According to the report, French was the second most popular language (16.6%) for Rosetta Stone’s UK learners, followed by English (13.3%), Italian (7.8%) and German (7.5%). Japanese, Arabic and Chinese (Mandarin) also featured prominently in the top 10.
“Spanish is growing in popularity at GCSE and we see this reflected in these results”
Reflecting on the results, Rosetta Stone senior director (Europe), Sabine Schnorr said it was “pleasing” – albeit not surprising – to see European languages make up the top five given the UK will be distancing itself economically and politically in the next few months.
“Language skills give us the confidence and the ability to communicate with others, which helps us build productive relationships in the workplace and in our personal lives,” she said.
“In the UK this is particularly topical right now as it becomes increasingly imperative that more languages are being learned to ensure the country remains competitive post-Brexit.
“For businesses, employees with language skills have an edge as they are better placed to succeed internationally when they can communicate with overseas customers, suppliers and partners in their languages of choice. In school, Spanish is growing in popularity at GCSE and we see this reflected in these results.”
Schnorr added that there is a recognition of the value of speaking non-European languages, with many UK learners choosing to learn Japanese, Arabic and Mandarin.
“Learning languages has many positive benefits; it gives individuals and businesses an opportunity to improve collaboration and gain access to individuals and deals that would otherwise be restricted, and it gives the learner a much better understanding of other cultures,” she said.
Commenting on the results, linguist and professor David Crystal told The PIE News learning Spanish is a wise choice, as it provides access to the majority of Spanish speakers, in South and Central America, and increasingly in the US.
“If the UK ends up having to make new trade deals outside of Europe, this will be the most useful language to know,” he added.