How many languages can you speak? British people are generally not very good language learners. In a recent survey, 62 per cent of the population only speak English! 

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably studying English. Maybe you speak a couple of other languages too. What are the British like when it comes to learning languages?

Statistics

Brits are famous for not speaking foreign languages. According to a survey published by the European Commission, this bad reputation is totally justified. The results of the survey state that the British are officially the worst language learners in Europe! Let’s look at some statistics:

  • 62 per cent of people surveyed can’t speak any other language apart from English.
  • 38 per cent of Britons speak at least one foreign language, 18 per cent speak two and only 6 per cent of the population speak three or more.
  • The European Union average showed that 56 per cent speak at least one foreign language, 28 per cent speak at least two and 11 per cent speak three or more. The survey confirmed that English was the most widely-spoken foreign language. 51 per cent of EU citizens can have a conversation in English.

School

Learning a foreign language is not a popular option at school in Britain. In UK schools it is common for children to start studying a foreign language at the age of 11 and many students give up languages completely at 14. So why don’t young people continue with languages at school? Research suggests that students think that it is more difficult to get good grades in languages than in other subjects such as science or history. The British government is now looking at different ways to improve language learning at school. One idea is to start much younger; there are plans to introduce foreign languages from the age of five.

Which languages?

Another plan is to give school children more choice. The languages traditionally studied in British schools have been French, Spanish and German. Now the government is encouraging teachers to expand the range of languages taught to include Arabic, Mandarin Chinese and Urdu.

Mandarin is predicted to become the second most popular foreign language learned in UK schools. It is already studied by more children than German or Russian. Only French and Spanish are more popular. Gareth from Wales says ‘I am learning Chinese, and find it fun’. Another student, Thomas from London, says ‘Just telling people that I learn Mandarin impresses people. Even having a very basic level gives you an advantage’. Brighton College has become the first independent school to make Mandarin a compulsory foreign language. Its headmaster Richard Cairns said, ‘One of my key tasks is to make sure pupils are equipped for the realities of the 21st century. One of those realities is that China has the fastest-growing economy in the world’.

It may be an ambitious task to change attitudes towards learning languages but the government is determined to try!

Total votes: 327

Discussion

How many languages can you speak? Do you like learning English? How important is it to you to speak foreign languages?

Comments

rafid121's picture
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rafid121 15 May, 2019 - 16:54

I am a Bangladeshi. Because of that, my main Language is bangla. Beside, I know the english language too. I have learned English language since the age of school. I want to learn English as well as Bangla Language. Because this is an international language. That's why i want to learn english well. With this english language we can talk or communicate to everyone in any other Country of the whole world. With the help of this language, we will know about traditions and Cultures of other country. I think this is the only way for me and everyone to know about the world. I am not well in english. So i want to improve my english with all skils.. That time i am so worried about it......... So help me....

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tasmia009's picture
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tasmia009 14 May, 2019 - 17:14

I'm from Bangladesh,so my first language is of course Bangla.Though Bangla is my first language but I can't communicate with other countries people in Bangla . So English is must for communicate with foreign countries.I started to know English from first grade. When I started to learn English in the school,the course were really bad. Because I just learned vocabulary and basic Grammer,my listening and spoken Skil were completely terrible.Now I'm trying to figure out my problems and I also wants to improve my skills.Though English is our international language but I'm not fluent in English.
I become so nervous while I'm trying to communicate with other people in English.

So,I want to come out from this problem.And for this I have to improve my English . I'm hopeful that very soon I can get rid out of this nervousness.

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Atiyanoor009's picture
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Atiyanoor009 14 May, 2019 - 16:34

Hi! I'm from Bangladesh. I can speak 2 Languages : Bangla and English.I have a few friends who can speak English very well.That time I'm so ashamed. So I would like to learn a good way to speak in English. Without that, If I were to learn English in a good way, it would help me in a lot of ways.For example :I can speak with foreigners, I can get a better job e.t.c. If I speak English, I won't need to rely on translations and subtitles anymore to enjoy my favourite books,songs,films and TV shows. On the other hand by learning English. You will also learn about other cultures. Few experiencess will make you grow as a person more than learning the values, habits and way of life in a culture that is different from yours.so at last i would like to say that i hope one day i can express my words in a good way..

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Baziwala's picture
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Baziwala 12 May, 2019 - 14:57

Hello. I'm from Bangladesh and I born in country. For this reason my mother tongue is Bangla. I can speak 1 language. This language is Bangla. I want to speak in English because its a international language. When I go to another country for any work, I must be speak English. And also our international movement depends in English language. We can't internationaly update and connected another country without English. So I need to learn English as soon as possible. Also we would fill up our aim in life and thats all.

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2 users have voted.
Davil's picture
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Davil 11 May, 2019 - 10:37

Hi...I am from Bangladesh.My native language is Bangla.I can speak 3 languages Bangla, English and Hindi.I like learning English because it is very helpful for me.By learning English I can speak with foreigners.

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1 user has voted.
Minionsahel's picture
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Minionsahel 11 May, 2019 - 09:22

I am from bangladesh.I speak in 2 languages.bangla and english.bangla in my mother tongue thats why i am fluent in bangla.since my childhood i am using bangla to express myself.but we cant talk in bangla to communicate with foreigners.in the other side english is our international language thats why its compulsory to learn english.i have been learning english from class 5.I found english very interesting.i WOULD LOVE TO LEARN ENGLISH BECAUSE that skill makes me feel special,smart and powerful in the same time.

i hope that 1 day i can also be a native speaker of english like my teacher .

thank you ;)

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Odressho's picture
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Odressho 11 May, 2019 - 07:55

I am from Bangladesh and my native language is Bangla
This practices are really useful
I can speak English and hindi also...
But my speaking English not so good so I want to improve my skills in English as I can possible

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1 user has voted.
Baziwalaa's picture
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Baziwalaa 11 May, 2019 - 06:22

Hello. I am Bangladeshi. I am native speaker of Bangla and I am learning English in British Council

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2 users have voted.
Xiamoi's picture
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Xiamoi 10 May, 2019 - 19:36

Hola I am from Bangladesh.I know 3 language..1.mother tongue, 2. Bangla and English something .I am also crazy about English Cause English language helping me to find good friends and so on though English is not my main language..I guess we should learn foreign language .Here an some benefits of learning foreign laguage.
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Connect
Advance your career
Feed your brain
Deepen your connection to other cultures
See the world
Go to the source
Become a polyglot
Boost your confidence
Strengthen your decision making
Gain perspective.

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1 user has voted.
Johnkabir3321's picture
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Johnkabir3321 10 May, 2019 - 19:36

I'm from Bangladesh.. My mother tongue is bangla I also speak in English. I think learning English is so much important for the people and there are many reason behind it like by learning English we will get a good job.. moreover we will do communicate with the foreign countries people... we can gain more knowledge from it.. it can be a valuable thing for us if we learn English properly... we all should learn English well

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1 user has voted.
arinka_au's picture
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arinka_au 16 December, 2017 - 18:30

Hi! I'm from Russia! I can speak 2 languages : Russian and English. I'm crazy about English! I'm going to become a teacher of foreign languages, especially English. I think it's useful to know different languages . You can watch foreign movies, read literature or just talk to foreigner! For example, as I know English I can understand my favourite music band's songs, understand what the bandmates say in interview.

Now I'm planning to study German.

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13 users have voted.
Forever_in__dream's picture
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Forever_in__dream 13 June, 2016 - 15:35

I can speak 2 languages: Russian (my native language) and English. Also I know Ucrainian a little. I real like learning English, it's very interesting to compare different languages and get to know information about culture, traditions of the countries where English is spoken. Also, I can watch films and listen to music in English and understand! Isn't it wonderful? And the most enjoyable thing I can do is talking to people all over the world and make friends with them! Another advantage of knowing foreign languages is that in our country it'll be more easely to find a decent job. I need to study English because my future profession requires communications with different people and with foreigners too.

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84 users have voted.
MARCreally's picture
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MARCreally 1 December, 2015 - 16:11

I can speak two languages Spanish and English, I like to learn English because it is interesting, also is fun.
I think it's important to master foreign languages, but not forgetting the native language of your country, which belong to your culture and that should not be missed, and these must also learn.

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82 users have voted.
RUTHJT3B's picture
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RUTHJT3B 1 December, 2015 - 16:10

I speak two languages. I like to learn English because is important for mi and it is interesting but English is very difficult. Is very important learn more languages.

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72 users have voted.
Xiamoi's picture
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Xiamoi 10 May, 2019 - 19:07

Yeah,..Cuz If we learn other language we may easily copy some important topic from them

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esme29_12coartac's picture
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esme29_12coartac 1 December, 2015 - 16:06

I'm learning English, is that this language will serve for the future succeed because most countries speak this language and is due to be opened me many opportunities.

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80 users have voted.
ILOVEME's picture
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ILOVEME 1 December, 2015 - 15:46

I speak three languages but for now I am learning English, this lenguages is easy because i spend ten hour studying this language. Is very important leanr a lot lenguages because you can talk with a lot of people for diferent contry .

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78 users have voted.
Danitza_14's picture
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Danitza_14 1 December, 2015 - 16:10

I can speak two languajes. This are Espanish end English.
Learning English is very important for my because I like to learn new Languajes. Is vey important learn new
languages because you can talk with peoples from diferents country end learn their customs.

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78 users have voted.
3DJM's picture
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3DJM 1 December, 2015 - 15:33

I speak three languajes are spanish, aymara and english, the language english is more important and interesting now that the languege you will serve for the future.
Is very important learn foreign languages because when you to go another country is very normal.

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79 users have voted.
melgizeh's picture
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melgizeh 1 December, 2015 - 14:38

I speak one foreign language. I am learning to speak english :)
Spanish is my mother language. It's very important for life, when you travell to another countries.

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75 users have voted.
Gabriela_15's picture
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Gabriela_15 1 December, 2015 - 14:21

I speak in spanish also I am learning to speak english in my school. In the future, I also want to learn another languages like french or japanese. I like to speak in english, because I think that this language is easier If I frequently study and practice. The english is very important. And I think that learning another languages are important because so I can Express my ideas to others and learn from other countries.

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76 users have voted.
iva10's picture
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iva10 29 September, 2015 - 21:14

Now is the third year that i'm studing french (also english but from the first grade).I know a bit jappaness ,spain and indian.Iwould also like to improve my english so that it would be perfect.

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79 users have voted.
Moe's picture
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Moe 22 February, 2015 - 17:55

Hi, I am from Myanmar. I am 10th standard student. I will have to answer my final exam on 11th March, next month.
If I pass the exam, I will go to university. So I am trying for exam. After my exam, I will have much time to learn English
including English teens. I am so interesting this training but I will have to stay away from English teens now.
.

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81 users have voted.
Moe's picture
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Moe 22 February, 2015 - 17:43

I speak Myanmar and English a little. I hope after learn ing English from learn Englisbteens , I will improve my English.

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89 users have voted.
famz97's picture
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famz97 13 December, 2014 - 14:30

I am from Indonesia so My First language is Indonesian. I learn English since Primary school but I still can't use Grammar well (and I just can speak a little) . I also ever learn Arabic but yeah I just can use a little. Now, I learn German language but I don't understand and I think I will get bad mark for this lesson. Yeah I just speak well with my First language. I am sorry if My English is terrible...

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84 users have voted.
francesca97it's picture
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francesca97it 7 December, 2014 - 10:04

I know only two language: italian(my first language) and english. But i woul learn another language becouse it is very important for future.

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73 users have voted.

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