RSI Corporate - Licensing

Multilingualism: Speaking the language of diversity

Al Jazeera – Khaled Diab

“As the United Kingdom heads for the EU exit, a recent survey bestowed upon Britons the unenviable distinction of being the worst at foreign languages in Europe. Although this survey is based on perceptions and is, hence, subjective, it does confirm an enormous and damning body of previous research. Despite the UK being one of the most multicultural societies in Europe, three-fifths of people in Britain cannot speak a foreign language, according to a Europe-wide survey. In the rest of Europe, more than half the citizens speak at least one foreign language. This dire picture is backed up by anecdotal evidence. When growing up in the UK, I was often regarded as a curiosity, and sometimes even a marvel, for being able to be speak Arabic fluently. In later life, I have noticed how Britons and Americans, with the exception of an impressively polyglottic minority, usually have the greatest difficulty of any nationality I know in acquiring another language, no matter how desperately they want to.”(more)

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