Thu, Nov 21, 2013 - Page 10 News List

Our English is not so great say Italians, Germans, French

Italians participate in a protest against illegal waste dumps in Naples, Italy on Nov. 16.

Photo: EPA

Italians, Germans and the French are the most insecure in Europe about their English ability, with Swedes among the most confident, data showed recently.

In celebration of European Language Day, the Eurostat statistics agency said 66 percent of working age adults claim to know at least one foreign language, with English overwhelmingly the most popular except in the Baltic states, Luxembourg and Slovakia.

But asked if their level of English was “proficient,” “good,” or just “fair,” 64 percent of Italians said only fair, followed by 50 percent in Germany and 49 percent in France.

In Malta, Britain’s one-time Mediterranean outpost, 53 percent of respondents judged themselves proficient in English, followed by Sweden at 43 percent and Denmark at 36 percent.

The data showed a whopping 94 percent of upper secondary school students in the European Union choosing English as their second language, with French a distant second at 23 percent, and German at 21 percent.

The crushing preponderance of English as the foreign tongue of choice is a sore subject for many European countries, especially the French, who long for a continent where the language of Shakespeare is not the lingua franca.

(Liberty Times)









1. proficient adj.

精通的 (jing1 tong1 de5)

例: She is proficient in two foreign languages.


2. outpost n.

前哨;邊遠地區 (qian2 shao4; bian1 yuan3 di4 qu1)

例: The community is the last outpost of civilization in the far north.


3. preponderance n.

佔大多數;居於優勢 (zhan4 da4 duo1 shu4; ju1 yu2 you1 shi4)

例: The preponderance of visitors to the museum is from outside the country.


Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top