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English knowledge Swiss receive average marks in language survey

Many people in Switzerland speak English, but not all of them well

(Keystone)

The Swedes have the best knowledge of English as a foreign language, according to an international survey conducted by the language teaching institute Education First (EF). Switzerland ranked an unspectacular 19th

Switzerland just barely maintained the designation “good knowledge”. It ranked behind neighbouring Austria (10th place) and Germany (11th), as well as Portugal (13th) and Romania (16th). But it performed distinctly better than its other neighbours Italy (28th) and France (37th). 

The survey, carried out for the fifth time by EF, measured the English knowledge of 910,000 adults in 70 countries. Fluency was measured in terms of grammar, vocabulary, expression and oral comprehension. 

As in previous years, in Switzerland there were differences between the linguistic regions. Whereas the English language knowledge of German-speaking Swiss had improved slightly in comparison to the previous year, French-speaking Swiss performed worse. Italian-speakers ranked between the other two language groups. 

The best-performing Swiss city by far was Zurich. The Swiss there were the only ones to receive the designation “very good knowledge” of English. They were followed by residents of Bern, Basel and Geneva. Lausanne, a city of native French speakers, performed worst this year. 

Following Sweden in the list of countries with very good English knowledge were The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Slovenia, Estonia, Luxembourg and Poland.

 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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