Languages are the primary means by which humans communicate with one another. They serve to transfer information, describe our reality and to convey our emotions succinctly and in a systematic manner.
In the United Kingdom, we have a rich tradition of fostering and promoting our internal languages. As the home and global hub of the English language, the UK is regarded as the standard bearer when it comes to promoting the English language and all that it represents. Apart from the universal use of English, other spoken languages across the UK include Gaelic and Welsh.
When it comes to Britons learning and expressing themselves in other languages and cultures however, the situation is quite the opposite. Recently a study undertaken by the British Council (herein BC) has revealed some starting statistics. Out of the 10 major languages it has identified as important for the country’s future, more than three-quarters of the UK public is not competent enough to hold conversations in such languages.
The YouGov poll undertaken by the BC found that out of 4000 people surveyed, 75% were unable to speak and articulate in languages deemed as crucial to the UK’s future economic standing. The 10 listed languages included (in order of importance): Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish and Japanese. Another four were also under the report’s radar and described as potentially important being: Dutch, Indian languages, Korean and Polish.