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! 


Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises to check your understanding.

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?


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.


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!


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

Average: 5 (1 vote)
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Submitted by UtkuKublay35 on Wed, 06/01/2022 - 08:18

Hi.Im From Turkey.I speak 2 langagues.Turkısh and Eng.Languages ​​are very important for humanity to speak and communicate.
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Submitted by Cfvdv on Fri, 06/11/2021 - 13:15

I can speak Portuguese, English and the basic of Dutch. Yes, I like learning English, because although I like it, I can communicate with practically the whole world. It's very important speaking foreign languages because you can do business with them and you can also meet other countries and peoples.

Submitted by Quynh111 on Sun, 12/20/2020 - 03:01

Well, my mother language is Vietnamese, and I am studying English and Chinese, so I can speak three languages. However, I haven't spoken English and Chinese fluently. I really love studying English, I feel that I will have many opportunities rather than others if I can speak languages.
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Submitted by linhdan83 on Thu, 11/28/2019 - 06:50

I can speak three languages : Vietnamese, Chinese and English. I love learning English because this is my favorite subject. In addition, for me, I think I can study a foreign language pretty well. A tip to be good at foreign language is that you should practice everyday so you won't forget when studying.
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Submitted by pink1208 on Thu, 11/28/2019 - 04:02

I can speak two languages: Vietnamese and English. Besides, I'm also learning Chinese. I think it's very important to you to speak foreign language. If you can speak more than one language., you will have many job opportunites with high salary. You also can work in foreign companies or go abroad.

Submitted by LinhNguyen_2208 on Wed, 11/27/2019 - 03:54

Now, I can speak 3 languages: English, Chinese and Korean ( except Vietnamese because it’s my native language). I really like English and in my opinion, I think learning a foreign language is extremely useful and exciting to me. Athough a new language is difficult to learn, when we learned it we feel very happy and self-confident. After learning foreign languages, I can communicate with my international friends. That sounds great!!!

Submitted by sang0110 on Tue, 11/26/2019 - 13:54

I'm learning English and i do love it. In my country students about 7 to 10 years old stated learn English as a main subject

Submitted by Kimkhanh305 on Tue, 11/26/2019 - 08:32

Actually, I didn't have a knack for learning foreign languages at an early age. Until I was in 12th grade, a teacher inspired me to learn English. I loved her teaching method, and her knowledge is really sexy to me. From that time, I have been keen on trying to master English, but currently, my passion is gradually fading away cause no one can motivate me like her anymore. She is such an eminent teacher in my heart!

Submitted by haahaa0912 on Sun, 11/24/2019 - 17:02

I started studying English when I was 6 grade. At this time, I was about to be swallowed by a great deal of strange lessons which I had not experienced before; I was always worried in appearance and my heart was likely to be ran away the chest whenever my teacher called loudly my name to give a answer. Fortunately, she gave me a hand herself and encouraged me to come over the fear and open the new phase of studying English for my life. Day by day, I could not realize when I was big on it exactly, study more and more until now the second year student. Reaching a higher level in speaking, listening; correcting mistakes in pronunciation, being self-confident in front of the crowded are the integral points I concentrate on. Besides, I am a beginner in Chinese class as well this September. Despite some trouble in getting used to a unfamiliar languages, now I am likely to balance and fine with it.

Submitted by yennhi2k0 on Sun, 11/24/2019 - 16:01

Beside speak Vietnamese as the "mother tongue" I can speak English and a little Chinese. I have known English when I was grade 3. But the first time learned English, I didn't like it, I very hate it because I feel it difficult for me. But later, I like learning English very much. It is very useful. It has many advantages, it helps me to make friend, to communication, to studying. Everyone say English is the key to success. In Viet Nam, English is the compulsory subject from primary school. In my opinion, learning English is important.

Submitted by kieunguyen_1076 on Sun, 11/24/2019 - 13:50

Frankly speaking, 4 languages that I can speak currently. English, Chinese and mother language "Vietnamese" are languages which I speak fluently thanks to hard work. In addition, Korean is another my hobby of learning language. Because the popularity of Kpop and K-drama as well, I can understand a little bit what Koreans say. To be honest, learning others language is truly important for ourselves. It improves communication skill, helps us become extrovert. Without linguistic ability, we cannot understand the modern society.
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Submitted by Tuan_Quoc on Wed, 11/20/2019 - 04:20

I have known English for over 5 years and I know a little more Chinese. I realize that learning foreign languages ​​has become an indispensable trend in the era of global integration today. My mother once told me that English is an international language, so everyone should learn English so that they can have an advantage in accessing the knowledge of the world. For me, English is not just a tool for communication but it also opens up new opportunities. It helps me to get closer to many useful sources of information through books and materials that I have read during my study. Besides, I also make friends with many people from many different countries and they tell me about many cultures with a variety of customs and traditional identities about each of their countries. I also have a dream that someday I will be traveling to different parts of the world and I think there will be no useful tool or means other than English that can help me achieve that dream. English has given me so many benefits that I can hardly mention them and I will always appreciate those benefits.

Submitted by hamynguyen on Mon, 11/18/2019 - 17:16

Hi!I'm Vietnamese.I'm certainly excited to share something about "languages" topic. The maijor language in my country is VietNames.Besides, there are many other languages that be taught in school and outside. Actually now I can speak English and chinese a bit.I'm attracted by variety of new languages because I like to learn a new language so much.morever, It is the fact that learning English is a part of our life.In my opinion, learning English is important because: -Enligh is an international language -whole people on over the world speak ;give an opportunity to get a well-paid job.

Submitted by havy230819 on Wed, 11/13/2019 - 15:10

Our teacher told us that there are people who speak English as their mother tongue, who use English as a second language and finally those who learn English as a foreign language. I'm the third type, a Vietnamese who won't stop learning foreign languages. I started learning English quite late, but I think I am quite good at this subject. Everyone says English is the key to success, and the language has become a compulsory subject for all Vietnamese schools. Currently, I am improving my English every day.

Submitted by AyuNguyen on Sun, 11/10/2019 - 14:22

In addition to Vietnamese as the "mother language", I can speak English and a little Chinese. Now, I am in the process of learning another language, Japanese. When I first learned English, I didn't like it very much because I found it difficult for me. But later, in the process of learning from middle school to high school, I realized something interesting and the importance of this language to me. I feel that knowing at least one other type of language will be of great help to me. For example, I can talk to foreigners, or sometimes I'll show them directions, ...etc.

Submitted by rafid121 on Wed, 05/15/2019 - 15:54

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....

Submitted by tasmia009 on Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:14

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.

Submitted by Atiyanoor009 on Tue, 05/14/2019 - 15:34

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 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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Submitted by Baziwala on Sun, 05/12/2019 - 13:57

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.

Submitted by Davil on Sat, 05/11/2019 - 09:37

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.

Submitted by Minionsahel on Sat, 05/11/2019 - 08:22

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 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 ;)

Submitted by Odressho on Sat, 05/11/2019 - 06:55

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

Submitted by Baziwalaa (not verified) on Sat, 05/11/2019 - 05:22

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

Submitted by Xiamoi on Fri, 05/10/2019 - 18:36

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. ------------ 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.

Submitted by Johnkabir3321 on Fri, 05/10/2019 - 18:36

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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