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Friday, 19 October 2012

Que? Three quarters of Brits expect locals to speak English on holiday

Que? Three quarters of Brits expect locals to speak English on holiday

With summer now officially over we at TripAdvisor decided to find out just how many of us knew their hola from their bonjour on holiday this year. In a survey of over *6,000 European travellers we can reveal that while 94% of British travellers claim they do make some effort to at least learn basic local language words before their holiday, a significant three quarters (74%) of Brits expect those they meet to speak English.

Britons are still at the bottom of the class when it comes to speaking another language – only 11% of British respondents claim they speak another language fluently, compared to 70% of Germans and 51% of Italians. Two thirds (67%) of Brits claim they can at least speak the basics of another language, but almost a quarter (22%) admit they do not speak a single word of another language.   

Country Speak another language fluently  Speak only the basics of another language  Do not speak a word of any other language 
Germany 70% 29% 1%
Italy 51% 46% 3%
France 50% 42% 8%
Spain 43% 51% 6%
UK 11% 67% 22%

And it doesn’t just apply to people, when abroad a fifth (19%) of British travellers admit they expect public signs to be displayed in English as well as that of the local language.

“It’s easy to blame our poor grasp of other languages on the fact that English is so universally spoken, but expecting all signs to be in English reveals just how presumptuous some of us have become when travelling. However, it’s good to see that while we might expect locals to speak English, most of us at least attempt to learn the basic pleasantries before we go on holiday,” says TripAdvisor spokesperson, Emma Shaw.


*survey carried out on 6,258 Europeans, including 2,508 Britons, between 3rd August – 10th August.