Britons urged to learn a foreign language in 2016

FRANCE-SHOOTING/BRITAIN The British Council says tackling "just a phrase a day" in a foreign language could see people greatly improve their language skills | Reuters

Britons should take a New Year resolution to learn a foreign language by tackling "just a phrase a day" in 2016.

The unusual appeal was made by the British Council, which is concerned by the dearth of people who can speak a foreign language.

In August, a poll of 2,098 UK adults by the British Council poll found a quarter felt nervous at the thought of having to speak a language on holiday.

The Council's languages drive comes as the number of students taking the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSEs) in modern languages continues to fall. Higher Education Statistics Agency data released in February showed that entries to modern foreign language degree courses had dropped.

French fell by 25 per cent, German by 34 per cent and Spanish by one per cent. Overall the number of entrants to modern foreign languages fell by 16 per cent between 2007-08 and 2013-14, the BBC reported.

The British Council says tackling "just a phrase a day" in a foreign language could see people greatly improve their language skills.

The British Council is the UK's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

The Council's campaign is being backed by actor and broadcaster Larry Lamb.

Supporting the Council's campaign, Lamb said: "Languages, for me, are about opening the world up. It gives you another soul, it gives you another person. My teacher, Miss Smith, started to teach us French.

"From learning French, I learnt German, from being in Germany I found out about amateur theatre and here I am today, talking to you about learning languages having had a career that's gone on for 40 years now."

Vicky Gough, schools adviser at the British Council, said: "The UK is currently facing a shortfall in people who can speak foreign languages.

"And with lots of free and innovative ways to get started, there has never been a better time to take up a new language.

"More than that, the benefits of learning one are huge - from boosting job prospects to acquiring the ability to understand and better connect with another culture.

"If the UK is to remain competitive on the international stage, we need far more of us to develop our language skills," Gough said.

This browser settings will not support to add bookmarks programmatically. Please press Ctrl+D or change settings to bookmark this page.
The Week

Get the full story

You can subscribe the week e- magazine to read the entire article. Available package details are listed.

Topics : #language

Related Reading

    Show more