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By Dennis E Ager

This article describes and evaluates contemporary language making plans and coverage within the British Isles. concerns together with minority language rights, language assets for the country and the citizen, and difficulties akin to the normal English conflict and coverage for Welsh and Gaelic are analysed opposed to the heritage of specified examine of latest British society and politics.

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Extra info for Ideology and Image: Britain and Language (Multilingual Matters)

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The lack of any form of language question except for the 2001 Census in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the questions ask only for knowledge of the territorial language, means that there will still be no adequate information on speaker numbers or type of knowledge (spoken, reading, writing) for non-indigenous languages. Even in education, statistics to identify need are hard to come by, often lack clarity, and definitions vary. A 1999 survey of languages used in London schools (see Appendix) found considerably more Yoruba speakers than either French or Spanish ones, and separately identified such languages as the English and French Creoles.

In both Scotland and Wales percentages of over 70% identified with their country. In England, by contrast, the percentage identifying with England (41%) was by a long way the smallest of any in the three countries, slightly less than that including Britain among their responses. The numbers identifying with the Commonwealth, or regarding themselves as world citizens, were under ten percent in each case, with Wales seeming the least interested in such communities (3% with the Commonwealth, 2% with the global community).

Another factor tending in the same direction, also pointed out by these reports, was that of renewal from source countries. Thus it was a common practice for long return visits to be made to 'home'. Marital practices, too, in some communities led to young men seeking a bride from 'home' to maintain traditional practices concerning the status of women. Such brides entered Britain, often without English and without any understanding of British society. British immigration and refugee bureaucracy was speeded up and often waived for some categories of immigrant, particularly for religious leaders, and some arrived without any training, any English or any understanding of the British community or of British social Language Communities 37 norms.

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