Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Linguistic globalization

If you, like me, thought that the British Empire had a bigger influence in the UK than other parts of the world, think again.

But, once past the second most popular language in Britain, the colonial influence is obvious.

What do these statistics say about Cameron's recent proclamation that the UK is not a European country?

It's probably worth noting that the second most-spoken language in the UK is used by only 1% of the population. Cultural homogeneity is not being threatened.

Polish is 2nd most-spoken language in England
Polish is England’s second language, according to statistics published Wednesday, a dramatic illustration of the wave of immigration that has brought nearly 1 million Eastern Europeans to the U.K. over the past decade…

Poles began arriving in Britain en masse after 2004, when eight Eastern European nations — Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, and Estonia — joined the European Union, a development which would eventually give their citizens the right to move freely across the continent…

The new population has wrought changes across Britain, from Polish beers like Zywiec or Zamkowe Jasne served alongside British brews at London pubs to Polish food including pulpety and delicje now common across the aisles of major U.K. supermarkets…

Punjabi was England’s third language… Urdu… was the fourth. Both languages are native to the Indian subcontinent, as are Bengali and Gujarati, which come in at fifth and sixth respectively.

Arabic, French, and all forms of Chinese are also counted among England’s commonly-spoken languages…

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