Brits to catch up in foreign Language
by FFE EU News staff
French is losing its appeal in Britain, despite France being the country’s nearest neighbour across the Channel.
A report by the British Council ranked the most popular foreign language to learn in the UK based on the following indicators: business, economics, culture, education, diplomacy and general interest. The results indicate that the most important language to learn is Spanish with 76 points, followed by Arabic with 54.
Spanish came out ahead of all others because it is the second most widely spoken language in the world. Arabic came in next mostly because of emerging business and diplomacy needs. The report said ‘Arabic has emerged as one of the priority languages for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It is their intention to increase the number of diplomats trained in Arabic by 40%.’
Despite getting just 47 points, French remains a popular choice of language to learn among Brits. The report said ‘French is extremely important for both inward and outward tourism as France is the second most popular destination for people from the UK travelling abroad and the UK’s biggest market for incoming tourists.’
The British Council also credits the popularity of French in its being the official language in many international organisations, including the United Nations.
As a whole, however, 75% of British adults are not able to converse in any foreign language. 15% of Brits say they can converse in French, 6% in German, 4% can speak in Spanish and 2% in Italian. The British Council recommended that government and business leaders come up with an educational policy on foreign languages to turn this trend around.