Does the UK Have Lack of Language Skills?

Since 2004 the number of the UK students taking foreign language exams has dropped by nearly 50%. As a result, the current linguistic capacity of the British citizens stands behind most of the European countries. About 75% of the state’s population does not speak any of the popular tongues such as Russian, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese or Portuguese. One of the reasons behind the issue is in the language classes which became no more obligatory in the UK schools about a decade ago. Lack of public awareness has brought people to assume that there is no real need in gaining additional verbal skills besides English.

UK coins

The lack of language skills in the UK is affecting the economy

However, in today’s multi-cultural world poor command of foreign tongues negatively affects any country from the political and the social aspects. The UK is no exception, and here are a few major points explaining how lack of language proficiency might be blocking the growth potential.

Weaker Trade and Export-Oriented Economy

Export companies greatly depend on good rapport with their overseas customers. Therefore, language skills often play a crucial role in establishing long term business relationships. Reports show that the UK trading activity has significantly decreased in the last 15 years reaching its highest deficit in September 2013. The export and import gap can be partly explained by the communication barrier: an overwhelming majority of exporters and companies’ owners are unable to keep a basic conversation in the native tongue of their potential patrons. Such acute language deficit prevents the UK enterprises from taking their products and services to new markets. Consequently, the export economy falls behind compared to where it was a decade ago.

Less Job Opportunities for the UK-Based Specialists

Being fluent in another tongue has always been a professional advantage for employees in different fields. Nowadays, multilingual specialists are all the more in demand, especially in the UK labor market where most people are familiar with no other language besides their mother tongue. Legal specialists, for example, such as attorneys, lawyers or advisors are extremely valued for their additional vocabulary knowledge. Hence, many UK-based experts face a challenge of finding a high-paid job, as local companies prefer hiring external bi-lingual contractors. In other spheres such manufacturing or IT, language awareness and intercultural competence are requires as well – otherwise companies follow the same pattern seeking workforce from abroad.

Looking Into The Future: The World’s Leading Markets

The world’s globalization and emerging economies have their impact on every state and government, including established ones such as the UK. The British export oriented industries and the employment rate are dependent, among the rest, on its people’s ability to deal with their foreign counterparts. English is still being an official international business language; however, the rapidly growing markets such as the Chinese, Russian or Brazilian – to take a few, gradually change the entire picture. It goes without saying that sticking to a single way of communication is not sufficient anymore. To beat competition and re-balance the economic situation in the future, the UK will have to change its attitude by encouraging students and employees to acquire as many foreign tongues as possible.





Am I Too Old To Learn A Language?

There are some studies out there that say that if you are over 50, you are too old to learn a new language. It simply isn’t true. On the contrary in fact, reliable studies have shown that adults actually learn better and faster than children. They have the ability to grasp a new language just as if they were younger. One study done by Hakuta, Bialystok and Wiley compared language learning ability in adults of different ages. They put them all in the same learning environment and they were all taught the same words. The result? 20 and 30 year olds learnt just as well as people over 50.

Think for example about immigrants. Many of them are older people who are looking to improve their lives by starting over in other countries. To have any chance of getting a job, they have to be able to communicate. Many of them join night language classes and within weeks, they are able to communicate. Of course it takes them a while to become proficient, but they are able to learn hundreds, even thousands of words within just a short time.

One thing you should do if you want to learn a new language when you are over 50 is keep your brain active and used to learning new things. An active brain learns a lot better than an inactive one. It isn’t very hard to keep your brain active. You only need to constantly find new things to do. Get outdoors and see what you can find out there that interests you. You can start to learn the names of trees, flowers and birds. You can join a class where you learn something new, like pottery or cookery. Indoors, keep your mind alive by reading and doing crosswords. If you do different things constantly, you will find that you learn a new language much more easily. Your diet also matters. There are certain foods that will help you remember things better. Check online for what these are and have more of them in your day to day meals.

There is a reverse effect to keeping your mind active so that you can learn a new language. As you learn, your mind becomes active. Each new word you learn causes different connections. You strain to remember what you have learnt and this also helps your brain to stay healthy and active.

Don’t despair on learning a new language just because you are over 50. You can start a new life abroad quite easily. You can get an international job as well. As a matter of fact, many retirees go ahead and volunteer their services helping people abroad because they have learnt to speak their language. It keeps them healthy and happy and they also have some kind of income coming in. Compare this to waiting around for the years to roll by. You will definitely be missing out on a lot. Learn a new language and join the world out there.

How to Become a Language Teacher in London

If you are thinking about relocating your life to London, one of the best ways that you can start earning an income right away is to teach languages. Many people who are proficient in foreign languages, such as Spanish, Italian, German and French, wonder how to teach in London. One of the best things about this job is that you get paid quite well when you teach languages in the UK. Of course you would get also enjoy the rich culture of the English people and the great countryside. The process of becoming a language teacher is quite straightforward.

The first step is to get a Spanish Certificate in Language Teaching to Adults or what is otherwise known as a CLTA. This requires that you be over 18, that you have the minimum level of required Language (you need to be at least B1 according to the European Framework for Languages or at near native level) and that you can handle class of students. In London the best known provider for the CELTA courses is The International House, you can visit their website for more information.

The second step is to get the CRB certificate that shows that you have no criminal records in order to work with children. The CRB stands for Criminal Records Bureau. This requires that you be at least 16 years old. Your employer is allowed to access these records and to do further for a criminal background so it is very important that you be truthful. If you do have a criminal background, you may not be able to be language trainer but because you are multilingual, there are other jobs that you can do. According to their website, “The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions. It also prevents unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children, through its criminal record checking and barring functions.” This tells you that you may be still be able to work in the UK, only that there are certain groups of people that you cannot work with.

The third thing you should do is to consider enrolling in the government qualified teacher training programs (QTS) promoted by the UK education ministry to start to teach in national schools. The UK is making a concerted effort to improve the quality of higher education. One of the things that they do for teachers is allow them to apply for a loan that allows them further their education in their specific areas. They offer the scholarships based on per-student funding rather than per qualification funding. This greatly improves your chances of qualifying; so long as you can handle a sizeable class, you have every chance of qualifying. They also require that you be more than 24 years old. According to an FAQ in one of their websites, “For the first time Loans will give learners in further education access to financial support for tuition costs similar to that which is available in higher education. This means rather than an individual having to pay for their course upfront they have the option of accessing a Loan, from the Student Loans Company, that they will only start to repay once they have left the course and are earning over £21,000.” This shouldn’t worry you so much though because you are sure to make some good money when you get your teaching job.

Higher Education Establishments Move Toward Abandoning Language Studies

A recent article written by the Guardian newspaper states that over a third of UK universities have stopped offering specialist European language courses, demonstrating a shocking lack of interest in studying a foreign tongue.

Some argue it is a lack of funding into linguistics courses that has led to this immense drop in participation whilst others debate whether it is the harsh grading at A-level that has turned students off the idea of taking a higher learning language course. We look at some potential reasons language learning may be decreasing in popularity, and discuss why why we believe there should be a resurgence in students wanting to learn one!

Modern Technology

There may other influences responsible for the drop in applications to study languages but modern technology offering computer-aided translating services at your fingertips is certainly one. It may seem as though communication with people all over the world has become a limitless possibility, and indeed these services have helped, but it has been argued before that online translation programs are not as reliable as everyone believes. The idea of communication is one not just supported by the words themselves, but the intention with which they are spoken and often learning a language from scratch is a much easier way of understanding not just how to speak it, but how to understand the culture from which the language originates.

Image of China with Chinese FlagDecreasing Popularity and Investment

European languages are becoming known as ‘elite subjects’, i.e., a subject being offered by very few universities and therefore only studied by a small demographic of students who have decided it will be beneficial in a particular job role. It seems as though, because the demand for these courses has dwindled and as such the number of universities offering these courses has also lowered, there seems to be no way of changing this trend. There must be many valid reasons as to why students do not feel like taking up university courses in languages such as German, Spanish and Italian but perhaps there should be more of an effort made by educational services to demonstrate the benefits of taking up a new language at degree level.

Language Benefits Business

Perhaps prospective university students these days are turning away from learning languages simply because they do not see it as a necessary string to their bow. However, with the rise of global communication comes a huge rise in global commerce. Businesses are trading internationally now more than ever so being multi-lingual is a massive plus if you are thinking of working abroad. It is not just future employment prospects that improve from learning a new language, the opportunities for personal growth are significant too. If you have the desire to travel the globe during your gap year, then surely knowing some of the local tongues will help you immerse yourself in the destinations you have chosen to travel.

Learning a language helps to understand other people and cultures and can help breed a deeper understanding of the world you live in. Being able to translate the odd sentence with Google Translate when you need to is a helpful tool but being able to speak in depth to someone in their own language is a skill we believe to be far more meaningful.

Languages are tough to learn but can be so rewarding when it all clicks into place. Lucy recently enrolled in a Spanish course with LanguageNow and is loving the experience.

Encouraging Your Child To Learn A Second Language Is Pointless – Or Is It?

According to The Telegraph, there is a UK-wide shortage of kids who want to learn a second language, but learning a language can give a child far more benefits than meets the eye.

Many people think post-secondary school education is the most important factor in determining how successful one will be in the future. While it certainly is important, it is the grades we achieve at a younger age that set a student up for success. And there is one especially critical thing many of our children are missing … a second language.

There are several great reasons to involve kids in languages early – here are few of those reasons:

World Map Image With NumbersLearning a language can increase intelligence

Ok, this is a big statement, but it does have a small element of truth! People who are very good at languages have been shown generally to have a high level of intelligence. The reasons for this are up for debate – it could be down to academically talented individuals simply having an aptitude for languages, it could be down to physiology and brain size, who knows. One thing’s for certain though, there are numerous benefits to learning a second language, and barely any major negatives that we can spot.

Good language skills make a university education easier

When the kids go off to college and university, they will (unfortunately) have to use their academic skills once more be this via report writing, team work, mathematics…there’s no getting away from this however much one despises sitting in a classroom! When a child is very good at languages however, they are likely to be very effective at using these academic skills and applying them once they get to this level of higher education. An affinity with words and language can equate to strong problem solving, creative writing or spoken presentation skills to name but a few – as mentioned above, the benefits don’t end with being able to order a meal on your annual holiday abroad…
Additionally, there’s no denying that a good University grade in a struggling economy can help when it comes to employment and that all important first job. Headhunters love good grades…and good communication skills. Learning and being competent in a second language provides you with both.

Language skills can enhance ones social life

In addition to the rather more obvious academic benefits, having good language skills can prove a good thing when it comes to a child/teenagers social life too. Learning and communicating in another language will no doubt build confidence – something so key to a child’s all round development and something that not many other academic subjects teach. And don’t forget also the considerably wider circle of friends one can obtain by speaking another language – you’ve got a whole other population to choose from!

These are just a few of the benefits language skills can bring to a child, but there are many more. For example we haven’t discussed the opportunity for international travel in the business world that bilingual speakers have.

Is there a child in your life that could benefit from learning a language? The good news is there are many opportunities and avenues for that to happen. In addition to quality school programs, both public and private — my own child is now enrolled in Kumon – there are language-specific schools as well.

Whichever route you choose, your loved one is sure to benefit.

Lucy lives in Ealing and has decided to accompany her daughter in learning a second language – y ella está disfrutando de hablar el idioma español!

Top 10 Reasons To Learn Chinese

You hear those sounds and see those stick figures and wonder how you could ever speak or read Chinese, right? It seems scary and most English-speakers cringe at the thought of taking up Chinese classes. However, the fact is that Chinese is much easier to learn and even an average student can learn Chinese in 5 minutes. It is a beautiful language that has great use of phonetics, does not use too many syllables, uses no articles, and has neither plurals nor genders. If that already doesn’t make it easier, then consider the fact that you can understand what the Chinese speakers are saying even if you do not get the tones right. Apart from the ease of learning Chinese, there are many different reasons why it would be to your advantage to know the language. Sample these 10 and tell me if you don’t want to sign up already.

China by Dainis Matisons

chinese language will open the doors to a new culture – source

Position Yourself for Future Opportunities

The world is a global village with a billion of us being of Chinese origin. This is a market segment you can never choose to ignore. The Chinese economy is also experiencing some robust growth and many companies and governments all over the world are finding themselves increasingly trading with the Chinese. So think about it, if your firm is competing with another firm to partner with a Chinese firm who do you think they Chinese will go with? Will they go with the foreigner who needs a translator to communicate with them or the foreigner who is cracking all those Mandarin jokes like he was born in Chongqing?

Export-Import Trade

China is regarded as the “factory of the world”. This is according to Robert Mundell, the Nobel Prize Winner. If you look at the balance of trade between big economies like the U.S, you find that it is in favor of China with over $41 billion in 2006 alone. If you are in the import-export business you will realize that most of your business dealings are with Chinese firms. If your company is not, then your contemporaries and competitors are most likely doing better business than you are. Equip yourself with the Chinese language and look East for a better bottom line.

Political Advantages

If you are fluent in Chinese and have an interest in politics then there are countless opportunities for you within your country and beyond. This is because China is a growing global investor and many countries are finding it advantageous to work with the Chinese. Knowing the language gives you a leg up against other political pundits competing for the same posts. If you do not believe me just ask former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, a fluent Mandarin speaker.


As mentioned, the world is a global village. Therefore, it pays to be multi-lingual to communicate better with others in your community. Your next door neighbor could be Chinese or your son could bring home a Chinese bride. Talking with the in-laws will be much less awkward and much more fun. Organizing a neighborhood watch won’t be so complicated either if we could all know what the other is talking about, wouldn’t it?

Study Abroad

If you are thinking of gaining new academic exposure by studying abroad then knowledge of the Chinese language could be a great help. You will understand theoretical and academic concepts easier and you will enjoy your classes more. No more retarded looks as your Chinese tutor explains how simple electronic circuits work.

The Japanese are Studying Chinese

Japan is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. And over there, they are teaching as much Chinese as they are teaching English. The Japanese realize that in order to take advantage of economic opportunities and advance their national strategies, it is in their best interests if their population consists of a good number of Chinese speakers. Do you think the Japanese are wrong?

New Perspectives

If you are American and have never left your country then you might have a very closed view on how the rest of the world works. This is true even for a Chinese who has never left his/her country or a European for that matter. Learning a new language exposes you to new cultures and new ways of thinking and this widens your knowledge and expands your perspectives.

Social Advantages

Imagine walking into a singles bar and opening up conversation with the Chinese ladies seated at the next table. Your friends will be looking at you in awe and I assure you, your phone book will have new phone numbers by the end of the night. Well, even the waitress might just offer you hers! Everybody admires people who seem worldly and have good communication skills with others from different social settings.

Increased Brain Function

It has been scientifically proven that knowing more than one language is good for your brain. The cognitive muscles of your brain get more exercise when you switch between languages and this makes you more alert and more focused in general. Studies show that multi-lingual people are more effective in their tasks, can multi-task better, and are good at prioritizing.


If I was haggling prices or negotiating some big business deal I would prefer if I am talking the same language with my trade partner. The presence and actions of a translator will be at best amusingly distracting, and at worst extremely irritating. Besides, if you have watched those soap operas with subtitles you know that translators do not always convey the same meaning as was intended by the speaker.

Learning a new language can be beneficial on many fronts and there is no better choice of language than Chinese. It will benefit your social interactions, business dealings, cultural knowledge, and political actions.

Morgan Dalloway grew up as an army brat, following his dad to army stations in various Asian, Middle East, and African posts. The challenge of making new friends after every new posting made him the multi-lingual expert that he is today. Speaking over 8 languages fluently and with a more than passing knowledge of over 10 other languages, he has taught various Chinese languages online and in classroom settings.

Why Learning French Will Help Travelling Around the World

If you want to travel the world sometime in future, you should start learning the French Language. 10 years ago, 77 million people were using French as a first language and 51 million people used it as a second language. At the time, there were 100 million students of French, who wanted to learn the language for either jobs or travel. The numbers have since had grown with more and more people adopting French as one of the languages that they speak regularly.
Morocco, Atlas Mountains

Most people speak French in Morocco – source

For you, this means that a lot of the people you will meet will speak French. The best way to travel around the world is if you can communicate with a good number of the people that you meet. That is why learning French is important. It will help you communicate with people in all the Francophone countries that you will visit.
There is a mistaken notion that learning French is harder than learning Spanish. The truth, though, is that it isn’t. Anyone can learn French. It is a versatile language that is easy to learn. So long as you have the right teacher, the right text and some practice, you will be speaking French before long.
Learning French will open access to some of the most interesting tourist destinations around the world. Morocco and Lebanon, for instance, are French-speaking countries that are rich in Arabic history. If you want to understand a lot of the Middle East and Northern Africa, a visit to these two countries is a must.
Another country that is a great tourist destination is Canada. A lot of the history of the Americas is to be found there. Additionally, it is a country so rich in nature that a single tourist visit cannot get to all of it. The people of Canada primarily speak French, so if you are going to enjoy your travels, to understand local culture, you have to learn the French language.
We haven’t talked about France, one of the oldest cities in Europe and one of the riches in culture. Going to France is one of the riches experiences for many people. To enjoy France to the fullest, you have to be able to communicate with the native people.
Are there tips to learning French faster?
Indeed, there are things that you can do so that your French lessons take a shorter time:
•Learn what you need to know. You are travelling around the world soon so learn how to ask the kind of questions that tourists ask.
•Don’t limit yourself to one way of learning French. We all learn in different ways so use what works best for you.
•Repetition helps you learn faster than anything.
•Learn in a group. Group learning shortens learning time and you can practice with group members.
•Read about French history and culture; it helps you learn
The French language is one of the most common languages in the world. If you plan to enjoy your travels, it’s time you started taking some French language lessons.

French Moments’ intensive courses in France

In 2014, the French language and cultural centre “French Moments” will be back in France with two intensive courses in Paris and beautiful Sarlat-la-Canéda in Périgord.

The French intensive courses run by French Moments are designed for adult English-speakers who want to learn (or improve) their language skills while enjoying the discovery of the region where the classes take place. Designed with two levels (travellers and conversation), the course puts a strong emphasis on teaching the culture alongside the language and is limited to 10 students per group.

The morning classes are run by dynamic and friendly French-native teachers. In the afternoon, excursions are organised in the town or the surrounding areas with further opportunities for students to speak the language in a practical way and interact with locals.

In 2012, French Moments ran a two-week course in Kaysersberg, a charming little town along the Alsace Wine Route. The morning classes were followed by exciting excursions and French-related activities such as a French treasure hunt, a visit to a wine cellar and a cheese factory, a cooking workshop in Strasbourg, a guided-tour of the Haut-Kœnigsbourg Castle, the discovery of Europe’s largest open-air museum at Écomusée d’Alsace, two tasting meals and much more…

Kaysersberg, France

French lessons in the lovely village of Kaysersberg – source

The first French intensive course in France for 2014 will take place in Paris from the 19th to the 25th July [conversation level] and from the 26th July to the 1st August [traveller level]. The afternoon excursions have been carefully planned to reflect the theme of “Siècle des Lumières” (Age of Enlightenment).

The second French course will take you to Sarlat-la-Canéda, capital of the Périgord Noir where you can learn French surrounded by the rich medieval history of the Dordogne Valley while tasting the delicious local cuisine and wines. The course will take place from the 1st to the 12th September 2014 [traveller & conversation levels] in a beautiful and peaceful villa.

Pierre, who heads up the French Moments team was born in the city of Nancy, Lorraine, famous for its Neo-classical square Place Stanislas which has been listed by Unesco as a World Heritage site since 1983. After living in Germany during his childhood, he has also resided in France and England with his wife Rachel from Portsmouth (UK) before the couple moved to Australia in 2006 to start French lessons in the Lower North Shore of Sydney.

In 2008, Pierre and Rachel Guernier founded French Moments in Sydney, Australia as well as a French language centre called “French in Sydney”. Pierre previously taught French in London at the Institut Français, also at a leading language school in Paris and various schools in Sydney,

This teaching experience enabled him to work for companies, institutions and embassies as well as individuals of all ages. Pierre holds a Master of Translating & Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations and a degree of Economics and Management.

The couple have a passion for everything French, and enjoy promoting France, which led them to start a website ( which contains cultural information about France: sites, monuments, history, lifestyle, etc. The comprehensive website is an on-going work in progress and new articles are added weekly.

For more information about French Moments’ intensive courses in Paris and Sarlat, contact their friendly team at or visit

Chateau d'Isenbourg French Intensive Course 2012 30 © French Moments





Why London is best place to learn any language

London, the capital city of England, is one of the most multicultural places in the world. The diversity of different cultures has made London one of the best places to learn any language. London has such an assorted range of populates and cultures and with this, more than 300 languages are spoken within its borders. This is one of the many reasons why London is very attractive to people who seek to learn new languages as well as learn from different cultures. The attitude in the city has amplified to have a high quality of culture and lifestyle. The city is known for having such a diver culture, from going to eat Indian cuisine, or sitting contemplating the beauties of different temples and international Landmarks. It is becoming more common that the native speakers of London can speak more than just English, London becoming a world capital for all languages.

London, England

London the multicultural capital of the world – source

London has an incredible access to courses varying in any subject. The beauty of being such a multicultural city is its accessibility to learning in different languages. Language courses come in all forms; you can take all level of education in a wide variety of different language. Because of the cultural diversity, you can choose to live in a community where the dominance of that language that you seek to learn is predominant. It is easy to immerse yourself into a language when the people around you speak it fluently. You can dine out in a restaurant, or go shopping and absorb from the language from such normal everyday activities. The city has so many public libraries and public places where you can strengthen your learning curve with material; watch movies, read books and go to different multicultural events. In London it is easy to find people that tutor privately, another option to learn the language without having to travel outside the city.

In any case, if you would want to immerse yourself completely in a different culture, London offers many ways to travel thru the European Union. The varieties of countries that surround England have such variety in languages, which it becomes easy to travel from the city to other places, and experience its life personally. For example, just a train away you have access to travel into Paris, in no more than two hours. If you live in London, you can think about learning any language and when you are comfortable enough take a trip to the country which they speak it, such as; France, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Denmark, to mention a few. Not only is learning a language in London easy, it is also accessible. You are only steps away from an endless multicultural experience.


Why Paris is the best place to learn French

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.” Thomas Jefferson said that and he was right. There is no better way than to learn French in France. For many people who want to learn French, it’s all about DVD’s in the car and evening classes; it ends up taking forever and they don’t get to learn the language in a way that they can put it to practical use. If you can afford to go to Paris on holiday, book yourself some language lessons and learn from the people who speak it every day, all the time.
Eiffel Tower

Eiffel tower – the most iconic symbol of France – source

Paris is not just a place to learn French. It is the center of European culture. For centuries, Paris has continued to be one of the richest destinations in Europe when it comes to culture. Not only do they have museums that contain some of the most expensive and attractive art, Paris has maintained a lot of the architecture that you read about in history. The people themselves are authentic; there is hardly another European city where the people are so proud of their culture, their food, their buildings and just generally who they are. Tourists like things to do and you will be spoilt for choice in between your French language lessons. Plan visits to see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral, The Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, the Varsailles Palace and all other similar tourist places. After your trips, you may want to sample some of the best food in Paris. There are so many to choose from that you may get confused, but make a point to try as many different dishes as possible – most are a treat for the palate.
Immerse yourself in Paris and get your French language lessons there; it is a fact that the best way to learn a language is to live with the people who speak it. You get to use everything you learn and when people talk to you in French, you will feel better motivated to learn better so that you can communicate. There are plenty of schools to choose from and they are not very expensive. There are intensive courses that you can take over a short period of time. Even taking a basic introductory course as you tour Paris will go a long way in helping you master the language better and faster. Go ahead and book yourself lessons today.