Second Languages in Europe

Infographic: Second Languages in Europe

To start off the coverage for our September event on multilingualism in Europe, we chose an Infographic from which illustrates the respective second language for every European country.

A few of the findings come as little of a surprise. Of course, English is a strong second language in many countries in Europe including France, the Scandinavian countries with the exception of Finland and Italy. Russian has also maintained its strong position in several of the Eastern European countries including the Baltic states and the Ukraine.

Second Languages in Europe

What is maybe even more interesting, certainly with regards to our event, is the role immigration plays. We can see this historically in the example of Finland where a small however influential Swedish minority has established Swedish as an official language that Finnish pupils are required to learn as a first foreign language in elementary school.

Our presenter Niss Jonas Carlsson of Brain Glass is going to explain the challenges involved for Finland more in detail in his presentation and will also introduce us to the challenges Sweden is faced with when it comes to language learning, not the Swedes having difficulties learning English but immigrants to the country learning Swedish.

More recently and economically motivated is the boom of English language learning and teaching in Poland. And since so many Poles have migrated to Britain, Polish has become the strongest second language in the country.

A third example for the impact of immigration on language is the strong Turkish population in both Germany and Austria which Kirsten will give you some information about, especially in the context of requested linguistic proficiency in German for family reunifications.

All in all, we can conclude that there is far more linguistic variety in Europe than English only which can be explained by a plethora of historic and cultural relations that make Europe this multilayered and interesting continent it is.

However, English, French and Russian being the top three second languages in Europe is mirrored worldwide with English taking the top spot (55 countries), then French (14 countries) and Russian (13 countries).

Second Languages Infographic

Kay Alexander is the co-founder and creative director of EDUKWEST. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+