The most monolingual country in the world

Language holidays / Travel news

The most monolingual country in the world

Is the UK in danger of becoming one of the most monolingual countries in the world? Reports have often suggested that we are the worst country in Europe to learn other languages but does this make us one of the most monolingual nations?

Well, the results are in and according to a study by the language learning app, Memrise, Britain is officially the most monolingual country in Europe.

List of top 5 monolingual countries in Europe

wooden cubes spell out names of languagesUK – 35.2%
France – 22.2%
Italy – 8.1%
Spain – 6.2%
Poland – 5.6%

This means only 1 in 3 of us choose to communicate only in our mother tongue (source: Independent).

How does being monolingual affect the population?

Our language skills deficit could harm our performance in the global economy and its intercultural competence. This was the conclusion of a review commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

And with schools now allowing students to opt out of modern languages at GCSE level, we could find ourselves even further behind in years to come.

How can we become a nation of multi-linguists?

Even if you don’t feel linguistically inclined and still have nightmares of repeating verb tables in school French lessons, we firmly believe it IS possible to learn a new language in a short space of time with patience, a sense of humour and the willingness to get stuck in.

Mobile phone apps and podcasts have made it so much easier to learn a language on the go in a way that really fits in with our busy lifestyles. Apps, like Babel and Memrise, are brilliant ways to learn and make sure you do that all important 20 minutes a day to keep the new language fresh in your mind.

However, there is still no subsitute for learning a language at the source and immersing yourserlf in the local sounds and culture.

Travelling, working abroad or volunteering is a great way to continuously hear the sounds, rhythms, and inflections of a new language – spoken on the streets, in buses, on television, etc. Your brain will already start to process and interpret a new language meaning more progress in a shorter space of time.

But not all of us have that luxury or opportunity so what can we do?

language definition page in the dictionary

Language immersion holidays

Language holidays are a great way to discover a new language at the same time as crossing off another place or country on our bucket list.

If you are thinking of taking up a new language or just want to make a positive change to the way other countries think about the UK’s linguistic skills, take a look at our range of quality language courses to see where you can learn Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, Arabic and more.

Learning a language at a local language school for foreigners is a great way to learn from native speakers, meet students from around the would and converse in the language 24/7 with your teacher, new friends and the locals.

You can practice at every opportunity and even combine language lessons with leisure by taking a course that also combines a cultural activity like cooking, dancing, surfing and more.

For a unique learning experience, you can even live-in and learn a language with a teacher. Spend a week living in with a Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Arabic or French immersion teacher and you’ll learn as much as you would if you’d spent 4 weeks in a group class – perfect if you need to learn fast.


So if you’re feeling inspired and want try and save the UK from becoming the most monolingual country in the world, check out our range of language holidays.

Want to know more about language holidays? Take a look at our FAQs about language immersion holidays or check out our guide to the best places to learn Spanish.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October, 2009 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Comments are closed.