Spain is in the top 10 countries in Europe where English is spoken the least. The level of English in Spain is rated as moderate, although there are some Spanish regions that score well above the national average.
The report was recently published by the international language education agency Education First and is based on research data from more than 2.1 million people worldwide who took an EF Standard English Test or an English proficiency test by 2021. Of the 35 European countries included in the survey, Spain ranks 25th. On the EF EPI 2022 ranking, Spain remains at 33rd place out of 111 countries included in the study.
The Netherlands has been in first place for four years
As mentioned, Education First (EF) is an international language education agency that offers various language courses for English universities. Each year, EF conducts research on the quality of English in almost every country in the world. In 2022, of the 111 countries surveyed, the Netherlands is in first place for the fourth consecutive year. The full ranking can be viewed on the EF website. It is striking that many European countries appear in the top 10. However, Spain really seems to be an outsider in this area in 33rd place. Still, Spain is joined by Italy in 32nd place and France in 34th place.
The English of the Spaniards has been labeled as ‘moderate’ for many years and this trend shows little improvement. This research therefore confirms what has been said for years, namely that the teaching model of foreign languages in Spain is quite inadequate, according to the director of EF Spain.
These Spanish regions score best and worst in English
The research does not only relate to Spain in general. It also zooms in on the various autonomous regions of Spain. The inhabitants of Galicia appear to speak the best English in all of Spain, followed by Catalonia and the Basque Country. The lowest scoring region is Extremadura, followed by La Rioja and Castile-La Mancha; all three regions scoring well below the national average.
What does a moderate command of English mean in Spain?
Fortunately, the ‘moderate’ command of English in Spain goes a little further than ‘holiday English’. This level means that Spaniards generally master tasks such as participating in meetings within their own field, understanding song lyrics or writing business emails on topics that are familiar.