Brits getting better at learning foreign languages

Everyone knows the stereotype of the Brit abroad - talking loudly and slowly in English in an effort to be understood. Then they get impatient and rude when the locals don’t understand what they’re saying.

However, it seems that this is becoming a less common occurrence as a new survey has found that we are perhaps more linguistically gifted than we give ourselves credit for. The results show that nearly 60 per cent of us try and speak the language of our host destination, and more and more of us are making an effort to actively learn the local language.

A quarter of us are even still learning the language while we are away. Many of us even ask the staff where we are staying if they could teach us a few phrases in the local tongue.

Only a very small percentage believe that learning the language is not worth the effort as everyone will just speak English anyway. We are also making an effort to learn the phrases that are associated with good manners. ‘Thank you’, ‘please’ and ‘excuse me’ were the top three phrases that we wanted to learn while we were away. Us Brits are also ranked highly when it comes to being polite on our holidays, along with the Germans, Canadians and Japanese.

When questioned about our language skills, most of us knew at least how to ask for a couple of beers in Spanish, if someone can speak English, in French and how much something costs in Italian. We just need to have the confidence to use them.

So this summer, when you’re booking your flights and travel insurance, maybe you should buy yourself a phrase book and learn a few. It really doesn’t take long and could really enhance your holiday experience. Plus you’ll be doing your bit for keeping the British end up abroad.

Date Created: 25 July 2013

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