Today's Evil Beet Gossip


Brad Pitt and Sons Pax Thien and Maddox at Venice Film Festival Pictures Photos

“Our seven-year-old rips it, man. He’s fantastic, so good. It’s really humiliating – but we’re really proud of him.”

Brad Pitt, talking to Hello! magazine about how he and Angelina are struggling to learn French, while Maddox is already nearly fluent.

They pick up languages so fast at that age!

Plus, research shows that learning a second language before the age of 12 makes it much easier to pick up additional languages later in life. This is why American schools need to mandate foreign language courses in elementary and middle schools, rather than waiting until high school to teach kids other languages! Get on the ball, America!

26 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I was born and bred in Valencia, a zone in Spain where Spanish and Catalan languages are spoken. As a kid I was able to speak in Spanish and Catalan, and nowadays I also speak English and French (I’m studying Translating at University). Learning languages when young is the best way!!!

    • You’re right, I wish I could have learned more than a language when I was a kid. Everything would have been much easier!
      Salutacions des?de Italia!

  • In Canada – at least when I was growing up – mandatory French classes from grade 1-6. We may not be fully bilingual, but I’d say most Canadians can ask how to use the washroom.

  • i agree with miree and roma, i my family is of spanish decent and i was born in new york city, and i’ve taken classes to learn french and italian as well. my italian is so much better than my french, but i can understand what people say in french and my grammar is much better then speaking but i can get around. i kinda want to take up mandarin and arabic in the future.

  • I agree – kids minds are little sponges and can pick up languages quickly when young. It should be mandatory.

  • I started learning english in 3rd grade but by then I had already picked up some from tv (sunset beach thaught me english haha!) I don’t think I can be as good in a third language now as I am in englsih, when you get older it’s not that easy to learn a language and have it come automatically when you speak/wrtie it, you have to think more about grammar and stuff. I don’t understand why you guys don’t learn another languge earlier, in sweden we start with english in 3rd grade and then a third language in 6th grade. speaking another language is a lot of fun, and you’re able to see more of that countrys culture if you speak the language.

    • When I lived in Finland, I absolutely LOVED Sunset Beach! It was one of the few English programs available to me =)

  • Total agreement with you Beet! My kids are so interested in other languages and they have to wait till 7th grade in our NY school district! It is a shame!

    • I went to MWHS in Orange County, NY and we started in 7th grade, too! Upstate started in 6th and when I moved to Ohio, they don’t even start till 9th!

  • The school my daughter goes to (she’s in the 1st grade) starts teaching Spanish in Kindergarten. I think it’s great! She already know’s alot! Her spanish teacher is also her math teacher so she will often overlap the 2 subjects.

  • How come every time Brad talks about his kids, I can’t understand a syllable of what he’s trying to say?

    I saw a clip of him on Oprah talking about Shiloh wanting to be called by a boy’s name or something, and I think it might even have been a cute story, but the way he told it was sort of garbled and it ended up just sounding strange the way he told it. He’s a good actor but listening to him talk is like trying to eat cardboard.

    I mean it’s cool their kids learn languages fast…but Brad sometimes seems to struggle hard enough with his first one.

  • Hee Hee. Yeah, my 2 year old rips it too. Master your own language before embarking..or better yet, imparting the chore of learning another one. Good Lord. He sounds dumb.

  • As a professor of German and someone who has studied linguistics for 20 years, I agree that children take easily to new languages. Research is mixed on how much advantage they actually have over adults. In my own experience, I see that the real hindrance to becoming fluent is the psyche. If you are a risk-taker by nature, you shouldn’t have much trouble at all learning a new language at whatever age. It’s those perfectionists out there who have a tendency to hinder themselves. I see this over and over again with my students and when I look back on my own second, third and fourth language acquisition experiences. Adults who monitor themselves too heavily will have trouble learning, no matter what the subject is.

    Still, I believe wholeheartedly that we are doing our children and our nation, and in turn the world, a HUGE disservice by not introducing foreign languages at the elementary school level. I believe this so much that, as a parent volunteer, I organized a before and after school foreign language program at my son’s elementary school for 6 years. It was an exhausting and overwhelming task, that I was barely able to manage as a single/working mom, but we were able to offer French, German, Japanese, Sign Language and two levels of Spanish to the students. It was great to see how we were embraced by the parents and the whole time I ran the program more than a quarter of the students were enrolled. Too bad our school districts are all hell-bent on bending to such stupid programs as “Every Child Left Behind” or whatever the Bush Admin called it, instead of investing more in strong language and arts programs at the elementary level. But trying to change the American school system is like trying to turn a giant ocean-liner on a dime. Good luck! Glad to see that so many of you value bilingualism or multilingualism. You should be loud about this with your kids’ school board members!

    • Great points, jojo. I was an Army Brat, so I learned French and Italian at a young age because we lived there. I went to an American college in Germany and could never master that language. It’s my nemesis.

    • I have to agree with that first part. My english (written and spoken) is very good (please forgive me if I make a mistake here, haven’t had my coffee yet). I’ve been learning french since kindergarten and all through my working career and I still suck at it.


      Two reasons – one – I hate french. The other is I chicken out when speaking it. Because my written and oral is so good, I can’t handle making mistakes in another language so I freeze up. But get two or three glasses of wine in me, the french is no problem at all.

  • my friends and i all learned either spanish or french starting in 7th grade and i think that was too late! i’ve read that a person’s brain anatomy is pretty much set at age 12, so we need to teach new languages years before middle school. my nephew is learning spanish in kindergarten and i won’t be surprised if he ends up fluent without much of a struggle. hooray for progress!

    one more point: (sorry if i missed someone else saying this) we need native speakers of foreign languages to teach our kids!! or at least teachers who are fluent and have good accents. i didn’t have a native speaker of french teaching me until college, when i realized what a Huge difference it made!!

  • I suck at learning languages now. Ugh…I used to be FLUENT in Arabic as a kid, and when I started learning English (which i picked up in a few months btw) I slowly started forgetting Arabic, since my parents started speaking to me in only English. I still dont forgive them for letting me forget how to speak it fluently :(


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