More Poles still speak Russian than English

More Poles still speak Russian than English - TheNews.pl :: News from Poland
While almost the whole of Europe speaks English as their second language, in Poland, the best known foreign language remains Russian, although mostly among the older generations.

According to a new Europe-wide survey by the EU’s Eurostat statistical service, English is the most widely studied foreign language at schools and universities all over Europe, followed by French, German, Spanish and Russian.

For historical reasons knowledge of Russian is concentrated mainly in the Eastern European countries, which were under the Soviet Union’s influence.

In Poland, though the younger generations demonstrate proficiency in English - 87 percent of Polish students learn English, older generations would still rather speak Russian.

In general, knowledge of foreign languages in Poland is low, with one-in-five people between 25 and 64 years old unable to understand a language other than Polish - twice the number in in Germany, for instance.

But Poles are still ahead of Hungarians and Bulgarians in being able to understand foreign languages, however.

English is the most commonly required language by employees in Poland, fids the survey by Eurostat. Over 7,000 job offers out of 17,000 advertised on a popular job seeking site required proficiency in English and only 183 in Russian.

“Polish employees usually demand English even if an employee does not need it to perform their duties. On the other hand, if an employee looks for a person who speaks Russian, it means that they really need someone who is fluent,” Elzbieta Flasinska from a job site Pracuj.pl told the Rzeczpospolita daily.

Though English is becoming the default second language in Poland, Russian is making a comeback, after a decline in the 1990s.

“More and more Poles are taking up Russian for business reasons. The Russian-speaking market is huge and Russians don’t often speak English so it’s a great opportunity for Poles,” says Galina Tutaj from Katiusha language school.

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