60pc of South Koreans speak a foreign language at ‘casual conversation’ level
By Rha Hae-sung and Park Si-soo
Six out of ten South Koreans can speak at least one foreign language at a level of having casual dialogue smoothly, a survey shows.
Job Korea, a job information website, conducted the survey that had 836 respondents. Of them, 62.8 per cent said they can speak at least one foreign language. Nearly 70 per cent of the bilinguals were jobseekers.
While four per cent of them described their second language’s proficiency as a native speaker’s level, the majority at 75.8 per cent called themselves an intermediate speaker who could have a casual conversation at best. About 17 per cent said they could engage in conversation for business purposes.
English was the most popular second language (87 per cent), followed by Japanese (26.7 per cent) and Chinese (19.6 per cent).
Employees of foreign companies and medium-sized companies were more exposed to an environment in which they needed to speak a foreign language, compared with those at large or state-run companies.