No new languages for holidaying Britons?

It’s a widespread (but not entirely correct) notion that British people don’t really bother learning new languages. Of course, there are countries which have worse reputations when it comes to foreign language learning, but I won’t point the finger at anyone.

A recent article has claimed that with British people love to travel to far-flung and exotic destinations, they are very unlikely to pick up any of the local language, and not just that they don’t, but that they refuse to. The survey by travelsupermarket.com revealed that over 10% of respondents said that they don’t believe it’s necessary to learn other languages because everyone else speaks English anyway. Around 45% of respondents said that they had received at least some negative attitude from locals in the places they’d travelled, because of their lack of language ability.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however, and some demographics (under 20s, over 60s, and Northern Irish travellers) appear to be the most likely to know or be willing to embrace a local language.

Of course, the audience reached by that particular website is probably not representative of all travellers from the UK, so this should be taken with a grain of salt.

I personally believe that people should at least learn a few of the local pleasantries (greetings and other basic phrases), and in my experience, these and a smile go a long way towards making a holiday that much more enjoyable.

What do you think? Do Britons make enough effort when it comes to learning languages for travel abroad?

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