With a Spanish last name like Bezos, it is fairly logical to wonder whether or not the Amazon CEO speaks Spanish.
Jeff Bezos doesn’t speak Spanish fluently. His father, Mike Bezos, is an immigrant to the United States from Cuba and spoke only Spanish until he was sixteen. This means that there is a possibility that Jeff Bezos speaks some Spanish even if he isn’t fluent.
Read more below about Bezos’ father and whether it is possible that Bezos does speak at least some Spanish.
Bezos’ Cuban Father
Cuba is an island country located in the Caribbean. It is famous for Fidel Castro, communism, and cigars. The official language of Cuba is Spanish, which means that Spanish is the first language of Jeff Bezos’ father, Miguel “Mike” Bezos, who hails from the tropical island country.
When Mike Bezos immigrated to the United States, he did not speak a lick of English. He had to learn the language while he attended high school in Delaware. He recalls in this interview with The National Museum of American History that “One of my friends was the only Cuban on the high school football team, and he made a lot of American friends. He was our insider and taught us a lot about the American way of life.”
Mike Bezos did learn English fairly quickly, although Jeff recalls his father having a fairly thick accent while he was growing up. With his knowledge of Spanish, why did Mike never teach it to Jeff? That isn’t exactly known.
You can watch Jeff Bezos talk about Mike’s thick accent in the below YouTube video.
Spanish At Home
In the same interview with The National Museum of American History, Mike Bezos said that “At home, the language was English, and it wasn’t until later when the kids were growing up that we brought Spanish back…”
From this comment, it seems clear that Jeff’s parents did eventually speak in Spanish at home around him, but he never picked up. Mike has said that the family would get together with his Cuban family where everyone only spoke Spanish. That would mean that Jeff probably knows at least some Spanish words and could possibly even carry out a conversation. This is, of course, all speculation.
Jeff’s mother, Jackie, does speak Spanish fluently. This was confirmed by Mike in his interview. He even stated “Jackie, my wife, who speaks perfect Spanish, learned Spanish because she wanted to know what my mother was saying about her and she found out that my mother loved her.”
Does Bezos Speak a Different Second Language?
It is pretty clear that Bezos doesn’t speak Spanish, at least not fluently. But is it possible that he speaks another language? Could he have a second language not based off of his family routes?
Well, linguistically speaking, no he does not speak a second language. He does, however, speak the language of computers. As a Computer Science graduate, Jeff learned computer programming language. Computer programming languages are often not considered to be “real” languages because they are not spoken words. They are very complex though, and require a lot of memorization and understanding to learn.
There are so many different computer programming languages, but one of the ones Bezos can at least be confirmed to know is C. That is because it is the computer language that Amazon was originally developed using. This was confirmed by Amazon employee number one, Shel Kaphan in this GeekWire interview.
While Bezos does not speak any language that is recognized by linguists, he does have a knack for computer programming languages. This comes as no surprise though, as he is the founder of a massive tech company. After all, when you’re at the forefront of developing and buying up other companies left, right, and center, learning a new language doesn’t really sit at the forefront of your mind.