62% of the British population cannot speak any other languages apart from English according to a survey by the British Council, by contrast the European Union average stated that 56% of people could speak one foreign language besides their mother tongue.

The fact that the UK is behind in becoming a bilingual country is worrying especially due to political factors like Brexit which will cause the figure of 62% to rise rapidly. Brexit has caused changes in the popularity of languages in schools in poorer areas. With some parents who state that languages will be of “little use” once the UK leaves the European Union. Misinformed opinions like this have caused a decrease in the numbers of students taking languages at further education like GCSEs or A levels, with languages like German or French falling the most.

But the idea of languages being unimportant could be further from the truth, languages are a key skill in any aspect of life and the decrease popularity could cause a dire effect for the UK. Many deals the UK will make to prepare for Brexit to take place may fail due to a lack of language skills that are necessary for forming key deals between countries for negotiations, associated with industries like trade. Languages form a key part in communication for deals, but they also provide bilingual individuals with a vast array of skill sets like problem solving, improvements in cognitive memory, listening skills and many more all of which are essential for any career paths.

Government figures shows that the UK economy could lose 50 billion a year from failed deals due to a lack of bilingualism in the country. With figures like this, it holds a negative future for languages which are constantly taking the back seat in Government priorities. That must change. Learning a language has become accessible to the millions with apps like Duolingo that allow us to learn on the go, there are also online classes or face to face language lessons in schools. Even a holding a basic conversation or learning a few facts about different cultures increases our sense of cultural appreciation and having a more positive view about diversity not only in the UK but around the world. With Brexit looming causing more barriers between the UK and the rest of the world, learning a language can limit the barriers between people, expand our views and allow us to liberalize our experiences.