Do you speak more than one language?

A recent survey says 32% of the British population speak more than one language, against the European Union average of 56%. Do residents of Cardiff believe in the importance of learning another language?

Hands framing trees with text: Learn a language and broaden your horizons
Let language broaden your horizon ©Andrew flickr

Approximately 315 million people across the world speak English, making it the third most populous spoken language, according to recent studies.

With both Chinese and Spanish ahead and Arabic and Hindi close behind, there is an increase in pressure to learn a second language in an increasingly global world.

Wales is unique in the emphasis on learning Welsh, but how many people around Cardiff know more than one language, and do they think learning more than one is important?

Liz, China, Student

Young Asian Woman

“Yeah, Chinese and English. Yeah, for studying at British university. And China is now international, so we must speak English to work and study. I’d like to study English, or French.”

Owen, Cardiff, Student

A young black man

“Yes, a bit of Italian. Yes, because of, last year I went to Italy with a youth club, and you expect to speak English, but no. What I’m going to learn is just, Italian.”

Cassie, China, Student

A young Asian woman wearing a black hat

“Yes, Chinese, and English. Yes, for travelling. English, and Chinese maybe, I guess. I think English, also Chinese. Chinese people is too big a population, but important to speak.”

Gilly, Redding, Marketing and PR — Robyn, Wrexham, nursery worker — Maxine, Wrexham, nurse and massage therapist

Three women standing next to each other
From left: Gilly, Robyn, Maxine

Gilly (left)

“Sort of a bit, a little bit of French. Yes, very sensible to learn. Spanish, and Chinese, yeah. Italian, it’s really nice, you know, it’s very expressive, and you can say lots of things.”

Robyn (centre)

“A bit, a bit of Welsh. I think it’s helpful really in Wales as well, you know, with the bit of promotion of the Welsh language. French, Chinese – I had a friend in uni who studied Chinese and said they were going to take over the world. I’d like to be fluent in Welsh. I’m trying.”

Maxine (right)

“A little bit of Welsh, a little bit of French, I know how to ask someone to sit down and if they want to go to the toilet [in Welsh], and a little bit of German. If you want to go and visit other countries, I think it’s sensible, really. Chinese – it’s a global power now, and if you want to be involved in that, I think you need to know. And if you don’t speak their language, then you’re always going to be second class, really. I think Italian, as well.”