Britons 'mindful over language'
Published 22/08/2010 | 10:47
Bashful Britons forego attempts at foreign languages when abroad through fear of sounding foolish, according to a survey.
As many as 61% do not try the local language as they worry about embarrassing themselves, the poll by Hotels.com found.
Three in four of the 1,246 people surveyed reckon "hello" and "thank you" are the most essential phrases to know when abroad.
Yet the majority of those polled could not recognise the words for hello from a range of languages presented to them in the survey.
The poll also showed that Londoners are the least likely to try a local language when overseas, while those from south-west England are the most likely to make some attempt.
Among age groups, the 18 to 21-year-olds are least likely to try to speak a foreign language while away.
The study also found more than three in five Britons feel happier trying their own navigating in a car than admitting they are lost and asking a local for directions.
Hotels.com communications director Alison Couper said: "People have become more adventurous in where they travel in recent years, but it seems the language skills have yet to catch up.
"Our survey shows that while we're prepared to travel to more exotic destinations, we're not so comfortable trying less familiar languages."