Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

German tourists top languages poll

Just 11 per cent of UK tourists speak another language fluently, according to a survey
Just 11 per cent of UK tourists speak another language fluently, according to a survey

British travellers are still bottom of the class when it comes to speaking another language.

Just 11% of UK tourists speak another language fluently, with 22% not able to utter a single word in a foreign tongue, a survey by TripAdvisor found.

In contrast as many as 70% of German travellers can converse fluently in another language, with only 1% unable to speak a single foreign word.

The Italians, with 51% fluent in a foreign language, the French (50%) and the Spanish (43%) were all far more at ease with different languages than the British.

But at least Britons made some effort while overseas, with 67% of them able to speak basic words in a foreign language.

The survey of 6,258 European travellers, including 2,508 Britons, revealed that 19% of British travellers expected public signs abroad to be in English as well as in the local language.

Also, 74% of British travellers expected those they meet overseas to speak English.

TripAdvisor spokeswoman Emma Shaw said: "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."

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