SPANIARDS are falling behind other European nations when it comes to speaking another language.

The average European Union citizen of working age speaks three languages, including their own, according to research carried out by CIS, the Centre for Sociological Investigations.

But Spanish workers do not even average two languages.

Just 50% of adults aged between 25 and 64 in Spain speak one or more foreign tongues, putting them third from last in the whole of the EU.

This average is further skewed by the fact that several regions – including Catalunya, Valencia, Galicia, the Basque Country and the Balearic Islands – have co-official languages jointly spoken with Spanish.

CIS blames the education system for its limited emphasis on languages.

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  1. Stefanjo, Brits assume that English is the European lingua franca for good reasons, and not just for Europe – it’s the global lingua franca.

    What’s the point in learning another language if not necessary? That’s not laziness, it’s pragmatism. There are plenty more relevant and useful things that could be learned instead.

    I used to work for a German bank. Even so, the official internal language was English. I often found myself in meetings as the only non-German, and even though I speak German, they insisted on sticking to the company rules, including taking the minutes and action points in English…

  2. I agree with both stefanjo & Iestyn ap Robert. We Brits tend to be lazy simply because English is so widely spoken worldwide & many industries use English as the “standard” language. You’ll maybe notice it’s required in the aviation & marine worlds but also locally here in Spain e.g. on the local trains announcements are made in Spanish AND in English as they are in many other places especially when the parties concerned want their information to be understood by the largest number of people. I’ve also found that many folks who naturally speak other languages, can usually understand English. Pity some of the labelling on products is not always in English as well as the local language so that a far larger number of people can understand what they’re looking at.

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