A THIRD of Brits claim to speak a foreign language – but only really know the swear words.
A survey of 2,000 adults revealed 56 per cent also admitted they could order a drink at the bar abroad, but not a lot else.
Of the 18-24-year-olds polled, almost seven in 10 (68 per cent) said their foreign vocabulary only extended as far as curse words.
This has left 81 per cent of all adults wishing they had taken language classes more seriously when they were in school – but 21 per cent felt it wasn’t important as they believed everyone abroad spoke English anyway.
Now, 51 per cent of parents are encouraging their children to learn a second language – with 40 per cent of these admitting they want them to learn from their mistakes.
Another 49 per cent want their child to learn a foreign language to allow them to connect with other cultures, while 45 per cent view it as a way to improve their job prospects.
In fact, almost half (49 per cent) of those polled by Duolingo believe the skill will help with international travel, while 45 per cent want their child to use languages to boost their academic achievements.
Language coaches and twin brothers Michael and Matthew Youlden – known as the ‘Superpolyglotbros’ – who speak 25 languages between them, said: “A second, third, or even fourth language helps people to focus better.
"It also helps them solve problems more effectively as the brain is better equipped to switch easily from one task (or language) to another, improve memory and even connect with others more easily.
"As the old adage goes – the more languages you know, the more of a person you are. "
“Getting other family members involved is definitely one of the most fun and effective ways to pick up a new language.
"Learning a language as a family improves the level of immersion needed to truly grasp a new skill.
"If you think about it, in what context do people share more ideas, nurture one another, discuss emotions and debate more so than in the family home?"
The survey also found that 54 per cent of the younger generations polled have mulled over the possibility of leaving the country to work, but were ultimately discouraged by the language barrier.
While 40 per cent have been embarrassed when on holiday because of the language miscommunication, with 57 per cent of those left red-faced after trying to converse with a local when abroad.
This has caused 14 per cent to only visit English speaking countries on their travels.
However, just under a third (32 per cent) believe that they could learn a language to a conversational level, while one in five (20 per cent) think they could pick up the basics.
And for those with children currently learning a language in school, one in four (25 per cent) have been inspired to learn a second language after watching their child do so.
Colin Watkins, UK country manager at Duolingo, said: “Contrary to popular belief, language learning doesn’t need to be a challenge.
“Involving the whole family with Duolingo and switching a few simple words and phrases into conversation can make all the difference and make the experience fun for everyone – no classroom needed."
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