Belgians have better grasp of English but French-speakers lag behind

Belgians have a better grasp of English, but French-speakers from Brussels and Wallonia lag behind, compared to the Flemish. This emerges from a new study. According to the 2016 English Proficiency Index (EPI) produced each year by the institute Education First (EF), Belgians are now the 11th best non-native English speakers in the world, indeed rising by six places, compared to last year.

The study does, however, reveal substantial differences between Northern and Southern Belgium.

Excluding French-speakers, The Flemish would, in effect, be ranked in 5th place in this international ranking, behind the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries.

Conversely, French-speakers in Belgium taken in isolation are in 30th place, just behind France, and well below Luxembourg (in seventh place) and the Germans (in ninth place).

There is another Belgian characteristic running counter to the majority of other countries. Overall in Belgium men have a better linguistic mastery of Shakespeare's language than women.

The authors of this study which has been carried out amongst 950,0000 adults in 72 countries or territories mention that a good command of English creates more opportunities. They also say that it generally acts as a stimulus for worker employability.

The Brussels Times

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