The University of Wolverhampton has won a contract to investigate how the linguist-ically-challenged state of its region's population is affecting business.
The Languages National Training Organisation has commissioned researchers to review foreign-language skills and assess how this impacts on local companies' competitiveness.
It will be one of a series of regional language skills audits being carried out in the run up to the European Year of Languages, next year.
Stephen Hagen, professor of applied languages, said: "The employment market, along with virtually every other market, has become European and is going global. We, as individuals or as enterprises, assume at our peril that English is enough."