Skip navigation
Skip navigation
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser.


26th September 2005 – European Day of Languages - A new survey commissioned by Rosetta Stone reveals that the UK is a nation of language lovers who lack the time to learn and have been put off by past learning experiences. 100% of respondents had tried to learn a foreign language, however 58% were unsuccessful and 40% complained of poor quality language teaching at schools. This perhaps explains why the UK was recently ranked bottom of the league table of 28 countries for language ability by CILT, the national languages centre.

After compulsory language education in school, evening classes ranked as the most popular method of learning. However, of the 40% of respondents that had enrolled, 52% failed to complete their courses, blaming time constraints. Others complained of overcrowded classrooms and too much homework. Whilst significant numbers of those surveyed had used phrase books (25%) and/or language CDs/tapes (23%) as learning methods, only 2% had tried online learning.

The main motivations for wanting to learn a foreign language were for personal development (58%); in preparation for overseas travel (30%) and for career enhancement, which was cited by 24% of respondents. In addition, 12% were keen to be able to converse with relatives in their native tongue.

Spanish is the most desirable language to learn according to 45% of respondents, overtaking French (31%) despite it being the most commonly taught language in schools according to the DfES. Surprisingly, less commonly used languages such as Polish and Swedish each received 1% of respondents’ votes, and 4% of those surveyed expressed an interest in joining an estimated 873 million others to speak the most widely used language in the world – Mandarin!

Most strikingly, consumers simply wanted to be able to learn simple phrases - asking for directions or querying a bill or taxi fare were high on the wish list. However, the most desirable phrase listed by 57% of respondents was the ability to order a drink in their chosen language. Also, 4% stated that they would like to be able to ask what the football score is – a question that will undoubtedly be on everyone’s lips during the 2006 World Cup being held in Germany next year!

James Pitman, managing director at Rosetta Stone, said: “We Brits are a nation of language lovers, despite being perceived otherwise. Not only are we eager to learn a second or third language, we are becoming more adventurous in our choices. However, as a nation our language skills are deficient in comparison with our European neighbours. We were ranked a miserable bottom of a league table of 28 countries according to CILT; a factor which could damage our ability to compete in a global economy; compulsory teaching for 14-19 years olds has come to an end and language applicants for universities are in decline – which is extremely worrying.”

“Poor teaching experiences were blamed by 40% of respondents for their failure to learn. What they don’t realise is that there are alternatives to traditional teaching methods, which have typically used the grammar translation approach. These blend e-learning with other effective tools and can be offered as online language learning, which not only affords greater flexibility by enabling users to learn any time, online and at their own pace, and enjoy a wider variety of languages, but it can also help learners to become fluent more quickly than through traditional learning methods.”

“The best e-learning courses use dynamic immersion methodology, which enables users to learn a new language in the same way they learnt their first; by linking new words with real-world objects and events, as well as using the voices of native speakers, rather than translation. So there’s no longer any excuse, and no better time to get online than the European Day of Languages – 26th September 2005.”


About Rosetta Stone:

Rosetta Stone is the leading provider of on-line and CD-Rom based language-learning courses. The e-learning courses are based on a dynamic immersion methodology which means that they are fully interactive and use thousands of real-life colour images to convey the meaning of each spoken and written phrase in the program. The program’s carefully sequenced structure, written texts and extensive use of native speakers helps the user to attain proficiency quickly, without memorization, translation or tedious grammar drills. Teaching 29 languages to millions of people in over 150 countries worldwide, Rosetta Stone is the key to language learning success. For more information visit

For further information contact:

Kathryn Hughes / Vicky Hayden
HBL Media
020 7612 1830 /

James Pitman
Managing Director
Rosetta Stone
01753 834 520

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of HBL Media in the following categories: Children & Teenagers, Men's Interest, Leisure & Hobbies, Women's Interest & Beauty, Travel, Education & Human Resources, for more information visit