Speed Reads


Octolingual Pete Buttigieg just proved he can speak Italian at a news conference

Now he's just showing off.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a fast-rising 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who people like to say is "having a moment," put his language skills to the test today. Buttigieg, a former Rhodes Scholar, has turned some heads because of his ability to reportedly speak eight different languages — in addition to English, he can speak Norwegian, Italian, Spanish, Maltese (his father is an immigrant from Malta), Arabic, Dari, and French. Today, during a press conference at Northeastern University in Boston, he provided further evidence that he is, indeed, a legitimate polyglot.

When an Italian-speaking reporter asked him a question, he responded in the language, answering a multiple questions, before eventually saying he was "out of Italian." But he held his own.

Similarly in March, a reporter asked Buttigieg a question in Norwegian, and the mayor displayed his skills in that language, as well. So that's three out of eight, but it's probably safe to expect more Buttigieg language challenges as his campaign marches forward.