Born in the Congo, Orlanda Magic NBA power forward Serge Ibaka speaks more than one language with ease. The baller speaks his native tongue, Lingala, along with French, Spanish and English. In 2014, Ibaka taught his then boo, singer and actress Keri Hilson, how to speak in the Bantu dialect that he’s known since birth.
When Ibaka was 17, he moved to France and joined a basketball team. Fortunately he was already fluent in the French language. When he moved to Spain to play in the European league, he taught himself how to speak Spanish. That’s right ladies, he’s a self-taught linguist!
Originally Hailing from Austria, the actor grew up speaking German. Born to a father from Ghana and Jewish-German born mother, he was surrounded by different dialects during his upbringing. Kodjoe speaks 3 other languages including Spanish, French and English. In 2012, he told BET that mastering English was tough but taking acting classes helped with his transition. “It was pretty rough at first. I was 19 when I moved to the U.S., after I had already finished high school. I couldn’t speak English very well when I came here. I grew up speaking German. That’s actually how I got into acting—I took acting classes to help me get rid of my accent.”
When Kodjoe started acting on the set of Soul Food the TV series, the actor and model had a hard time with certain words and sayings. His co-star, and future wife, Nicole Ari Parker, would tease him about his pronunciation. “I had a hard time pronouncing difficult words,” he said. “It took me a long time to feel comfortable learning dialogue on my own.” To commemorate their 7th wedding anniversary in 2012, the actor wrote a beautiful poem for his wife in both English and German.
The French Prince of Bel-Air may be West Philadelphia born and raised but the Academy Award nominee is also bilingual beauty. He speaks Spanish too. While Smith isn’t exactly fluent, he speaks enough to get by. On the red carpet to promote his movie After Earth, the actor talked to a reporter in Spanish.
Retired NBA player Kobe Bryant had an impressive basketball career and even more impressive is that the ball player speaks not one, not two but three languages. Bryant was born in Philly but when his father moved the family to Italy to continue his own basketball career, the former Los Angeles Laker became fluent in Italian. In the past, the star has also given press conferences in Spanish showcasing his proficiency in another language.