From education to employment

Less than ONE in 10 Brits can speak a second language

Less than one in ten Brits (8%) can fluently speak a second language*, yet data from London-based adult education college, City Lit, has revealed that the desire to learn is definitely there.

City Lit has announced that almost half (45%) of their most popular courses are language based, and with 36% of UK adults either currently undertaking an education class or thinking about doing so, the rates of adults learning new languages could be on the up.

In fact, speaking a second language is found to more likely to result in you earning more, with those who speak English and Turkish expecting to earn the highest, with a salary of up to £50,000+.

The City Lit study also found that those who also speak Gujarati – a language native to the Indian state of Gujarat – will see their income boosted, with an average salary of £44,109 per annum. If you speak Chinese (any form) as a second language, you’ll be the third highest earner, with an average salary of £42,327.

Those who can speak sign language will earn the least, with a salary of £21,333, 22% lower than the UK average salary of £27,200**.

It can be overwhelming to learn a second language, but thankfully the experts at City Lit have put together a list of top tips to help you brush up on your foreign language skills:

Trust technology

There are a whole host of apps and websites for learning a new language, and they can be a great way of incorporating learning a foreign lingo into your everyday routine. These apps allow you to practice languages wherever you are, which can be beneficial if you’re stretched for time. Many apps have achievements and goals to hit which encourage their users to use the app every day, and the more you use it, the more you will learn!

Use music and TV

It might seem like a strange thing to do, but watching your favourite TV shows or films in a foreign language with subtitles can be a simple and fun way of taking in the language you’re learning. Once you’ve got used to watching English or American shows that have been dubbed in a foreign language, moving onto films produced in a different language can help you develop further. Similarly, listening to music in a foreign language is excellent for helping you to absorb new words.

Make the most of your holiday

There is no better way to learn a language than by immersing yourself in the culture of a country and speaking to locals. Supermarkets can be a great place to test your language skills, whether it’s searching out particular foods or trying to order meat or cheese over the counter. Try to steer clear of tourist hot spots where English is commonly spoken, as this will force you to put your language skills to the test.

Practice, practice, practice

As good as it is reading, writing and listening in a foreign language you are trying to learn, there is no substitute for actually speaking it. Whether it’s listening to something and repeating it, talking to yourself in the mirror or pretending to talk to someone on the phone, getting into the habit of regularly speaking a new language is one of the best ways to speed up your progression.

Book yourself onto a course

For some this might seem a little intimidating, but booking yourself onto a series of language classes can be one of the best ways to learn a language. Led by a teacher that is usually fluent in the language you’re learning provides you with a great opportunity to ask questions if you’re unsure about certain aspects such as pronunciation. Learning with like-minded people also gives you a chance to hold conversations in the language you’re learning which can further help you improve.

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