Preply, the digital learning platform, has launched the Worldwide Language Index which analyzes 30 countries according to 18 factors that indicate a supportive language learning environment. The factors included were split across the following seven categories: the number of official languages; the degree of multilingualism; language learning at school; level of command of best known foreign language; access to language learning through technology; subtitles, and voiceover, and language diversity. The results from each category were weighted equally and each country was given an overall ranking from 1 to 30 based on their scores.

Luxembourg places first in the ranking, scoring a perfect ten in three out of seven categories. Sweden and Cyprus follow closely behind in second and third place, while Malta, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Slovenia, Spain and Estonia all make the top 10. At the other end of the list, the U.S. finishes bottom of the pack, narrowly behind Italy. 

“Learning a second language is a skill that requires time, dedication, and effort.  Citizens born into countries with foreign language learning part of the national framework have a tremendous advantage. This study aims to reveal which countries rank best in Europe and beyond in offering their citizens the best chance at improving their foreign language portfolio and enhancing their personal and career development prospects”  says Kirill Bigai, CEO of Preply. 


The Top 10 Countries with the Best Language Learning Environment


Research reveals that subtitles are one of the most effective ways to enhance foreign language retention by providing a triple connecting between sound, language and text (Talavan, 2006). Unlike dubbing and voiceover, subtitles necessitate engagement on the part of the viewer. Subtitles also improve our phonetic understanding – this enhances our ability to identify different accents (Max Planck Institute, 2009). This explains why a handful of the countries in the study, such as the Netherlands, Finland and Estonia, rank high overall despite comparatively few children learning a foreign language at primary school.


Further insights:

- Almost every country in the top 10 uses subtitles, with the exception of Luxembourg, Malta, and Spain.

- Cyrus ranks highest for foreign language learning, followed by Sweden and Denmark.

- The Netherlands ranks sixth, with the low percentage of children learning a foreign language in primary school offset by the use of subtitles.

- Luxembourgians have the highest command of a second language, followed by Swedes.

- Spain ranks in ninth place despite almost all children learning a foreign language at school.

- The Netherlands ranks highest in the top 10 for access to technology, followed by Denmark.

- Cyprus ranks lowest in the top 10 for access to technology, followed by Slovenia.


Press release by Preply

Publié le 06 avril 2021