UK’s Most-learned Language Revealed

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English is the most-learned language in the UK over the last twelve months.

That’s according to the research team at Busuu, which looked at language-learning trends in the UK in its annual Language Learning Report.

Experts have put its rise in popularity down to internationals finally being allowed to travel – or return – to the UK to work and study.

Over a third (36%) said their reason for learning English was for work. Almost a quarter (24%) cited study as their reason for learning.

This year has seen a noticeable rise in demand for English used at work. Busuu experts saw 17% more UK English learners starting their English for Business course than the year prior.

Spanish is the most popular foreign language to learn in the UK, with travel being the top reason despite restrictions keeping many from travelling during 2021.

Spain was one of the first countries in Europe to lift quarantine restrictions completely for arrivals from the UK with restrictions being removed in May.

It’s a priority, not a nice-to-have

“I’d say this rise is likely because 2021 has brought more opportunities for international students and business people to travel to – or return to – the UK,” Busuu’s Director of Learning Design Federico Espinosa said.

“Last year, after all, had many of us staying home. As the world begins to reopen, it’s only natural that people who’ve been waiting to visit family, go on business trips, or start their studies abroad would jump at the chance.”

“People want to learn the language of where they are – it’s a priority, not a nice-to-have. They want to know how to get around and more importantly, how to do well at work and school.”

The report also revealed Japanese learners in the UK are the most active, thanks to the popularity of the Olympics and anime.

The app saw a 26% increase in the number of people signing up to learn Japanese during the first week of the Tokyo Olympics.

Interest in anime has increased massively in 2021, with Netflix telling The Wall Street Journal that more than 100 million households worldwide watched at least one anime title on its service in the first nine months of 2020.

The report revealed learners in Brighton and Edinburgh studied the hardest with Glaswegians being the most likely to correct grammar.

It found people living in Poole were the friendliest.

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Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.