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Political Leaders and Languages

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andee
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Korea, South
Joined 5345 days ago

681 posts - 724 votes 
3 sounds
Speaks: English*, German, Korean, French

 
 Message 33 of 142
26 January 2006 at 9:37pm | IP Logged 
Skandinav wrote:
Btw. does anyone in here know about the language skills of great leaders (e.g. Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Churchill etc.)?


Well, I would assume Stalin spoke Georgian.
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Linas
Octoglot
Senior Member
Lithuania
Joined 5180 days ago

253 posts - 279 votes 
5 sounds
Speaks: Lithuanian*, Russian, Latvian, French, English, German, Spanish, Polish
Studies: Slovenian, Greek, Hungarian, Arabic (Written), Portuguese

 
 Message 34 of 142
27 January 2006 at 2:05am | IP Logged 
Skandinav wrote:
Btw. does anyone in here know about the language skills of great leaders (e.g. Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Churchill etc.)?


Lenin spoke English and French, since he lived in English and French speaking countries for quite a long time during his political emigration. Probably he spoke also German but I am not sure. He also had some rudimentary survival Finnish knowledge. Somewhere I have reade that he also could read Swedish newspapers.

Lenin started to learn English while being in deportation to Siberia, Shushenskoie. He learnt without being able to hear the pronounciation, so that after arrival to London he at first was unable to understand a word of spoken English, but living in England he learnt English quite quickly.

Stalin certainly spoke Georgian(mother tongue) and Russian, as for Mao and Hitler I doubt whether they spoke more than their mother tongues.
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Linas
Octoglot
Senior Member
Lithuania
Joined 5180 days ago

253 posts - 279 votes 
5 sounds
Speaks: Lithuanian*, Russian, Latvian, French, English, German, Spanish, Polish
Studies: Slovenian, Greek, Hungarian, Arabic (Written), Portuguese

 
 Message 35 of 142
27 January 2006 at 2:38am | IP Logged 
A source writes about Lenin that "He was master of the English, German and French languages, and could read Italian, Swedish and Polish

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1939/1939-leni n02.htm
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Skandinav
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Denmark
Joined 5155 days ago

139 posts - 145 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, English, German, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian

 
 Message 36 of 142
27 January 2006 at 5:10am | IP Logged 
Ok, I wouldn't suspect that Mao knew more than a couple of Russian and perhaps Japanese phrases. But as for Hitler, an Austrian, he must have known some Italian, French or possibly Hungarian. After all, he wasn't that "focused" in his early days.
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wombat
Tetraglot
Groupie
Australia
Joined 5385 days ago

49 posts - 50 votes
Speaks: English*, German, French, Thai
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 37 of 142
05 April 2006 at 10:01am | IP Logged 
Another political figure with multiple languages is Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State of the US. According to her wikipedia article she is:
multilingual, being fluent in English, French, and Czech, with good speaking and reading abilities in Russian, German, Polish and Serbo-Croatian .

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wombat
Tetraglot
Groupie
Australia
Joined 5385 days ago

49 posts - 50 votes
Speaks: English*, German, French, Thai
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 38 of 142
05 April 2006 at 10:05am | IP Logged 
The criticism of Condoleezza Rice and her Russian reminds me of a story concerning an Australian politician, Kevin Rudd, who is fluent in Mandarin.

When the Chinese leader visited the Australian Parliament to give a speech a few years ago, Rudd was faced with a dilemna.

If he listened to the speech in English via headphones he would be attacked: "ah! he doesn't understand Chinese after all! Bloody liar"

If he listened without the headphones, then he would also be attacked "What a smartarse! Bloody showoff!"


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daghka
Newbie
Singapore
Joined 5263 days ago

2 posts - 2 votes
Speaks: English

 
 Message 39 of 142
05 April 2006 at 5:26pm | IP Logged 
wombat wrote:
The criticism of Condoleezza Rice and her Russian reminds me of a story concerning an Australian politician, Kevin Rudd, who is fluent in Mandarin.

When the Chinese leader visited the Australian Parliament to give a speech a few years ago, Rudd was faced with a dilemna.

If he listened to the speech in English via headphones he would be attacked: "ah! he doesn't understand Chinese after all! Bloody liar"

If he listened without the headphones, then he would also be attacked "What a smartarse! Bloody showoff!"



So what happened...haha..
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JackFrost
Diglot
Newbie
Canada
Joined 5076 days ago

17 posts - 17 votes
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Swedish, Icelandic

 
 Message 40 of 142
09 April 2006 at 1:35am | IP Logged 
Well, the prime minister of Québec (Jean Charest), I did hear him speaking a good English. Maybe that's not a surprise since he grew in the Eastern Townships part of the province, and that area has a strong English-speaking minority compared to the rest of province except Montréal.

As for prime minister of Canada (Stephen Harper), he sounds weird and sometimes struggles speaking French. PMs are often required to learn French if they expect to win supports in Québec, or otherwise you'll lose if Québec doesn't go along. We've been having PMs from Québec for most of three decades now and all of them speak a wonderful English...well, with a small exception for Jean Chrétien, but he's a different story...his French is corny as well. :P

Edited by JackFrost on 09 April 2006 at 1:36am



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