Belgium currently ranks 17th in an English language proficiency study prepared by the language institute Education First (EF) and presented on Tuesday. Not surprisingly, the Nordic countries come out on top: Sweden first, followed by the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Finland.
This ranking is the fifth consecutive year that EF has measured the knowledge of English of 910,000 adults from 70 different non-English-speaking countries. The study used test data measuring their ability in 4 areas – grammar, vocabulary, oral expression and comprehension.
Although Belgium has dropped 8 places in the rankings to settle at 17th, Belgians are still considered as having “good knowledge” of the language of Shakespeare, coming in ahead of Italy (28) and France (37). One point to be noted, however, is the difference between linguistic regions. The Flemings score higher (62.20/100) than the Francophones (57.9/100).
Moreover, men (62.09) speak slightly better English than women (58,76) in Belgium, a finding which goes against the global trend that women are better at English than men. This gap is virtually inexistent only in countries with excellent results, such as Sweden, the study says.
Behind the Nordic countries, Slovenia, Estonia, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Poland and Austria complete the Top 10, while the Middle East and North Africa sit at the bottom of the rankings.
Lars Andersen (Source: Belga)