Latest Issue

Modern foreign languages are not in crisis. It’s worse than that

UK language skills have succumbed to a complex pattern of long-term decline. Only a national strategy can fix things

By Megan Bowler, Nick Hillman  

Photo: Sascha Steinach/DPA/PA Images

Only around one-in-three (32 per cent) young Brits can read and write in a second language, compared to 99 per cent of young Danes. The UK figure is streets behind the numbers for every other EU member. In fact, it is less than half the number for the second-worst country (Hungary on 71 per cent). The figures include people who speak a second…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect