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What Languages Does Michelle Obama Speak?

Michelle Obama has traveled the world with her husband, Barack, so you might be wondering if Michelle can speak a wide range of languages. How many languages does Michelle Obama speak and what are they?

What Languages Does Michelle Obama Speak?

According to research, Michelle Obama only actually speaks English fluently. Despite her travels, and Barack speaking Indonesian as well as English, the former First Lady can’t speak any other language conversationally or fluently.

There are rumors that she can speak some French after studying it at school but it’s not been substantiated anywhere, and there don’t seem to be any clips that confirm this. 

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Has Michelle Obama Studied Another Language?

Michelle Obama did study French in high school but it’s unclear to what level and whether she can still speak the language with any confidence. Let’s be honest, how many useful phrases can you remember from your high school language classes a couple of decades on?

Similarly, Michelle Obama went to the Ivy League college, Princeton, a language course is a requirement to graduate. Whatever language the former First Lady opted for isn’t clear, but if she did study French in school, it would be a natural transition.

michelle obama in a magazine with a candle and a camera

Her undergraduate degree was in Sociology and African-American Studies before moving to Harvard to study Law for her graduate years. 

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Can Barack Obama Speak Multiple Languages?

The former President doesn’t speak any foreign languages to a conversational or fluent level but can still speak some Indonesian.

Barack Obama spent a large chunk of his childhood living in Indonesia and was fluent for a time, but when he returned to the US, he wasn’t using the language as much and subsequently lost a lot of his fluency.

What Languages Do Sasha and Malia Obama Speak?

While the full list of the languages that the former first daughters speak isn’t confirmed, there are plenty of articles and interviews attesting to Malia’s Spanish skills – she even translated for the President when they were on a family visit to Cuba, as he said her Spanish skills are much better than his. 

Sasha Obama has demonstrated significant skill in Mandarin Chinese from a young age and was filmed speaking to China’s President Hu Jintao at the age of nine. She was reported to be learning Chinese at her grade school which is pretty awesome!

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Given that the pair grew up in the White House, traveling around and being visited by foreign diplomats, it’s no wonder that both of them took an interest in languages and learned their chosen ones to at least a conversational level, if not fluently.

Want to Learn a Language?

As it turns out both Michelle Obama and Barack Obama only speak English fluently. While Michelle has previously studied French at school, it’s unclear if she still speaks the language.

Barack Obama can still speak a little Indonesian from his childhood, but it seems the language skills in the Obama household lie with Malia and Sasha who speak Spanish and Mandarin Chinese respectively. 

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