Pete Buttigieg Speaks Seven Languages, No Biggie

Way to make me feel dumb, Pete.

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Hutton SupancicGetty Images

The "Mayor Pete" trend is only flying higher. Pete Buttigieg is experiencing a surge in the polls—a jump of three percentage points, according to CNN—and preliminary numbers suggest the long-shot candidate raised $7 million dollars in campaign financing in the first quarter of this year alone.

In keeping with his smart, academically savvy profile, one thing you might not have known about Pete is that he speaks (or is proficient in) seven languages: Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari, and French. As The New York Times put it, "He taught himself Norwegian to read more books!"

What's more awesome than just the notion of Pete-as-polyglot is that he reportedly uses these different languages to connect with others. The Norwegian story is particularly cool—TIME writer Anand Giridharadas explains that when Pete was introduced to Anand's Norwegian reporter friend in Texas, he began speaking to her in her native language.

Pete explained that, yes, he learned Norwegian to read more about a particular author that he loved—but the fact that Pete can speak it at the drop of a hat, and felt comfortable engaging with someone casually in that language, is (to me) the best part of the story.

You can read the entire exchange here:

Now, this is only anecdotal, and hasn't been verified, but it is still an AMAZING story if true. Also, he answered press questions IN NORWEGIAN just last week. Just sayin'.


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