8 Nov, 2019 @ 16:19
1 min read

Spaniards worse at speaking English than Romanians, Serbians and Greeks, new study finds, but who are Spain’s worst linguists?

No Habla Ingles

SPANIARDS are worse at speaking English than Romanians, Serbians and Estonians, a new study has found.

The English Proficiency Index (EPI), put Spain only just ahead of South Korea, Taiwan and China.


Compiled by language training company Education First, the rankings listed the Netherlands first out of 100 countries, which don’t have English as a first language.

Spain was ranked 35th in the ‘moderate’ category for English, while it is one of the worst in Europe.

Spain Languae English World
WORLD VIEW: Spain’s English skills compared to the rest of the world

The only European countries worse for their English language skills are Italy, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Albania, Georgia, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Researchers analysed countries’ GNI per capita, internet use, mean years of schooling and population.

They also provided a breakdown of countries’ regions and largest cities.

Spain’s Basque Country was judged to have the highest English language proficiency of any of its 17 autonomous communities.

English Speaking Countries Spain
POOR: Spain is one of the worst countries in Europe for English language proficiency

Meanwhile Andalucia was the sixth worst region, ahead of Valencia, the Canary Islands, Murcia, the Balearic Islands and Extremadura.

The Basque Country is also the only Spanish region classed as having a ‘high’ proficiency, while Extremadura is the only one classed as ‘low’.

Spain’s biggest cities were fairly similar in English proficiency, with Barcelona ranked top.

Following the Catalan capital, in descending order, is Madrid, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Malaga, Valencia, Sevilla and Alicante.

English Speaking Spanish Regions
TOP TO BOTTOM: The Basque Country in Spain’s only region ranked ‘high’ for its English language proficiency, while Extremadura is the only on ranked ‘low’

Despite the seemingly low results overall compared to other countries, Spain has improved since the rankings began in 2011, when it only had a ‘low’ overall English proficiency.

A statement from the researchers read: “Our data indicates that English proficiency in Spain has been declining since 2014.

“According to the latest polling by CIS, a Spanish public research institute, 60% of adults say they speak no English at all.

“A vast project to convert public primary and secondary schools into bilingual schools, in which up to 30% of the curriculum is taught in English, has so far had no measurable effect on adult English proficiency.”

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