Here's how Arabic ranks on Britain's most important 'languages for the future'

Published July 12th, 2015 - 01:38 GMT
Iraqi calligrapher Hussein al-Kharsan writes verses from the Quran, Islam's holy book, in the Shiite holy city of Najaf. (AFP/Qassem Zein)
Iraqi calligrapher Hussein al-Kharsan writes verses from the Quran, Islam's holy book, in the Shiite holy city of Najaf. (AFP/Qassem Zein)

A British Council report ranks Arabic as the second-most important language to learn, following Spanish.

A series of graphics on languages showed that while Arabic is spoken in 60 countries, only topped by English, it's still not a very popular language to learn. French remains the most popular language students are learning to take Britain's education exams, the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and A levels. 

But that might be changing, as more institutions are recognizing the importance in Arabic speakers and how prolific the language is around the world. Test takers for the Arabic GSCE exams rose 82 percent between 2002 and 2012, according to The Independent.

John Worne, director of strategy at the British Council, said the problem was more about having too few people learning languages in general.

"The analysis of economic and cultural indicators in this report suggests not that people in the UK are learning the wrong languages, but that we need far more people learning a much wider range of languages in the future," Worne wrote in the report.

The lack of Arabic language learners may be attributed to the impression that Arabic is difficult to learn. On the other hand, Japanese is still more popular despite having thousands more characters. 

By Hayat Norimine


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