Only English?!

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Bill Gates: I feel stupid for only speaking English


Today, Gates gave his third AMA (“AskMeAnything”) to Reddit and perhaps his greatest personal confession was this: “I feel pretty stupid that I don’t know any foreign languages. I took Latin and Greek in high school and got A’s and I guess it helps my vocabulary but I wish I knew French or Arabic or Chinese.”

It’s interesting that he has a desire to speak French. It’s not as if this language has become in any way universal. Does Gates like how it sounds? Could he think speaking French would add to his sex appeal? All he would say is that of his three target languages, French is “the easiest.”

In American companies, there’s the simple expectation that everyone will speak English. However, the Microsoft co-founder expressed wonder at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s dedication to a foreign tongue.

He said: “Mark Zuckerberg amazingly learned Mandarin and did a Q&A with Chinese students — incredible.”

The deeply cynical will suggest that Zuckerberg has two vast motivations: a wife of Chinese heritage and the desperate urge to ingratiate himself with the Chinese government, which isn’t too keen on Facebook.


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