Gwyneth Paltrow interviewed for her role in the 2011 Steven Soderbergh film, Contagion, with a Spanish news station.
Has anyone seen this movie and didn’t it make you want to wash your hands ten times afterwards?
Nicholas Kristof (on the importance of learning languages)
American born author, Jack Kerouac was born to French-Canadian parents. His known baptism name was Jean Louis Kirouac but referred to as Ti Jean or little John. Kerouac spoke the French-Canadian dialect called Joual until he learned English at age six, not speaking it confidently until his late teens.
In an article in Le Devoir by Gabriel Ancil, Kerouac’s articles in the Montreal newspaper revealed the existence of two unpublished novellas Kerouac wrote in French in the early 1950s. One of them, Sur le chemin, was composed at high speed in William Burroughs’ apartment in Mexico City. In the other, La nuit est ma femme, Kerouac identified French as the language in which he often swears, often dreams, and always cries.
In the same article it was also revealed on the 50th anniversary of his novel masterpiece On The Road that Kerouac’s first version was in French. The first ten pages were laid down on January 19, 1951, several months before writing the first version of the English novel.
It is necessary, especially for Americans, to see other lands and experience other cultures. The American, living in this vast country and able to traverse three thousand miles east to west using the same language, needs to hear languages as they collide in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
A tourist, browsing in a Paris shop, eating in an Italian ristorante, or idling along a Hong Kong street, will encounter three or four languages as she negotiates the buying of a blouse, the paying of a check, or the choosing of a trinket. I do not mean to suggest that simply overhearing a foreign tongue adds to one’s understanding of that language. I do know, however, that being exposed to the existence of other languages increases the perception that the world is populated by people who not only speak differently from oneself but whose cultures and philosophies are other than one’s own.
Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other, we may even become friends.
Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now
According to her Wiki page, Angelou speaks Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, and West African Fante. Amazing.