Skyscanner Takes a Closer Look at Today's Celebration of the European Day of Languages

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Study reveals only 24% put languages into practice when abroad

Today (26th September) is the European Day of Languages, set up ten years ago in order to encourage language learning across the continent. However it appears from a recent Skyscanner survey, that further promotion is needed as the findings show that less than a quarter of respondents are at ease speaking the local language when abroad, with almost half admitting they “only use a few words”.

The main reasons given for limited use of local languages was found to be lack of vocabulary (49%); lack of confidence in understanding replies (22%); embarrassment (9%); and knowledge that the locals speak English (11%).

One of the objectives of the European Day of Languages is to promote lifelong language learning both in and out of school; the Skyscanner study shows that those who learn languages at school have greater confidence when trying to speak the language overseas with 53% willing to speak or hold short conversations in a foreign language compared to only 33% of those who didn’t study a language. However the study also revealed that education is not the only factor - an impressive 90% claimed that travelling to a country made them keener to learn a language.

“With the vast majority of travellers motivated by overseas travel to boost their language knowledge, it’s clear that even a short break to Europe can prove inspiring, said Gareth Williams, Skyscanner CEO.

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Sam Poullain
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