British tourists’ foreign lingo stops at 'hello'
12:10pm Tuesday 8th May 2012 in Escape
British tourists’ take on foreign languages is generally limited to ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘please’, according to a survey.
Yet as many as 79 per cent of British holidaymakers expect foreigners in and around holiday resorts abroad to speak and understand English, the poll by travel agent www.sunshine.co.uk found.
Of the 1,627 UK adults surveyed, just eight per cent said they spoke another language fluently while most said they could speak only three words or phrases in the language of the destination they had last visited.
‘Hello’, ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ were the best-known words, followed by ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and ‘beer’.
All of those surveyed had been on holiday in the past 12 months.
Sunshine.co.uk co-founder Chris Clarkson said: “There is definitely an air of ignorance when it comes to languages in holiday destinations and, evidently, people from the UK just expect those abroad to understand them and talk back when they start chatting in English.
“Sometimes, that’s not going to be the case and I think it’s a shame people don’t make more of an effort to learn the languages of the countries they visit on holiday; just in a small way.”