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Hello in different languages
Five reasons English speakers struggle to learn foreign languages
An interesting article from The Conversation giving five reasons why English people might find the acquisition of a foreign language difficult. These are:

  • Noun gender
  • Gender agreement
  • Formal and personal forms of you
  • Applying the 'case system'
  • The effect of mood - verb inflection

The article quotes a survey by the European Commission that doesn't report too favourably on the UK's achievement in this area. To quote from the introductory paragraphs:

"According to a recent survey co-ordinated by the European Commission 80% of European 15-30 year olds can read and write in at least one foreign language. This number drops to only 32% amongst British 15-30 year olds.

This is not just because all European young people speak English. If we look at those who can read and write in at least three languages, the UK is still far behind. Only 8% of UK young people can do what 88% of Luxembourgish, 77% of Latvian and 62% of Maltese young people can do."


The following pie chart, taken from a fact sheet published to accompany the Commission's report, compares the UK figures for people aged between 15 and 30 with the average for all the EU countries.


Hello in different languages

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