Selecciona Edición
Entra en EL PAÍS
Conéctate ¿No estás registrado? Crea tu cuenta Suscríbete
Selecciona Edición
Tamaño letra
LANGUAGES

Nearly 60% of Spaniards say they can’t read, speak or write in English

But latest poll by state research institute finds that is still the most-popular second language

Nearly 60% of Spaniards recognize that they can’t speak, read or write in English, according to the latest poll from Spain’s CIS state research institute. English is the most-spoken second language in Spain, the poll says, with 27.7% of respondents saying they speak it, followed by French (9%) German (1.7%) and Portuguese (1.2%).

Students at the Escola Pia de Sabadell school in Catalonia. Ampliar foto
Students at the Escola Pia de Sabadell school in Catalonia.

According to the poll, 66.9% of Spaniards do not feel they have been negatively affected or have missed opportunities because of their inability to speak a second language.

Meanwhile, 94.8% of respondents say that they think it is important to speak foreign languages – in fact, those surveyed say that after math, they are the most important subject.

Many of those surveyed are not satisfied with Spain’s attitude toward language learning

However, many of those surveyed are not satisfied with Spain’s attitude toward language learning. Nearly 36% say that Spain gives little importance to second languages, compared to 16.1% who say Spain is excellent at languages.

The majority of those surveyed say that they learned languages in elementary or high school. For English speakers, 47.4% said they learned the language in school and for French speakers, 33.5% said the same. This is not the case for the majority of Portuguese, German and Italian speakers, who said they learned these languages while they were abroad.

The survey suggests that the vast majority of older people only speak Spanish: 90% of respondents say their parents do not speak a second language. For those who do, however, 39.7% speak English and 48.1% speak French.

In the case of families with children, 89.2% of parents say their kids are studying English

Of those surveyed, 87.4% say they are not currently studying another language. Of the 11.4% who are still in the learning process, most say they are doing it for work or their studies. Eleven percent say they are studying French and 77.9% say they are studying English.

In the case of families with children, 89.2% of parents say their kids are studying English. Despite the fact that 45% of parents say they have a favorable opinion of language studies at school, 38.3% say they also take their children to private language classes.

English version by Alyssa McMurtry.

More information