1887
Volume 16, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
USD
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes

Abstract

The 2011 UK Census was the first ever to ask a question about language in England. The period during which the census was planned coincided with a period of intense politicisation of the language issue, which had previously not been a major point of controversy.

The census results showed that 98.3% of the adult population either spoke English as their ‘main language’, or could speak it well or very well. In 4% of households no adults spoke English as a main language. These statistics produced an intense media reaction focussed on the number of people who supposedly could not speak English, with some high-level misunderstandings about what the figures meant.

This paper discusses the pervasiveness in the census process of ideologies about language, and how an apparently honest attempt to collect information for service providers was used to justify anti-immigration discourse and the reduction of services for non-speakers of English.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/jlp.14026.seb
2017-03-21
2019-12-05
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Ager, Dennis E.
    1996Language Policy in Britain and France. London: Bloomsbury.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Aitsiselmi, Farid
    2004 “Multilingualism and the use of English in the home environment.” Research report, Department of Languages and European Studies, University of Bradford . Retrieved on10th September 2014fromwww.ibrarian.net/navon/paper/LINGUISTIC_DIVERSITY_AND_THE_USE_OF_ENGLISH_IN_TH.pdf?paperid=2189315.
  3. Arel, Dominique
    2002 “Language categories in censuses: backward or forward-looking?” InCensus and identity: the politics of race, ethnicity, and language in national censuses, ed. by David I. Kertzer , and Dominique Arel , 92–120. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Ashley, Jackie
    2012 “Labour can afford to push harder on immigration”. The Guardian, 17December 2012
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Aspinall, Peter J.
    2005 “Why the next census needs to ask about language: Delivery of culturally competent health care and other services depends on such data.” BMJ331, 363–4 doi: 10.1136/bmj.331.7513.363
    https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7513.363 [Google Scholar]
  6. Blackledge, Adrian
    2006 “The racialization of language in British political discourse.” Critical Discourse Studies3:01, 61–79, doi: 10.1080/17405900600589325
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17405900600589325 [Google Scholar]
  7. 2009 “’As a Country We Do Expect’: The Further Extension of Language Testing Regimes in the United Kingdom”, Language Assessment Quarterly6:1, 6–16. doi: 10.1080/15434300802606465
    https://doi.org/10.1080/15434300802606465 [Google Scholar]
  8. Blommaert, Jan
    2005Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511610295
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511610295 [Google Scholar]
  9. 2010The Sociolinguistics of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511845307
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511845307 [Google Scholar]
  10. Blunkett, David
    2002 “Integration with Diversity: Globalisation and the renewal of democracy and civil society”. InReclaiming Britishness, ed. by Phoebe Griffith and Mark Leonard , 65–77. London, Foreign Policy Centre.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Carr-Hill, Roy , Steve Passingham , Alison Wolf , and Naomi Kent
    1996Lost opportunities: the language skills of linguistic minorities in England and Wales. London: Basic Skills Agency.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Cohn, Bernard S.
    (1996) Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Commission on Integration and Cohesion
    Commission on Integration and Cohesion 2007Our Shared Future (Final Report of the Commission on Integration and Cohesion). Retrieved on9th July 2014fromresources.cohesioninstitute.org.uk/Publications/Documents/Document/DownloadDocumentsFile.aspx?recordId=18&file=PDFversion.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Creese, Angela , and Adrian Blackledge
    2010Multingualism: A critical perspective, London: Continuum
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Creese, Angela and Adrian Blackledge
    2011 “Separate and flexible bilingualism in complementary schools: Multiple language practices in interrelationship.” Journal of Pragmatics43: 5, 1196–1208. doi: 10.1016/j.pragma.2010.10.006
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2010.10.006 [Google Scholar]
  16. Department for Communities and Local Government
    Department for Communities and Local Government 2007Guidance for Local Authorities on Translation of Publications. Department for Communities and Local Government, London. Retrieved on28.07.2014fromresources.cohesioninstitute.org.uk/Publications/Documents/Document/Default.aspx?recordId=60
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Department for Communities and Local Government
    Department for Communities and Local Government 2007Community, opportunity, prosperity. Annual Report 2007. London, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Duffy, Bobby , and Tom Frere-Smith
    2014Perceptions and Reality: Public Attitudes to Immigration. Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute. Retrieved on28.07.2014fromwww.ipsos-mori.com/DownloadPublication/1634_sri-perceptions-and-reality-immigration-report-2013.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Edwards, Viv
    1979The West Indian Language Issue in British Schools. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Hansard – House of Commons debates
    Hansard – House of Commons debates 2013 Written Ministerial Statements, Tuesday 12March 2013 Retrieved on28.07.2014fromwww.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130312/wmstext/130312m0001.htm
  21. Haug, Werner
    2003Ethnic, Religious and Language Groups: Towards a Set of Rules for Data Collection and Statistical Analysis. Open Society Institute. Retrieved on27th June 2014fromwww.opensocietyfoundations.org/briefing-papers/ethnic-religious-and-language-groups-towards-set-rules-data-collection-and.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Home Office
    Home Office 2001Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent ReviewTeam chaired by Ted Cantle. London, Home Office.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Kelly-Holmes, Helen , and Tommaso M. Milani
    2011 “Thematising Multilingualism in the Media.” Journal of Language and Politics10:4, 467–489. doi: 10.1075/jlp.10.4.01kel
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jlp.10.4.01kel [Google Scholar]
  24. Kertzer, David I. , and Dominique Arel
    2002 “Census, identity formation and the struggle for political power.” InCensus and identity: the politics of race, ethnicity, and language in national censuses, ed. by David I. Kertzer and Dominique Arel , 1–42. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Kiss, Zsolt , and Alison Park
    2014 “National identity: Exploring Britishness.” InBritish Social Attitudes: the 31st Report, ed. by Alison Park , Caroline Bryson , and John Curtice , 61–77. London: NatCen Social Research, available online at: www.bsa-31.natcen.ac.uk
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Leeman, Jennifer
    2004 “Racializing language: A history of linguistic ideologies in the US Census.” Journal of Language and Politics3:3, 507–534. doi: 10.1075/jlp.3.3.08lee
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jlp.3.3.08lee [Google Scholar]
  27. Le Page, Robert B. , and Andrée Tabouret-Keller
    1985Acts of Identity. Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. LGC
    LGC 2007 “Councils told to reduce translation”, Local Government Chronicle (LGC) 7December 2007
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Li Wei
    1994Three Generations, Two Languages, One Family: Language choice and language shift in a Chinese community in Britain. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Linguistic Minorities Project
    Linguistic Minorities Project 1985The Other Languages of England. London, Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Makoni, Sinfree , and Pedzisai Mashiri
    2007 “Critical Historiography: Does Language Planning in Africa Need a Construct of Language as Part of its Theoretical Apparatus?” InDisinventing and Reconstituting Languages, ed. by Sinfree Makoni and Alastair Pennycook , 62–89. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Martin-Jones, Marilyn
    1984 “The newer minorities: literacy and educational issues.” InLanguage in the British Isles, ed. by Peter Trudgill , 425–448. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Mills, Jean
    2001 “Being bilingual: perspectives of third generation Asian children on language, culture and identity.” International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism4: 383–402. doi: 10.1080/13670050108667739
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050108667739 [Google Scholar]
  34. Office for National Statistics (ONS)
    Office for National Statistics (ONS) 1998Progress on small-scale testing of possible census questions. Paper AG(98)02. Retrieved on27.10.2015fromwww.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/census-2001/design-and-conduct/consulting-with-users/groups/papers/question-selection-and-testing/index.html.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Office for National Statistics (ONS)
    Office for National Statistics (ONS) 2006The 2011 Census: Assessment of initial user requirements on content for England and Wales – Ethnicity, identity, language and religion.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Office for National Statistics (ONS)
    Office for National Statistics (ONS) 20072011 Census. Ethnic Group, National Identity, Religion and Language consultation: Summary report on responses to the 2011 Census stakeholders consultation 2006/07.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Office for National Statistics (ONS)
    Office for National Statistics (ONS) 20092011 Census Programme: Final recommended questions for the 2011 Census: Language.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Pain, Andrew
    2013 “Residents’ English language struggle; Thousands can’t speak native tongue”. Evening Gazette, (Middlesbrough) 1.2.2013p.12.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Pickles, Eric
    2013 “We’ll use millions lost on translations so EVERYONE can learn English”. The Sun, 13 January 2013.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Rampton, Ben
    2005Crossing: Language & Ethnicity among Adolescents. Manchester, St. Jerome Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Rasinger, Sebastian M.
    2013 “Language shift and vitality perceptions amongst London’s second-generation Bangladeshis.” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 34:1, 46–60. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2012.707202
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01434632.2012.707202 [Google Scholar]
  42. Ryan, Bernard
    2009 “The Integration Agenda in British Migration Law.” InIlliberal Liberal States: Immigration, Citizenship and Integration in the EU, ed. by Elspeth Guild , Kees Groenendijk and Sergio Carrera , 277–298. Ashgate.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Schellekens, Philida
    2001English Language As A Barrier To Employment, Education And Training. Department for Education and Employment Research Report 4RP210/98.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Singh, Amar
    2002 “Speak to us, Mr Blunkett”. Observer.co.uk, 22September 2002 Retrieved on8th July 2014fromwww.theguardian.com/world/2002/sep/22/race.uk
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Spoors, Nick
    2013 “Figures show how many in Northamptonshire speak English well”. Northampton Chronicle & Echo, 16 May 2013.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Urla, Jacqueline
    1993 “Cultural Politics in an Age of Statistics: Numbers, Nations, and the Making of Basque Identity.” American Ethnologist20:4, 818–843. doi: 10.1525/ae.1993.20.4.02a00080
    https://doi.org/10.1525/ae.1993.20.4.02a00080 [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/jlp.14026.seb
Loading
/content/journals/10.1075/jlp.14026.seb
Loading

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): bilingualism , census , England , multilingualism and sociolinguistics
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error