NEWS
18/11/2011 05:45 GMT | Updated 18/11/2011 07:57 GMT

Brits Abroad Can't Speak A Single Word Of Local Language

It’s not just Del Boy who has trouble with speaking French it seems, as two in three Brits have admitted they can't speak a single world of a foreign language, according to a survey.

One fifth didn’t even know what ‘bonjour’ meant, in a statistical quirk, while young people aged 16-24 were some of the worst at phrase-making in an unfamiliar language, despite a foreign language being compulsory in schools up to the age of 14.

Boozy Britain knew its priorities when it comes to making merry however, as one half of holidaymakers did know the request "un cerveza por favor" (in Spanish: a beer please)

The poll of 2,000 adults by travel website Hotels.com found that over-55s were the age group most likely to have a stab at speaking the local lingo, accounting for all those embarrassing British dads abroad.

Better embarrassed than not bothered however, as reasons for not speaking a foreign language included fear of making a mistake or expecting hosts to be able to speak English.

Hotels.com spokesperson Kate Hopcraft said: "Brits often have a negative image abroad when it comes to languages, and it doesn’t seem to be anything we’ll be saying auf wiedersehen to any time soon."

Would you make Del Boy's mistakes? Some of his Only Fools And Horses French catchphrases include:

  • Mon dieu! Del uses this to mean "you idiot!", but actually it means "my god!"
  • Creme de la menthe: a minty alcohol, which Del substitutes to mean "the very best"
  • Mange tout: you'll find these snap peas in the supermarket, but Del uses it to express "my pleasure"
  • Oeuf sur la plat: French dish of eggs, literally translated as eggs on a plate or as Del would have it "clear cut"
  • Bonnet de douche: The humble showercap for Del Boy is way of sounding French and impressive.