Should Everyone in the World Speak English?
Well yes, according to Brits, the World should speak English.
On the whole the UK population isn’t particularly renowned for its linguistic abilities.
For decades the British schooling system hasn’t put the heavy emphasis on languages that has long been adopted by other nations.
With English often a core subject in foreign schools – particularly those in Europe – many UK holiday makers and expats take it as a given that at least basic level English will be spoken in most locations. Consequently there is often a ‘why bother’ attitude towards learning foreign tongues.
Now, before the Expat Hub comes under siege from a bunch of bilingual Brits embittered by my sweeping generalisations, it should be noted that a recent survey conducted by Trip Advisor has shown that a whopping 75 % of Brits expect the local population of foreign nations to speak English.
In a survey conducted in August and involving more than 6,000 European travellers (over a third of which were British) Trip Advisor found that three quarters of British travellers go abroad with the expectation that the majority of those they come across will speak at least some English. Meanwhile nearly a fifth of the 2,508 Brits surveyed also expected public signs to be written in English as well as in the country’s native language.
The survey also showed that while 67 % of Briton’s are able to speak an alternative language to some degree 22 % can’t speak a single foreign word.
Just 11 % of the British travellers surveyed had a fluent grasp of another language. That compares appallingly with Germany’s 70 %, Italy and France’s 50 % and Spain’s 43 %.
A spokesperson for Trip Advisor was quoted as saying of the results: ‘It’s easy to blame our poor grasp of other languages on the fact that English is so universally spoken, but expecting all signs to be in English reveals just how presumptuous some of us have become when travelling.’
On the up-side a very respectable 94 % of the Brits participating in the questionnaire asserted that they would make some attempt to learn at least a few basic words in the language of the country they planned to visit. As the Trip Advisor spokesperson said: ‘it’s good to see that while we might expect locals to speak English most of us at least attempt to learn the basic pleasantries before we go on holiday.’
The 6 % of Brits who don’t even bother learning how to say bonjour in the language of their destination country should hang their lazy heads in shame!