Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Britons ‘nervous to speak foreign language when abroad’

“A quarter of British holidaymakers feel nervous at the thought of having to speak the local language when they go abroad, a poll suggests.

The survey of more than 2,000 UK adults for the British Council found 40% were embarrassed by their language skills.

But nearly two-thirds (65%) thought it was important to learn a few local words or phrases before going abroad.

The poll comes as exam regulator Ofqual notes a decline this summer in A-level and GCSE entries for languages.

While other traditional subjects have seen a rise in entries this year, Ofqual said languages were continuing to fall in popularity.

The Russell Group of research intensive universities said this further fall in the number of students studying foreign languages was concerning.

‘Languages are vitally important to the UK if it is to be fully engaged with the world,’ said the group’s director general Dr Wendy Piatt.”

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Languages do matter!

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