The number of people able to speak a foreign language has dramatically fallen in the last four years with less than 23% of the UK able to do so, according to Rosetta Stone. In 2016, when the UK was dubbed the least language proficient nation in Europe, that figure sat at 35% compared to 65% across the rest of the continent. Data from Eurostat* found Sweden was the most proficient nation with 97% – almost three times higher than the UK figure.
Meanwhile, research highlighted in a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has found that people between the ages of 15 – 30 fall far behind our European neighbours once again when it comes to reading and writing – only 32% of those in the UK feel confident doing so in more than one language compared to the EU average of 89%. This highlights a worrying decline at a time when the UK needs to engage deeply with its European partners to negotiate post-Brexit trade agreements but that’s not the only benefit to being a bilingual nation. Knowing other languages can help us individually by improving memory, helping us be better multi taskers and even making our brains bigger.
Aston spoke to Alex Rawlings, polyglot to discuss the research in further detail and he also spoke about his 2 books as well.