“I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men and German to my horse” said Charles V (1500-1558) Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
The language choices of the emperor may have contributed in the creation of some of the stereotypes of his era. Back then the opinion was that the Spanish language was the most appropriate one to speak to God while the Italian one because of its melodic and charming sound and its association with love was the proper one for lovers. On the other hand, French, since it was the language of nobility it was considered to be the language of diplomacy. Finally, German, because of its harsh nature and sound was the most suitable for giving orders.
Therefore, since old times, there was the need for communication in more than just one language. The choice of language was related to social status and education level of the one who used it. Being knowledgeable in foreign languages displayed a high education level.