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French PM a true tetraglot

 Language Learning Forum : Polyglots Post Reply
Ogrim
Heptaglot
Senior Member
France
Joined 2823 days ago

991 posts - 1893 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, French, Romansh, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Catalan, Latin, Greek, Romanian

 
 Message 1 of 7
04 November 2014 at 2:59pm | IP Logged 
Here are some videos of French PM Manuel Valls, born in Spain by an Italian Swiss mother and a Catalan father. I'd say he speaks the four languages Catalan, French, Italian and Spanish at or very close to a native level. True, they all belong to the Romance family, but I still think it is quite impressive.

Interview in Catalan

Interview in Spanish

Speech in Italian

I haven't bothered to add a video of him speaking in French, it's easy enough to find.

I also haven't added any video of him speaking English, which is pretty rudimentary. In fact, few French politicians seem to speak English very well, as this video gives some examples of.


Edited by Ogrim on 04 November 2014 at 3:35pm

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eyðimörk
Triglot
Senior Member
France
goo.gl/aT4FY7
Joined 2283 days ago

490 posts - 1157 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French
Studies: Breton, Italian

 
 Message 2 of 7
04 November 2014 at 5:50pm | IP Logged 
I didn't know he spoke Catalan. That's impressive... and interesting, given his politics when it comes to minority languages. Ah, well, politics and my visceral reactions to Valls, aside, that's interesting.
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sctroyenne
Diglot
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United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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 Message 3 of 7
04 November 2014 at 6:02pm | IP Logged 
Ogrim wrote:
I also haven't added any video of him speaking English, which is pretty
rudimentary. In fact, few French politicians seem to speak English very well, as
president_82243.html">this video gives some examples of.


I can vouch for this. Even in the Consulate, the level of English wasn't very strong
(aside from a few that grew up bilingual or who went to high school in the US). I found
very high levels of English, though, among business school exchange students and a few
students at a computer science school.
1 person has voted this message useful



Ogrim
Heptaglot
Senior Member
France
Joined 2823 days ago

991 posts - 1893 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, French, Romansh, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Catalan, Latin, Greek, Romanian

 
 Message 4 of 7
04 November 2014 at 6:31pm | IP Logged 
eyðimörk wrote:
I didn't know he spoke Catalan. That's impressive... and interesting, given his politics when it comes to minority languages. Ah, well, politics and my visceral reactions to Valls, aside, that's interesting.


Yes, one might say that he got his languages "for free", growing up with Catalan, Italian and French at home. But one should not forget that he never actually lived in Spain, or Switzerland for that matter, so clearly his parents must have been very conscious of transmitting their native languages to him.

Spanish seems to be his "weakest language" insofar he has more of an accent, but still quite impressive the way he answers the journalist without making any notable mistakes.
1 person has voted this message useful



eyðimörk
Triglot
Senior Member
France
goo.gl/aT4FY7
Joined 2283 days ago

490 posts - 1157 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French
Studies: Breton, Italian

 
 Message 5 of 7
04 November 2014 at 6:41pm | IP Logged 
Ogrim wrote:
Yes, one might say that he got his languages "for free", growing up with Catalan, Italian and French at home. But one should not forget that he never actually lived in Spain, or Switzerland for that matter, so clearly his parents must have been very conscious of transmitting their native languages to him.

Spanish seems to be his "weakest language" insofar he has more of an accent, but still quite impressive the way he answers the journalist without making any notable mistakes.

I thought that he was born in Spain and moved to France as a teenager.
1 person has voted this message useful



Ogrim
Heptaglot
Senior Member
France
Joined 2823 days ago

991 posts - 1893 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, English, Spanish, French, Romansh, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Catalan, Latin, Greek, Romanian

 
 Message 6 of 7
05 November 2014 at 8:59am | IP Logged 
For some reason lot of people think he grew up in Spain, but that is not the case. He explained himself in an interview with "Le Point" in 2007:

Quote:
« C’était les vacances, mes parents, déjà installés en France, voulaient que leur fils aîné naisse là-bas » , précise-t-il. Son grand-père était le rédacteur en chef d’un journal républicain et catholique. Pendant la guerre civile, cet homme de gauche cachait des prêtres persécutés par les trotskistes et les anarchistes. Après la victoire de Franco, il lui fut interdit d’exercer sa profession. Xavier, le père de Manuel, s’est lancé, lui, dans la peinture. A l’époque, Paris est encore la capitale des arts : il y émigre à la fin des années 40.


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eyðimörk
Triglot
Senior Member
France
goo.gl/aT4FY7
Joined 2283 days ago

490 posts - 1157 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French
Studies: Breton, Italian

 
 Message 7 of 7
05 November 2014 at 11:40am | IP Logged 
Thanks! I've wondered about that because when he replaced Ayrault I read up on him and everything I read said "born in Barcelona", "moved to France as a teenager", "naturalised citizen at age 20" (which seems late for someone who lived here all his life... but maybe the age limit wasn't 18 back then), but his father's Wikipedia page, which I read at the same time, said that he lived in Paris pretty much his whole life.


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