Video: Why Are Brits So Reluctant To Learn A Second Language?

Britain has a real problem with foreign languages.

A study by the British Council recently found three-quarters of the population cannot hold a conversation in a foreign language. Our apathy could prove to be a big risk to the economy, with an “alarming shortage” of people able to speak the ten languages vital to our future prosperity and global standing.

So what’s stopping us?

New research by the Goethe Institute has revealed that 73 per cent of Brits have considered learning a second language. The main barrier is time (47 per cent), while a further 44 per cent find the costs too high.

But technology could change all that. Online learning opportunities are helping to boost the numbers of people interested in foreign languages. Courses that are flexible and can be adapted to any schedule allow workers to gain new language skills to further their careers without spending time and money attending classes.

Here’s an inside look into current language trends:

1 Response

  1. Time and costs are issues but another important one is the fact that so many people who try to learn one give up because they find that the amount of effort they are putting in does not match the improvements they make. The reason for this is more to do with how they are learning than their own capacities. Just give a person a fork to eat soup with and you will know what I mean!
    Technology will only change people’s willingness to keep learning if the results they achieve transform into increased skills AND confidence in times that are reasonable. As long as the technology draws on prevailing theories that underpin mainstream language teaching I can’t see much hope! Drilling, grammar study, translation and memorisation are very poor ways to learn a language.
    There are other ways that utilise the incomparable powers of learning we all so amply demonstrated when we learned our mother tongue. These have not somehow disappeared, but can be drawn upon and used in adult like ways. In fact many people do that and there are classes that employ such means. You just need to go out of your way to find them.
    Just like hunting down a good doctor or accountant. You need to have criteria that help you judge them, not just the recommendations of others. Here are a few to help you assess language learning methods:

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