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Lockdown language learning rockets in UK

Foreign language learning is booming in the UK during Covid 19, according to the BBC, with a number of app providers telling the British broadcaster that the increase in the number of Britons downloading a language course far outstrips the growth in numbers worldwide.

US-based Duolingo reports a 137% increase in the number of British users in 2020, almost double the worldwide growth rate. Busuu reports a fourfold rise in UK numbers, giving it a total of 3 million users in the country, while Babbel’s UK registration rose by 80%. All the digital providers reported the top two languages for British language learners were Spanish and French.

According to Babbel, its data shows the British are not as bad at learning languages as they think. Babbel’s chief executive, Arne Schepker, told the BBC that learning engagement, accuracy and rate of progress “is absolutely competitive in the international environment”.

Only time will tell if the British follow the example of their European neighbours and become life-long language learners enrolling in local language schools or taking language learning holidays.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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