Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

For multilingual pope, English comes second (or third)

“Pope Francis’ visit to the United States is an historic first — and a linguistic challenge for the former South American cardinal who until recently had mostly spoken publicly in Italian and his native Spanish.

Of course, tending a flock of around 1.2 billion Roman Catholics spread across the globe has always been a multilingual affair.

Pope Francis, however, is a less prodigious language speaker than his predecessors — Pope John Paul II spoke eight languages fluently, Pope Benedict XVI seven. Francis reportedly has a command of four languages: Spanish, Italian, German and Latin.”

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Languages do matter!


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