Sunday, April 18, 2021

Foreign Languages

I wrote before that English is the most common spoken language across the EU.  That's even after Brexit with the UK no longer being part of the EU.  About 44% of people in the EU can speak English.  Roughly 36% can speak German, 29% speak French, 18% speak Italian and 17% speak Spanish.  When the UK was in the EU, 13% of EU citizens were native English speakers but now only 1% of the EU are native English speakers.  Clearly English is still the dominant foreign language across the EU.

In Slovakia, Czech is the most spoken second language followed by English and German.  While here in Czechland, the most spoken second language is English, followed by Slovak and then German.  

Back in the days of communism Russian was the mandatory second language taught behind the Iron Curtain.  Except for Romania where French was more popular because (a) both are Romance languages and (b) Romania always tried to show how independent it was from the Soviet Union.  But after things opened up English became the foreign language to learn.

In Czechland, around 40% of job offers require both Czech and a foreign language.  More than half of these require English followed by German, French, Italian, and Dutch.  

From an economics perspective more people here need to be able to speak a foreign language.  Czechia is a small export-driven country and let's face it, with only 10,5 million people, most people aren't trying to learn Czech.  Which means that Czechs need to speak the language of whom they're selling to.  While German is popular I'm surprised that overall more people don't speak it here.  Especially given since almost half of the country borders a German-speaking country - Germany and Austria.  Plus, Germany is the country's main trade partner. 

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