Language barrier for UK tourists

22 October 2012 09:21

UK tourists are going to have to start swotting up if they are to compete with their European counterparts when it comes to languages

UK tourists are going to have to start swotting up if they are to compete with their European counterparts when it comes to languages

New research has revealed that UK tourists are the worst in Europe at foreign languages, with just 11% fluent in one and 22% unable to speak a single word.

The study, which was carried out by TripAdvisor, even discovered that as many as 74% of the 2,508 Britons polled expected people they met abroad to speak English and 19% expected public signs to be in English as well as in the local language. Around 67% are at least able to speak basic words in another language though, prompting Emma Shaw to say it is positive to find that British holidaymakers are making an effort.

"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," said the TripAdvisor spokeswoman. However, people from some other countries find it as natural to learn some of a language in preparation for their trip as booking travel insurance. As many as 70% of German travellers can speak another language fluently, with just 1% unable to speak a single word, while 51% of Italians are fluent in another language. And the French (50%) and Spanish (43%) aren't far behind either.

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