There’s no denying that English is the world’s language. We use it to travel, to do business in a global environment, to speak with people from other countries and so on. It is also the most popular language of entertainment and the media. The most popular movies, TV shows, books, magazines and newspapers are usually in English. Therefore, for those who want to make their careers in entertainment, it’s just as important for them to learn English. We’ve put together some surprising examples of famous people (celebrities), who also had to learn the world’s number one language.
First up is Penelope Cruz. Penelope is famous for movies such as ‘Vanilla Sky’, ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ and ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’. The ex-girlfriend of Tom Cruise was born and brought up in Madrid, Spain and has a distinctive Spanish accent which most people find endearing. Penelope knew how to say ‘How are you’ at the age of 20, and not much more! She admits that she was certainly a late learner. She developed her English through memorizing film scripts and asking people to help her with her pronunciation. She admits that she is always learning, and still has to continue studying the language, often online when she has a rare day off. She’s now married to Javier Bardem, another popular, Spanish actor, and they often switch between Spanish and English when chatting to each other. Sounds like fun!
Benicio Del Toro
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, this well-known Hollywood actor’s first language was also Spanish. He started learning at the age of 12 when he first moved to the United States with his father. When asked how he managed to learn it so successfully, he states that hard work and perseverance helped him to become fluent, although he still has some difficulties with pronunciation. He was never one for textbooks and grammar, and struggled a lot with that when he was younger, but through complete immersion from living in America, he soon picked it up. He says that learning English was one of the most useful things he ever did, and it helped him to get the career he has today. He has since starred in blockbuster hits such as ‘The Usual Suspects’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’. Not bad Mr Del Toro.
This young lady is famous both for modelling and acting; clearly a woman of many talents. Not only did she have to learn English due to her first language being Russian, she also mastered an ‘alien’ language for her role in the film, ‘The Fifth Element’, which consisted of over 400 words! We’re not sure how much she’s going to be using that! Milla claims that watching English television when she was younger, along with practising her speaking whenever possible, helped her to become fluent. She wasn’t afraid to make mistakes and took a step-by-step approach to learning. She compares learning English to dieting; a little bit of effort each day will make the world of difference, but you won’t see results over night!
This one is a surprise! I bet you thought the woman famous for ‘Miss Congeniality’ always spoke English, right? Wrong. She has a German mother, and for the first decade of her life, she was raised in Nuremburg, Germany. Her English was pretty good, considering her father is American, but she still had to study in school in order to be completely fluent. In fact, Sandra became so good at speaking English after moving back to America, that now she has forgotten some of her German! She admits that she now needs to practise German more.
This Oscar winner, famous for the darkly dramatic movie Black Swan and the woman who played Padme in ‘Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith’, didn’t actually start speaking English until the age of three. Her first language is Hebrew, being that she was born in Jerusalem and on top of English, she now speaks French, German, Spanish and Japanese! She’s therefore what we call a ‘polyglot’. What tips does she have for learning any language? Well, she thinks that choosing a language which you love is absolutely crucial, and if that language happens to be useful then even better. We all know that English is the most useful language in the world, but it helps if you’re passionate about it too. But what if you don’t enjoy it? Natalie says that watching soap operas in the language of your choice and following along with the stories every day can actually help you love the language. When your favourite TV stars are using it day in and day out, you can’t help but learn it, sometimes without trying too hard! That certainly sounds positive!
So, if they can do it – so can you!