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Speed data: how language learning fell off a cliff

Entry rates for GCSE languages have plummeted since the turn of the millennium

By Alex Dean   October 2018

On holiday, Brits are often reduced to pointing and repeating the question a little louder. Expectations have long been so low that we’ve ceased to feel embarrassed about our lack of fluency in foreign tongues; even so, the rate at which we are now dri?fting towards out-and-out monolingualism should be cause for alarm. Among young people, the basic proficiency afforded by studying a language through to GCSE at 16 is falling away—total entries have been plummeting since at least the turn of the millennium, with no end in sight.

Take French:…

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