Bill Gates: 'I feel pretty stupid that I don't know any foreign languages'

Bill Gates reveals big regret. The Microsoft founder wishes he had matched Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg’s accomplishment. Photo: Andrew Crowley

Bill Gates has made his mark on the world. So what does he regret?

Not matching a skill that Mark Zuckerberg used last year to impress a Chinese audience: speak a foreign language.

“I feel pretty stupid that I don’t know any foreign languages,” Gates said Wednesday in an online chat.

“I took Latin and Greek in high school and got A’s and I guess it helps my vocabulary but I wish I knew French or Arabic or Chinese,” he said. “I keep hoping to get time to study one of these – probably French because it is the easiest. I did Duolingo for a while but didn’t keep it up. Mark Zuckerberg amazingly learned Mandarin and did a Q&A with Chinese students – incredible.”

Bill Gates: 'I feel pretty stupid that I don't know any foreign languages'

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Bill Gates, president of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Boao, south China’s Hainan Province, April 8, 2013. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook (FB), has become a fairly fluent speaker of Mandarin, a skill he demonstrated during a question-and-answer session with university students in Beijing.

But when Gates visits China — whether meeting Chinese president Xi Jinping or visiting a Beijing Dairy Queen with Warren Buffett — he’s left to speak in English.

Gates, 59, should have plenty of time to pursue that passion. He’s the world’s richest man — worth nearly $80 billion — and retired from his day-to-day role at Microsoft (MSFT) in 2008. Last year, he shed his role as chairman of the company.