The British Council released a report today entitled “Languages of the Future,” ranking non-English languages in order of importance for Brits to learn for economic and cultural reasons.
According to The Independent, the report determined that learning Spanish should be aspiring British polyglots’ first priority, followed by Arabic and French.
The study also found that there is an “alarming shortage” of Britons who are able to speak the foreign languages listed in the report, writes the BBC. The Independent reports that three out of four Britons cannot speak any of the languages listed in the study.
John Worne, director of strategy and the British Council, told press that “The problem isn’t that we’re teaching the wrong languages because the most widely-taught languages like French, Spanish and German all feature in our top ten. But the UK needs more people to take up the opportunity to learn and, crucially, get using these languages – along with new ones like Arabic, Chinese and Japanese.”
Worne also highlighted the economic necessity of learning foreign languages, saying “If we don’t act to tackle this shortfall, we’ll lose out both economically and culturally. Schools have their job to do but it’s also a problem of complacency, confidence and culture – which policy makers, businesses, parents and everyone else in the UK can help to fix.”