languages spoken in the UK

by Jeanette Sakel

It’s another news story: the languages spoken in the UK on a map, based on the 2011 census:

It’s visualised very nicely, with different colour codes indicating different languages. However, the data on which this is based are not particularly reliable: in the census they just asked about the main language someone speaks – nothing about a range of languages, proficiencies, or similar. So what we see here is only a partial picture. People who have a very positive attitudes towards their (heritage) language, even when not necessarily speaking it particularly well, may say that they use this language as their main language. Those who think their ‘dialect’ is not worth even mentioning, may feel that just saying ‘English’ is a much better option. Yes, the census is anonymous – in principle – but some people may feel it is their duty to say ‘English’, even though they speak other languages.

Much more to say here – but altogether: this is just a partial picture. Nonetheless, a very interesting one! And I love looking at the colourful map.


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