The average Briton will jet off on their holiday this year knowing only eight foreign words or phrases – including how to ask for a beer, according to a new study.
Researchers took a look into how ‘au fait’ holidaymakers are with other languages and revealed the majority of us will head abroad only being able to say a handful of things in the native dialect.
The survey revealed nearly two thirds of Britons claim to be embarrassed that we make such little effort to learn foreign languages, only managing to memorise ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘please may I have a beer?’ and ‘I have an upset stomach’.
The average Briton will jet off on their holiday this year knowing only eight foreign words or phrases – including how to ask for a beer, according to a new study
6. Good morning
8. My name is
9. Good evening
10. Excuse me
12. The bill please
14. Can I have a beer
21. Where is the bathroom?
22. Where is the hotel?
23. Please can I have a glass of wine
24. Still water
25. Where is the hospital?
26. Straight on
27. Will you sleep with me?
28. Sparkling water
29. I have an upset stomach
But a brazen 27 per cent admit to making no effort to learn a language ahead of their holiday – with the fact ‘everyone speaks English’ emerging as the main excuse.
The study, by Holiday Autos, found French to be the language Brits are most familiar with, with the average UK adult being able to rattle off up to 15 words – but despite millions of Brits travelling to Spain this summer, the average holidaymaker knows just eight words in Spanish.
‘Hello’, ‘yes’ and ‘goodbye’ are the most common words Brits known how to say in a foreign language, followed by ‘thanks’, ‘no’ and ‘good morning’, but some saucy holidaymakers claim to know how to ask ‘will you sleep with me?’
Three in ten forward-thinking Brits know how to ask where the bathroom is and more than a third can competently ask for a beer.
Of the 1,500 respondents surveyed, 23 per cent said they holiday in English-speaking resorts so there was no need to make an effort and speak the local language.
A Holiday Autos spokesman said: ‘This research highlights that Brits don’t make huge amounts of effort when it comes to learning languages when planning a holiday in countries abroad.
‘Saying that, if, of those eight words that the average adult knows is ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘good morning’, you can’t go far wrong.’
Being so limited with the local language has landed one in ten adults in hot water – with problems occurring when ordering food and drinks, following directions and settling a bill.
One in ten have lost luggage on holiday and struggled to communicate with the necessary people and 35 per cent of Brits admitted to speaking slower in English when trying to make themselves understood while a quarter opt for gesticulating wildly with their hands.
More than one in 20 have even resorted to drawing pictures and one in ten have to rely on their smartphone to make themselves understood.
More than a quarter of Brits have a funny story to tell about a friend or family member trying to make themselves understood on holiday – with 17 per cent claiming they still chuckle about it.
In fact, the average holidaymaker has experienced three ‘lost in translation’ moments when on holiday.
The poll revealed:
Of those quizzed 35 per cent admitted they would like to know enough words to just get by when they head off on holiday.
The Holiday Autos spokesman said: ‘The survey has uncovered some really interesting insights into how Brits seem to have the confidence to communicate while travelling without necessarily learning any of the native language.’