Obama's Foreign Language Skills Ranked
Even learning a few words of a foreign language will go far in building rapport and understanding with foreign counterparts. In his speeches around the world, President Obama has tried many times to use words and phrases in foreign languages as a way to build understanding, rapport, and meaning with foreign audiences. See how the President did in foreign languages.
Skip the French: Obama's foreign language skills ranked
Mary Bowerman, USA TODAY Network
Public speaking in your native language is hard enough, but imagine doing it in a language you've never spoken. Barack Obama has done just that during his two terms as president, taking a stab at the native languages of many countries he’s visited. Some attempts have gone better than others
To see where Obama could use a little practice, global language-learning app Babbel asked foreign embassies and organizations in the U.S. to rate Obama’s attempts at different languages.
Here’s a look at how Obama did:
Arabic: Obama's attempts to speak arabic earned him a 3.5 out of 5 from the Arab American Institute in Washington, D.C.
“It’s interesting that even in another language, the President’s signature voice and mannerisms are still prevalent," the institute said in a statement. "It’s hard to explain, but his Arabic comes out sounding very Obama-like, as if an Arabic-speaker were to do an impression of the President in Arabic.”
Dutch: Obama's Dutch is a 3.5 out of 5, according to the Netherland-America Foundation, in New York City.
French: No surprise here. The French-American Foundation was brutally honest in its assessment of Obama's french. The foundation gave him a 1 out of 5.
“Unfortunately, we cannot give President Obama high marks for his pronunciation," the foundation said in a statement. "It was nice that he used the French words, but they may as well have been American.”
German: The German-American Society in Omaha, Neb. gave Obama a 3 out of 5.
Greek: The National Hellenic Society based in Alexandria, Va. gave Obama a 3.5 out of 5.
Hindi: The International Hindi Association in Washington, D.C. gave Obama a 2.5 out of 5.
Indonesian:The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, also in D.C., gave Obama a 4 out of 5.
Persian: The Iranian American Society in California gave Obama a 4.5 out of 5.
Spanish:The Embassy of Spain in D.C. gave Obama a 4 out of 5.
Swahili: The Kenyan Americans Community Organization in Duluth, Ga., gave Obama a 4 out of 5.
While most respondents gave Obama high marks, we wonder if the scores will remain as high when he's not leader of the free world in a few months.
Follow @MaryBowerman on Twitter.