Young Flemish pupils have better English skills than French

Pupils in their last year of primary school have a better knowledge of English than of French, a doctoral case study at Ghent University shows. 

The research was done by Vanessa De Wilde, who prepares future foreign language teachers for the job at Ghent University (UGent). She concludes that Flemish pupils in the sixth year of primary education are better at English than they are at French. This is despite the fact that these pupils have had two years of French language, while they still have to get their first English courses (which only kick off in secondary school). 

The pupils have a better English vocabulary. They pick up more English words from the world of music, cinema and video games, and are using more English on social media. De Wilde involved 110 pupils in her research; they scored 64 percent on average for English vocabulary compared to 41 percent for French.

It is also believed that English skills would be easier to acquire for Dutch-speaking pupils than French, since Dutch and English belong to the same Germanic family. 94 percent of the respondents said they liked English, compared to 63 percent for French.