Brits have poor skills with foreign phrases

Hotel News - 21/04/2011

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On average, UK travellers heading on foreign holidays can muster fewer than ten key phrases in the language of their destinations. This is the finding of the latest study.

Researchers surveyed 3,000 Brits who are planning holidays abroad this year to check their ability to use the local tongues of their holiday destinations. The study determined that millions of Brits will head to Europe and farther abroad this summer with an extremely limited skill in the native tongue.

According to the results of the study, only one Brit in six would have the ability to get directions to the hospital from a local while 50 per cent were able to order a glass of wine or a beer in a restaurant or bar. Sheilas’ Wheels travel insurance, which conducted the study, also discovered that the average Brit only knows ten words or phrases in French, six in Spanish and a meagre three in Italian.

Perhaps even more amazing was the revelation that two-thirds of UK holiday makers said they refused to learn the languages of their holiday destinations before heading abroad. Though 20 per cent of respondents said Spain was their all-time favourite place for a holiday, the average British holiday maker can speak just six words or phrases in Spanish.

In the best of cases, the average traveller to Spain was able to say ‘hello’, ‘good-bye’, ‘yes’, ‘good morning’, ‘thank you’, and ‘good evening’ in Spanish. Most people, however, were not capable of finding out how to get to a chemist, ask for a doctor or even tell people that they are lost.

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