English vs. the world

The people at Hotels.com have been busy conducting surveys recently, and their latest research seems to confirm what we already knew…British people are not renowned for their language skills.

64% of the 2000 Brits surveyed didn’t know a word of any other language. One of the reasons given for this was “expecting hosts to speak English.” (!)

63% of those polled had no idea what the Dutch word “goedemorgen” means. I don’t speak Dutch, but could easily guess that it would be “good morning,” due to the similarities when trying to pronounce it.

1 in 50 respondents claimed to understand everything that was said to them in at least one other language, but could not reply.

I think the results, even from a small sample of the population, are pretty embarrassing. What can we Brits do to turn this stereotype around? Obviously, Language Trainers students are at a huge advantage here!

I had a conversation with two friends regarding learning the other day; one is French, the other Italian. Both agreed that it wasn’t as necessary for native English speakers to learn another language, as English is the one language a lot of people know. They also both started to learn English at a young age, and live in the UK to understand the language better.

Is this where we are going wrong? Is it the education system, or are we simply lazy? What are your thoughts?