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Nearly half (43%) of people don’t understand any foreign languages and Ukrainian is the least recognisable language of them all, new research* from online language learning platform, Preply reveals.

Preply created a quiz with 20 different phrases in 20 different languages to test people’s knowledge of how many different spoken languages they can recognise, as well as collating top tips for anyone looking to learn a second language.

According to the research findings, the five least recognisable languages, based on the percentage of respondents who could not identify them, are as follows:

  1. Ukrainian (65%)
  2. Dutch (63%)
  3. Greek (63%)
  4. Portuguese (59%)
  5. Turkish (59%)

Nearly seven in ten (65%) respondents couldn’t identify Ukrainian, making this the least recognisable language, closely followed by Dutch and Greek (both 63%) and Portuguese and Turkish (both 59%).

And it’s not just these languages people struggled with – it seems the respondents had most trouble identifying Turkish. Nearly half (49%) of respondents mistook Dutch for Turkish, 45% believed Portuguese was Turkish, and 49% believed Greek was Turkish too.

A further 27% mistook Spanish for Italian, 16% misinterpreted the German language for Polish, and one in ten (9%) thought French was Dutch!

With so many unable to recognise foreign languages, Kirill Bigai, CEO and co-founder at Preply, offers his top tips on learning a second language:

  1. Start with the basics:

It may sound like a cliché but starting with the basics is the best way to grasp a new language completely. Conversational speak such as “hello, how are you, what’s your name, where do you live” will help you understand basic words, and help you converse naturally with native and fluent speakers.

  1. Converse with natives:

Try and speak with fluent or native speakers as much as possible to gain a thorough understanding of the language. At Preply, we connect students with qualified tutors so you can learn from and converse with fluent speakers in a natural way. You’ll pick up the language much quicker.

  1. Regular study:

Regular study is key to getting results, and I’d recommend taking a class or practicing around 3-4 times a week. It’s really important to stick with your studies too and don’t give up if you’re dedicated to learning.

Don’t be disheartened by your mistakes:

If you feel you’re not making progress, don’t be frustrated. Learning a second language is difficult and it takes time so don’t be hard on yourself. The most important thing is getting back into your studies and learning from your mistakes.

Familiarise yourself with the language:

The more you can familiarise yourself with the language the better; listen to foreign music, watch foreign films with subtitles and immerse yourself in the language as much as possible. This will really help you understand the grammar and expand your vocabulary.

Commenting further on the overall findings, Kirill continues, “Learning a language is a great skill that you can take with you throughout your life. However, our research found that 43% of respondents could not correctly identify any of the languages in our quiz. It’s never too late to learn a second language, and at Preply, we encourage anyone and everyone to do it.”

To take Preply’s quiz for yourself to see how many foreign languages you’d recognise, please visit: