How many languages does Viggo Mortensen speak? Seven, give or take

Viggo Mortensen speaks seven languages

It is no secret that Danish-American actor Viggo Mortensen is a highly accomplished man.

A brilliant actor, producer, director, author, musician, painter and poet, Mortensen is primarily known for his performances in a slew of superb movies including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Captain Fantastic, Hidalgo, A History of Violence, A Dangerous Method and Eastern Promises.

What many people may not know, however, is Viggo Mortensen is also a polyglot. A person who speaks several languages.


How many languages does Viggo Mortensen speak?

Two, three, four, more?

All I can say is a video uploaded to YouTube last month (watch below) surprised the hell out of me.

Because, apparently, Viggo Mortensen speaks seven languages (four fluently, and three far better than most people on the planet could ever manage), and has even given speeches in both Arabic and Catalan in the past.

What are the seven languages Viggo Mortensen speaks?


According to Mortensen, he speaks English, Danish, Spanish and French fluently. He also says he is conversational in Italian, a language similar to Spanish, which means many Spanish speakers understand a fair bit of Italian, and vice versa.

The two other languages he understands are Norwegian and Swedish. Both languages that he can more than ‘get by in’ when he speaks them.

Mortensen as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy

How did Viggo Mortensen learn seven languages?

Viggo Mortensen’s mother is American, and he was born in New York City. His father is Danish.

When Viggo was young, his family moved to Venezuela (hence his beginning Spanish skills), then to Denmark and on to Argentina, where he became completely fluent in Spanish.

As a teenager, Mortensen also taught himself Danish, as he would hear his father speaking in Danish to his friends and wanted to know what he said.

He has a Bachelors degree in Spanish Studies and Politics, and after graduating from St. Lawrence University in New York State, he lived in Spain and England for several years.

Mortensen also learnt the Canadian variety of French as another language, but then adapted it to the Algerian dialect for his role in the 2014 film Far From Men.

Watch Viggo Mortensen speaking seven languages in the video below —¬†English, Spanish, Danish, French, Italian, Arabic and Catalan.

And then, of course, there’s me — three years living in Austria, and still struggling to form a basic sentence in German. Ye Gods!

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Michelle Topham