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Last week, the British Council announced the results of a poll of 1,768 UK adults which found that even though one in six adults said they could speak a foreign language to a high standard, nearly half of respondents (46 percent) are embarrassed they cannot speak the language of the country they are visiting when they go on holiday. Furthermore, 45 percent of adults said that they rely on the assumption that everyone will speak English in the country they are visiting, and 29 percent said they have been too scared to even try speaking the local language.
Panos Kraniotis, regional director Europe at Rosetta Stone had the following comments:
“There’s no doubt that the UK is full of monoglots. For many Brits, learning a foreign language is often seen as unattainable or unnecessary, but this isn’t the case. The good news is that the report indicates the desire to learn a new language is there, even if this isn’t always put into practice.
“It’s important for Brits to recognise the benefits of language learning that go far beyond being embarrassed in a foreign restaurant. Indeed, it’s the best way of identifying with, and understanding, another country’s culture. Language isn’t just a code, it’s a social practice that enables people to fully engage with who they’re talking to, as well as the society they’re visiting.
“With Brexit looming, it’s the perfect time for Brits to brush up on their language skills. English may be the world’s dominant language but as we face political separation, it’s likely we will also feel this socially. At times like these, the power of being able to speak another language cannot be underestimated. Schools, parents and businesses need to be encouraging everyone to develop their language skills, and with advances in technology making language learning easier than ever, people have no excuse not to take the leap.”
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