Graham Davies Posted May 13, 2006 Share Posted May 13, 2006 Which foreign languages should we be teaching? According to the most recent Eurobarometer survey (2005, published February 2006) English is spoken by 51% of European citizens as their Mother Tongue (MT) or first Foreign Language (FL). The Eurobarometer survey covered the EU countries plus Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Turkey. The figures for the main languages are: English: 51% (MT 13%, FL 38%) German: 32% (MT 18%, FL 14%) French: 25% (MT 12%, FL 13%) Italian: 16% (MT 13%, FL 3%) Spanish: 15% (MT 9%, FL 6%) So German speakers are the dominant MT group, followed by English and Italian speakers. Geographical spread is, of course, a key issue. Italian as a MT or FL is confined to a much narrower space than German. English is spoken almost everywhere to a lesser or greater degree in the countries surveyed. When asked which two FLs UK children should learn at school, UK citizens answered: French: 77% German: 34% Spanish 39% German came higher in most other European countries and French and Spanish came lower. Apart from the UK, only Ireland (64%) and Luxembourg (83%) considered French to be the first FL that children should learn. Overall, 77% of European citizens considered that children should learn English as their first FL. Source: http://europa.eu.int/comm/public_opinion/a..._243_sum_en.pdf Looking at the global picture, however, we should probably be teaching Chinese and Japanese. Blogs written in Japanese on the Web now outnumber those written in English, and Chinese is catching up fast. Source: Sifry's Alerts State of the Blogosphere, April 2006 http://www.sifry.com/alerts/archives/000433.html Or should we be teaching Arabic? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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