Thursday, 15 November 2012

Tourists' language skills survey

British holidaymakers seem to rank at the bottom of the class when it comes to conversing in a foreign language: Only 11% said they could speak another language fluently, compared to more than half of the French and Italian tourists. The Spanish are a little less fluent with 43%, while the clear majority of Germans (70%) say they can hold a conversation in another language.

This is the result of a survey of over 6000 European travellers, who were asked by TripAdvisor about their language skills.
The survey has revealed that the vast majority of Brits (94%) do make an effort to learn at least some basic local language. However, almost three quarters of British tourists expect those they meet to speak English.

Country Speak another language fluently  Speak only the basics of another language  Do not speak a word of any other language 
Germany 70% 29% 1%
Italy 51% 46% 3%
France 50% 42% 8%
Spain 43% 51% 6%

11% 67% 22%

While two thirds of Brits claim they can at least speak the basics of another language, almost one quarter (22%) admits they do not speak a single word of another language. Worringly, 19% of British travellers also expect public signs in another country to be displayed in English as well as in the local language.  

TripAdvisor spokesperson, Emma Shaw, comments like this: “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. However, 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.

Luckily, at Tomlinscote we buck the trend and make everyone learn a foreign language, with all intentions to make them fluent and able to hold a conversation. If you succeed, you certainly will stand out when looking for a career! And you will be able to explain to your fellow travellers what those signs mean, which strangely are all in Spanish...

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