POLITICS

President Obama concedes his Spanish-speaking is 'painful' to the ears

President Barack Obama speaks during the ‘ConnectED to the Future’ event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. The president will travel to Las Vegas Friday, a Democratic official said, heightening anticipation that he will announce executive orders on immigration this week. The president is expected to take administrative steps to protect as many as 5 million people in the country illegally from deportation, and grant them work permits. Republicans are vehemently opposed to the president's likely actions, with some conservative members threatening to pursue a government shutdown if Obama follows through on his promises to act on immigration before the end of the year.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama speaks during the ‘ConnectED to the Future’ event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. The president will travel to Las Vegas Friday, a Democratic official said, heightening anticipation that he will announce executive orders on immigration this week. The president is expected to take administrative steps to protect as many as 5 million people in the country illegally from deportation, and grant them work permits. Republicans are vehemently opposed to the president's likely actions, with some conservative members threatening to pursue a government shutdown if Obama follows through on his promises to act on immigration before the end of the year. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Barack Obama concedes that one of the things that defeats him is the Spanish language.

In a conversation with a Guatemalan entrepreneur at the White House recently, Obama said that Spanish had eluded him when he tried to learn it, according to the Guatemalan news site siglo21.com

“My Spanish in high school was painful,” the president told Luis von Ahn, a Pennsylvania man of Guatemalan descent who is the creator of a language instruction app called Duolingo, during a gathering at the White House for young entrepreneurs. 

“My accent is terrible, even though I don’t even have the vocabulary of a two-year-old child, but fortunately now there is Duolingo.”

Von Ahn, whose app has roughly 100 million users worldwide, explained to Obama how “people who don’t have money to pay for foreign language classes use the app to learn English and [they hope] then have more educational and work opportunities.”

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He added that there are more people in the United States learning languages through Duolingo than in the schools.

“This would suggest that there’s a problem in our schools,” Obama speculated.

Obama said he would not be able to use the app just yet.

“I’m not permitted to have a smartphone, for security – not age – reasons,” he said with a smile.

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