APPLICATIONS for European language degrees have fallen by 30% in a decade across the whole of the UK, analysis shows.

And bids to study non-European tongues at British universities have slumped by almost 40% over the same period.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) recorded 17,505 bids to learn European languages, literature and related courses last year, compared to 24,895 applications in 2007.

And courses for languages from outwith the continent have plummeted from 8945 a decade ago to 5515 last year.

The change is revealed today thanks to analysis by Press Association and while the data covers almost all full-time undergraduate courses in England, it does not include around one third of activity in Scotland as this falls outwith the organisation’s scope.

However, the details come days before exam results are due in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and arrive one week after Scotland’s pupils got their marks.

While the Higher pass rate dipped by 0.2% year-on-year, Education Secretary John Swinney described the success levels as “broadly stable”.

However, figures from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) revealed a fall in the number of learners sitting tests on languages like Spanish, German and French.

The number of entries for the latter dropped for all scripts from National 4s to Advanced Highers.

Passes in this subject for fourth year pupils have fallen by more than 64% in the past five years, with some critics blaming the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence for the change.

Tory education spokesperson Liz Smith called on the Scottish Government to “get a grip and order an immediate review into what is going on” with subject choice.

Today Mark Herbert, of international culture body the British Council, raised concern over the UK-wide decline in degree-level language studies.

Framing it within the Brexit context, he said: “At a time when the UK is looking to forge new relationships around the world, it’s concerning that the number of young people applying for language degrees is actually declining.

“We need to nurture a new generation of fluent speakers, particularly in important languages such as Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, French and German, which our analysis shows will be crucial for the UK’s success post-Brexit.

“Having language skills and an understanding of other cultures gives graduates an advantage in the labour market, particularly when they are competing against people from other parts of the world who often speak excellent English – and have several other languages too.”