It's been a good week for … speakers of Italian

It's been a good week for … speakers of Italian

One-quarter of Britons find the Italian accent molto attractive. New research carried out by OnePoll and language learning app Busuu reveals that 26% of Britons find Italians to have the sexiest accent, with French coming in a close second at 22%.

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Scots aiming to broaden their linguisitic appeal should be encouraged by the fact that the pureness of Scottish vowels lends itself to a very authentic rendition of Italian pronunciation.

Grasp Parliamo Italiano and a sexy accent could be all yours. Perfetto.

It's been a bad week for … speakers of English

The OnePoll/Busuu study also found that two-thirds of Britons wish they could speak a foreign language, believing it would increase their cultural awareness or advance their career prospects.

But it's the learning thingy that tends to be the stuttering block. While children seem to pick up new languages as easily as head lice, the more mature can find the experience less than fluent.

The survey found that speaking in English slowly and loudly topped the list of annoying behaviour by Brits abroad (41%), followed by shouting in English (39%).

I can sympathise with this trait. A favourite phrase in my schoolgirl French repertoire is "lentement, s'il vous plait", which surely beats just shouting random bits of vocabulary that have somehow stuck over the years, some of which has been of limited practical use. I am able to impart the fascinating information that I have two brothers, two goats and seven geese; enjoy going by train to see the countryside and used to live near a sausage skin-making factory, but this chat will not get me far in Paris.

I studied German for a year and have one phrase to show for it: how do I get to the town hall? Still at least a trip to the rathaus is more useful than a visit to a sausage skin-making factory. (Note to self: don't get vocab mixed up.)

Armed with my Pocket Gems, though, I try my best abroad.

Having found myself challenged by the patter over the years, I have discovered a new language tool - a combination of conversational pointing, nodding and smiling.

OK, so it looks a bit silly. But it's good at least to try to communicate, by whatever means at your disposal.

Admittedly, it might not be quite as sexy as fluent Italian …