It’s ‘Officiel’ – French Bottom of the Class in English


The French haven't been taking to English as enthusiastically as other countries since the 1964 comedy film "Le Gendarme de St Tropez"

“Despite the common Latin roots with the English language, France is behind certain major economies in Asia such as Japan and South Korea.” The recently-published conclusions of the second edition of the EF-EPI index carried out by EF France are damning for France; a study which lays bare the levels of English of fifty-four countries across the world.

Unsurprisingly, it is the Scandinavian countries that top the class. And if France finds itself in twenty-third position, what follows in the report is even more disquieting for many French. It is revealed in the report that there are “considerable variances between different regions of France. This report, as well as other international studies, shows that the French education system is far from being a homogeneous one.”

The report that’s specific to France also tells of a better level amongst women than amongst men. As for age, it appears that people are at their between their late twenties and our early thirties. This factor is probably down to the fact that young active people are desirous of improving their levels of English after the end of their studies for the purposes of improving their career prospects.

According to EF France Director Nenad Kjokic, this is something that could have dramatic consequences on the French economy:

“The profound reticence of the French in learning English is causing France to rank itself underneath the majority of its neighbours in terms of linguistic level. This defiance could threaten the economic performance of the country during a difficult period.”

Indeed, the study reveals that “a certain number of countries that are more competent in English, such as Germany, show a higher export ration per inhabitant.” The explanation does make a lot of sense: A small-to-medium enterprise whose team speaks and writes English poorly or not at all will inevitably be punished when up against competitors whose salesmen and directors have a mastery of at least English or indeed other foreign languages. Should we be thinking of a national emergency plan of action to teach English to executives and salesmen? Such a measure need not necessarily be costly and at least the results of the sales performances should be very easily measured!

2 Replies to “It’s ‘Officiel’ – French Bottom of the Class in English”

  1. Bill Tobin says:

    Who Cares? Shouldn’t measure countries by their ability to speak one particular foreign language.

  2. Kay Palmer says:

    Excellent Photo! What’s the film?

Comments are closed.

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