Languages of Europe
I came across an interesting report from the European Commission about the languages of Europe today. It shows the proportions of people who are native speakers each of the official languages of the EU, and how many people speak them well enough to take part in a conversation.
The language with the highest proportion of native speakers is German (24%). In joint second place with 16% each are French, English and Italian, which are followed by Spanish (11%) and Dutch (6%).
About 31% of non-anglophone EU citizens are conversant in English, while French is spoken non-natively by 12%, German by 8%, Spanish by 4% and Italian by 2%.
Otherall, nearly half of the EU’s denizens can speak English, 32% can speak German, 28% can speak French, 18% speak Italian, and 14% speak Spanish.
In some European countries, particularly Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, at least three quarters of people are able to speak more than one language. While in others, notable the UK, Ireland and Portugal, foreign language abilities are much less common with more than two thirds of people able to speak only their native language.