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English remains Brussels’ second language

11:45 20/03/2013

English is the second most widely spoken language in Brussels, behind French and ahead of Dutch, a study by the Free University of Brussels (VUB) shows, the results of which are published in Le Soir today. All three languages, however, are declining, while knowledge of Arabic, in fourth position, has risen from 6.6% of speakers in 2006 to 17.9% last year. The top three are: 88.5% French, 29.7% English and 23.1% Dutch (compared to 95.6%, 35.4% and 28.3% respectively in 2006). The sharp rise in Arabic is explained by the evolution in the Brussels demographic. “Speaking Arabic is, of course, not a problem, but it has to be coupled with another language which can be used by everyone – it is the only way for different communities to build a future together,” said Pascal Smet, education minister in the Flemish government. In total, there are 104 languages spoken at ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ level in Brussels, the survey found.

Written by The Bulletin