Whodunnit? (oh_meow) wrote in linguaphiles,
Whodunnit?
oh_meow
linguaphiles

"Average" person's language ability




I was watching this old episode of QI the other day. If you're not familiar with this show they have a different theme each episode. The theme of this particular episode was France, and I realised that they were assuming that the viewer had some understanding of French. This is a fairly reasonable assumption in the UK, and it got me wondering about if you stopped people in the street in various countries what kind of language knowledge the "average" person would have.

This is what I think the average person in England would be able to manage. We're not a country known for our language skills.

French:
Hello, goodbye, thank you and please
Numbers 1-12 with a slightly confused memory of the others up to 100
Recognise names for most food & drinks and order in a bar/restaurant
Some swear words
Actually a fairly good passive vocab, but not really able to put a coherent grammatical sentence together

German:
Hello, goodbye, thank you and please
Numbers 1-9
Some swear words
Some extremely outdated insults culled from war films

Spanish:
Hello, goodbye, thank you and please
Numbers 1-6
Some food/restaurant/bar words

What do you think for other countries/regions?
Tags: french, fun, language, language fluency, language in the media, learning languages, linguaphile-ness, multilingual, multiple languages, politics of language/political language, surveys/quizzes, video clips, vocabulary
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