, you may not have time to master the languages as thoroughly as Diane did; in that case, an interpreter app on your smartphone from the likes of Boostlingo may be the best option. You’ll be able to understand and be understood, although it may not win you a film award. It’s also used by many professional interpreters, as well as holidaymakers.

Celine Dion

Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ is just one of the many smash hits to her name, and with one of the most recognizable voices in music, her career will surely go on for as long as she wants it to. Celine was born in Quebec, Canada in 1968, and like the majority of people in that province, her native language is actually French. It was this language that Celine used when representing Switzerland in the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, but her career hit new heights when she switched from singing in French to English, resulting in karaoke favorites such as ‘Think Twice’ and ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’. Her skills as a polyglot where shown to their fullest in 2013 when she sang in faultless Mandarin to welcome in the New Year in Beijing, China. This isn’t the easiest language for a native French or English speaker to master, but as Celine found out, it can prove a very lucrative skill for pop stars who can do it.

JK Rowling

JK Rowling is perhaps the most famous writer in the world today, and her multi-million selling series of ‘Harry Potter’ books have brought joy to countless children and adults across the world, as well as to her bank manager. As a celebrated wordsmith, you may expect Joanne to have a degree in English literature or another creative subject, but she actually graduated in French and Classics. As part of her studies, she spent a year living in France, and her love of the nation and its language can be seen in the names of a number of Harry Potter characters such as Fleur Delacour, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Draco Malfoy. Even though she’s a muggle, JK Rowling certainly won’t get muddled when it comes to speaking French.

From pop stars to actors and novelists, these six inspirational women have shown that there are many more strings to their bow than the one for which they are famous. Being able to communicate in another language can transform a visit to any nation, allowing you to meet locals and see the real country behind the tourist facade. Thanks to modern technological innovations such as apps that instantly interpret from one language to another, this ability is now available to more people than ever before. If you haven’t got time to learn the language fluently like an Audrey, Diane or Celine, these really are the next best thing.

Thanks to Ana Apostolska

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