Want to find out which celebrities speak another
language? Follow this link for a listing of people who are
well known in their field and the languages in which they have some
Featured below are some quotes about the importance of learning
Read more about footballers 'learning
'A different language is a different vision of life' Federico
Fellini, film director
A | B | C | D | E |
F | G |
H | I |
J | K |
L | M | N | O |
P | Q | R
| S | T |
U | V | W | X | Y | Z
David Beckham: I haven't conquered Spanish yet.
I'm learning and understand what's said during training. I'm
progressing little by little. Spanish is very difficult for me,
although I am getting used to it. I am making an effort. It's
complicated. But if I can conquer Spanish, it will have been a
Find out more about his
first press conference in Spanish.
Ian Brown: I know all the love words and the
cussing, but my little boy is still taking the p*** out of me! It’s
still an ambition, I’m hoping to enrol again and when I get home
tell my girl not to talk English to me. Then I’d like to do a
record in Spanish.
Craig Brown: I am happy to confirm that
international players such as Paul Lambert and John Collins...All
learned the required German and French languages very quickly...As
a consequence, their children are bilingual and the players settled
easily into their environments.
Eric Black: [on playing for FC Metz in France]
It was a good time to play in France. They were producing good
young players and it was prosperous there. I got a tutor, learned
the language, and that helped me settle there into a really
enjoyable life. I already spoke fluent German because my wife's
mother is German. The fact I can speak two foreign languages has
helped me greatly in the transfer market down the years.
Daniel Brühl (Daniel César Martín Brühl
González Domingo): [on his multi-lingual
upbringing] Thanks to my family I have
been able to work in many different places and in different
languages. I am proud to work in European Cinema.
Daniel was born in Barcelona to a
German father and a Catalan mother, but grew up in Cologne. As a
result, he is not only fluent in German and Spanish but has also
mastered Catalan, French and English.
Sol Campbell: I'm 30 now and in five years'
time I won't be in this country – that's definite. Italy looks good
to me because it would suit my kind of football. Spain is an option
but the idea of tasting a new culture and learning another language
excites me the most. I'm starting a little with French, of
John Cleese: Learning a language makes our
minds stronger and more flexible. Actually using it gives us an
entirely new experience of the world.
Huw Edwards: During my career I have
interviewed people of many nationalities and know that being able
to address them in their own language is a great help. It puts the
interviewee at ease and makes the conversation that follows (even
if that is conducted in English) much more relaxed. We all need to
develop extra language skills because they are essential in our
multicultural society. As a Welshman I also feel strongly that we
should celebrate and respect the world’s minority languages.
Sven- Göran Eriksson: In my experience, if you
go to a foreign country, the people there will always appreciate it
if you have taken the trouble to learn their language...Good luck
with "Languages Work". It should be a lot of fun.
Sir Alex Ferguson CBE: All I can advise, is
that you keep working at your languages. Foreign languages are
exciting and interesting - keep up the hard work, it will be worth
it in the end.
Colin Firth: Well, it's wonderful to have an
excuse to learn a language. [My wife's] English is better than my
Italian will ever be. But, if you're going to live your life with
someone you should, as a mark of respect, try to learn their way of
Jodie Foster: I wish that I spoke more
languages. I speak a couple of languages, but not well enough to
really dub myself. French is really the only one and it's a
Felicity Gain: I think Hebrew is a beautiful
language. I’ve always been fascinated by its complexity and see it
as a real challenge.
Ioan Gruffydd: The fact that I am bilingual is
something I am extremely proud of. I’m one of a majority of young
Europeans who can speak a second language. I speak two languages
and this has given me access to two different cultures. It has also
given me a wider perspective on the world.
Sir John Harvey-Jones: Dealing with other
nationals through a translator or an interpreter is no substitute
for direct discussion.
Eddie Izzard: There are so many languages I'd
like to learn to perform in – Russian, Italian. And I'd love to be
able to perform in the country where I was born – Yemen.
David James: We are in the 21st century and if
you can't learn another language by now then something must be
seriously wrong. I improved [my Spanish] on the recent England trip
because I managed to have a lot of "half" conversations with
Digby Jones, Director General of the CBI
published an article in the RSA Journal in April 2001 warning that
'we must be careful that the predominance of English does not
undermine our capacity to learn foreign languages'.
Kevin Keegan: I think the least you can do when
you live in their country is learn the language.
Gary Lineker: My wife and I learnt Spanish
and Japanese when I played at Barcelona and Nagoya. We spent hours
and hours in tuition – yet we could have learnt either language at
school. Modern languages prepare you for modern life.
As the world gets smaller, there’s never been a better
opportunity to get into languages.
I've really enjoyed learning Spanish and Japanese. Getting to
grips with a new language can be great fun, and you learn so much
about other people and what makes them tick.
Immersing yourself in the culture is critical to making it work
Lucy Liu: [on acting in a foreign language] I
would love to do a French movie or a Spanish movie, in the
language. When you speak a different language, whether or not
you're fluent in it, you immerse yourself into a completely
Ellen MacArthur: It’s always fantastic to be
able to communicate with people, whether it’s when you are signing
an autograph or when you are doing a full on interview, or during a
tough moment at sea with a crew.
Gwyneth Paltrow says about her daughter, Apple
Martin: 'Agua' was her first word. She says a lot of words in
Spanish, I speak to her in Spanish sometimes because I want her to
Paul McCartney: I like languages. In school I
learnt Latin, Spanish and German. On tour I have good translators
that I work with. They translate what I want to say to the
audience, I write it down and learn it. In 2003, Putin invited me
and Heather to the Kremlin. I was telling him how I like to speak
to the crowd, and I said I was going to say 'Privyet Maskvichi'. He
said 'Don't say that, say "Priv-ee-et ribiata". It means "Hi
guys".' He said it's much cooler. Talk about how things have
changed. For years the Kremlin wouldn't let you sing in Russia, and
now they're coming to your gig and they're giving you language
lessons on the side. I love it.
Sir Trevor McDonald: Language learning at its
best can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences
that life can offer.
Diane Modahl: I know lots of people speak
English, but being prepared to say something in someone else's
language is a way of showing them that you care, that you're
prepared to make the effort and you don't just expect them to speak
your language. That's quite arrogant actually, isn't it?
Viggo Mortensen: It helps if you know more than
one language. You have a little head start on adapting, you can get
your mouth around certain words and vowel sounds a little easier
than if you only come at it from an English-speaking
Alison Moyet: I love singing in French. I don't
think in French. Sometimes when you sing in another language you
can think about the sound you make.
Jay Jay Okocha: The fact that I speak several
languages [gives] me an advantage in talking to all the players at
Mexican author and cultural attaché to London, Ignacio
Padilla, says of his parents: They taught me that every
language you speak is an open door to an entire world.
Jon Petrie: We regularly play teams from France
and have French referees, and it makes an enormous difference being
able to speak in their native tongue.
I always enjoyed learning languages at school, but never thought
that I would get that much use out of the skill in later life. Now
I have discovered, whether in sport, or holiday, at work, or in
everyday life, it is something that I couldn't do without. Learning
a foreign language can open the door to a whole host of
Alain Prost: It's always better to speak the
language of the team. Not only for direct contact with everyone –
sometimes it also helps you to understand the mentality of the
people in the team a bit better.
Paula Radcliffe: Although I'm known first and
foremost as an athlete, my foreign language skills have given
another dimension to my career. I regularly use French and German
when I travel to compete in Europe.
Hugo Speer learnt French for his role in Barnie
et ses petites contrariétés: I'd forgotten most of the French that
I had learnt at school, I knew how to ask a girl out and how to
order a beer, which are obviously the essentials! I was the only
Englishman on the set, so I learnt quickly!
Oscar-winning Hollywood star Charlize Theron
learned many of the 28 languages she speaks from the staff on her
Arsène Wenger: I would like to take this
opportunity to say how advantageous it can be...To have knowledge
of foreign languages...I would have no hesitation in advising
people of any age to learn another language.
Jonny Wilkinson: I spent some time brushing up
on my French. I am reading the French version of Running
man by Stephen King. It is one of my favourite films. I can
get the gist of it, which makes it more enjoyable rather than
having to have a dictionary by my side all the time. I need to
speak the language a fair bit more. I would like to get it nailed
down. The only way really to do that is to spend some time in
Prince William has said he will learn Welsh and
taught himself Swahili because of his love of Africa: I've got a
book and a book-tape... I have them in my room and they're
collecting dust quite rapidly but I am trying to make progress
Phil Willis MP: The lack of linguists in our
society severely disadvantages us as a nation.
Yungun aka Essa: UK rapper Yungun performs in
English and Spanish.