Stephen Fry is an English actor, broadcaster, comedian, director and writer.
You may be wondering how many languages does Stephen Fry speak? He has had huge success and is known to be very intelligent so it’s natural to wonder if he also speaks multiple languages.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This post will go into detail on what languages Stephen Fry speaks, how fluent he is in them and how he learnt them.
Table of Contents
What Languages Does Stephen Fry Speak?
Stephen Fry speaks 8 languages to varying levels. Stephen Fry speaks English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Ancient Greek and Dutch.
English is his first language as he was born and raised in London, United Kingdom.
He grew up in an English-speaking home and attended English-speaking schools.
Does Stephen Fry Speak French?
Yes, Stephen Fry speaks French.
Stephen Fry learnt to speak French when he was in school.
He spent 2 years studying in the sixth form at the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology. One of his subjects there was French.
However he ended up failing as he didn’t even show up for the exams.
Over the summer, after stealing a credit card, he ended up spending 3 months in prison.
After being released, he decided to take his studies more seriously, eventually passing his exams in both English and French.
Today, Stephen can speak French pretty fluently and even showed off his skills on QI, a British quiz show which he presents.
You can see Stephen Fry speaking French on QI in the video below:
Does Stephen Fry Speak Latin & Ancient Greek?
Yes, Stephen Fry can speak Latin as well as Ancient Greek.
He learnt both of these languages in school as, at the time of his education, these 2 subjects were commonly taught in most British schools (especially more prestigious ones).
In an interview with Pearson, Stephen noted that he just ‘clicked’ with these subjects.
We know that Stephen Fry has a huge interest in Ancient Greece as he has actually written 3 books on Ancient Greek myths and history.
It’s unclear if Stephen Fry is fully fluent in either of these languages because, as neither have any native speakers, he probably doesn’t get much chance to practice them.
You can see Stephen Fry speaking Latin in the video below. Whilst appearing on QI he was asked to recite the Lord’s Prayer in Latin.
Does Stephen Fry Speak German?
Yes, Stephen Fry can speak German fluently.
He initially learnt some German whilst in school. He was intrigued by the language thanks to good teachers and his parents, who both spoke German.
In an interview with Pearson, Stephen Fry said that when he was young, his parents would sometimes speak in German if they didn’t want him to understand. He said that this encouraged him to learn the language.
It has been reported that one of the reasons his mother, who was a Hungarian Jew, fell in love with his father was because he spoke German.
After studying some German in school, Stephen Fry decided to improve his German later in life because he wanted to read and understand the works of the German poet, Rilke.
He was seen speaking some German on the British TV show ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ when he was exploring his family history and made a visit to Austria.
You can see Stephen Fry speaking German in the video below to some young Austrian boys however they soon switch to English when Stephen realizes the boys speak perfect English.
Does Stephen Fry Speak Italian?
Yes, Stephen Fry can speak Italian.
His initial reason for wanting to learn Italian was because he fell in love with the operas of Mozart and Verdi and wanted to understand them better.
It’s unclear how well Stephen Fry speaks Italian and he has never spoken it publicly.
Does Stephen Fry Speak Spanish?
Yes, Stephen Fry can speak Spanish.
It’s unclear where and how Stephen Fry learnt to speak Spanish as he’s never discussed this publicly.
Does Stephen Fry Speak Dutch?
Yes, Stephen Fry can speak a little bit of Dutch.
He mentioned that he speaks some Dutch in an interview about language learning with Pearson.
It appears that he cannot speak the language fluently as he himself said he only speaks ‘a little’.
You can see Stephen Fry speaking Dutch in the video below when he appeared on a Dutch TV program.
What Are Stephen Fry’s Views On Learning Languages?
Stephen Fry has had an interest in languages since he was a child in school.
His favorite things about being able to speak other languages are the cultural insights, the rapport you can build with native speakers and the feeling of creating a bond with people.
He found that learning languages allowed him to make friends with people from other countries and he’s been able to visit many countries without fear.
Stephen thinks speaking other languages gives you a ‘feeling of power and splendor’. He said it’s like ‘flying or swimming’.
When talking about how he practices languages, he said that he loves to pretend to be a commentator.
He will look out of the window and commentate on the birds, traffic, people etc in the language he’s practicing.
Stephen has also said that he really wants to learn Russian and he regrets not learning it sooner. He mentioned being put off by the difficulty previously.
It seems like he comes from quite a linguistic family as he said that his grandfather spoke many languages. Additionally, we know that both his parents spoke German as well as English.
It may surprise you that Stephen Fry speaks 8 languages. It surprised us too!
It looks like he has dedicated a lot of his free time to learning languages and exploring other cultures. Well, he’s certainly impressed us!
Thanks for reading this post which answers the question ‘how many languages does Stephen Fry speak?’.
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