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What Languages Does Edward Snowden Speak?

Edward Snowden became a household name when he became an NSA (National Security Agency) whistleblower back in 2013.

Following a warrant for his arrest for sharing State secrets, Snowden fled to Russia and claimed asylum. Given his former career as an NSA intelligence consultant and his worldwide travels on the hunt for asylum, it’s natural that Edward Snowden would speak a whole host of different languages.

Do what languages does Edward Snowden speak and how fluent is he in each one? Let’s dive in and find out more. 

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How Many Languages Does Edward Snowden Speak?

Edward Snowden has been reported to speak four different languages. While he’s not fluent or even conversational in some of these languages, the fact that he can get by in quite a few different languages shows that he knows the importance of being multilingual.

Which Languages Does Edward Snowden Speak?

So, the four languages that Edward Snowden speaks are English, Russian, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese.

It seems like his native language, English, is the only language that he speaks fluently. These varied languages show how much of a global citizen Snowden wants to be. 

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Can Edward Snowden Speak Russian?

Yes, Edward Snowden can speak some Russian, but as he hasn’t spoken it publicly we’re not sure how fluent he is in the language.

Given that he has been learning Russian since 2013 – a decade now –  we can safely assume that he is at least conversational in the language, especially now he has a son who was born in Russia. 

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Why can Edward Snowden Speak Russian?

It appears that Edward Snowden learned Russian when he claimed asylum back in 2013. Although it wasn’t his plan to stay (he wanted to flee to South America) it was too risky for him to leave. As a result, Edward Snowden learned Russian to get by in his new homeland.

He reported started learning the language as soon as he arrived and knew that he wasn’t going to South America in order to get around the red tape of international politics and stay in the country.

In 2020, he had a son in Russia and he was hoping that his new son would help him with his Russian skills. As of 2022, Vladimir Putin granted Snowden dual citizenship in Russia, so surely he must be at least conversational at this point if not fluent. 

Can Edward Snowden Speak Japanese?

Yes, Edward Snowden can speak some Japanese, but it’s unclear how much he actually knows. He has a deep love for Japanese culture and did work there for a short time back in 2009.

As it was only a short period, we’re pretty sure that he’s not fluent in Japanese but he might be at least conversational.

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Did Edward Snowden Live in Japan?

Yes, for a short period in 2009, Edward Snowden lived in Japan to help set up computer systems at the Yokota Air Base as a contractor for Dell. This was only for a short period so it’s unlikely that he became fluent during that time.

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It was during this time that he set up the computer systems on behalf of the US government, so he would’ve predominantly been working with US expats living in Japan, rather than local people.

That being said, he’d also previously worked as a website editor for an anime company based in the US in 2000, so it’s clear that Snowden’s love for all things Japanese culture plays a big role in his life.

It’s therefore likely that he’d learned some Japanese during his time as a website editor and practiced it while he was out at Yokota Air Base almost a decade later.

Can Edward Snowden Speak Chinese?

Yes, it’s been reported that Snowden can speak some basic Mandarin Chinese. He’s only recently started learning the language, so understandably, we expect his level to be that of a beginner.

Given that he’s learned Japanese, we know he has experience with tonal languages and glyph-based alphabet systems, so this should give him a solid foundation to improve his Mandarin Chinese skills.

What Apps Can I Use to Learn Russian?

There are plenty of different apps that you can use to learn Russian. If you’re looking for a language-learning app that helps you build up your Russian vocabulary in a fun and easy way, download Drops. It’s such a pretty little app and helps you build up your word bank for just five minutes each day.

If you want something a little more intensive, you should check out Pimsleur. This app is designed with scientific principles for learning in mind so that you can start speaking Russian from day one.

It also has a focus on conversational, practical language use, so if you’re looking to visit Russia or have Russian friends that you want to impress, this is a great app to download. 

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Alternatively, if you want the feel of a one-on-one lesson but don’t have any Russian tutors in your area, you can check out iTalki. This particular app connects native language tutors with learners from all around the world so that you can learn via video chat. 

Simply search for a tutor of your choice, filtering by timezones and price per lesson (normally 30-minute or 1-hour lessons), and read reviews to find someone who works for you. Once you’ve chosen, you can set up lesson times that work for you both and enjoy personalized, tailored language lessons no matter where in the world you find yourself. 

Yeah, Edward Snowden Can Speak Various Languages!

So, all in all, Edward Snowden can speak four languages with varying degrees of fluency. Those languages are English, his native language, Russian, the language of his adopted homeland, Japanese, where he used to work, and Mandarin Chinese, which he’s recently started learning. 

It’s clear that Snowden has a talent and appreciation for languages, especially those that don’t use the Latin alphabet!

Given the combined global influence of the languages that he’s learned, you can see that he’s a practical language learner who opts for languages with huge speaker bases that he’s likely to need in the future.

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