Should UK have a "common" language?

(stella wood) #21

:grin::grin::grin: I could never understand a Glaswegian friend … and he was supposed to be speaking English… his wife always “translated” for us… However, things sometimes become clearer after a glass or two…:relaxed:

(Mandy Davies) #22

Had a similar problem in Northern Ireland. I visited on business once and some of the people had such broad accents it was impossible to understand them. I recall nodding and smiling quite a lot… a bit like I used to do when I first came to France :grin:

(anon62051519) #23

As the many discussion topics on this website testify, lots of ex-pats have problems coping with “the system” when they move to France (or anywhere else for that matter). As many cannot initially speak French on arrival, it makes sense to me that provision is made to aid people with these difficulties… especially if they are attempting to become French taxpayers !!

After 15 years in France, I speak reasonable French. That wasn’t the case in 2002. With a little help here and there, it would have reduced my stress levels dramatically and eased my journey into French society.

I’m not sure how a nurses’ pay level correlates to aiding newcomers to settle in a country.

p.s…I would love to know where the Mayor with no English language skills was elected…and when.

(Chris Kite) #24

When I was very young a Scottish couple moved almost opposite us. I never did understand a word the husband said!
A “Common” language perhaps, but not to me.

(stella wood) #25

Well, will try to recall just where in UK this happened. I think it was before we moved over… so some 20 years or so ago…His electorate was almost 100% same nationality as he was… so they all voted for him. :relaxed:

It was widely reported in the News at that time… and it was adjudged to be within the “rules”…

OH has just corrected me… thinks it may not have been a Mayor, but a Council Chairman or some such…but, yes, he remembers the astonishment all round at that time…as the chap had such a responsible position, but no language skills.

(Graham Lees) #26

I wonder how this would stack with Welsh Language speakers…

(David Martin) #27

There are plenty of people willing to help newcomers to deal with the paperwork that they encounter, it’s just that they are on private contracts not paid for by the state.

(stella wood) #28

I find it surprising that many folk will discuss their plans to move to another country…and yet…they have not started learning the language of that country.

No matter what age… steps can be taken… to be prepared for when the great day comes.

(Paul Flinders) #29

How the Welsh might react was one of my first thoughts.

However, I’m not sure that there will be many Welsh speakers who cannot also speak English, even if 99% of their daily interactions are in Welsh, so I don’t think that they “count” in this case.

The same is undoubtedly true of other speakers of heritage languages (is that the PC term?) - in the same way that I would be surprised to find a Breton who could only converse in that language.

I believe it is less unheard of to find Irish Gaelic only speakers but Eire rather than NI.

(anon71231711) #30

It would make more sense to me if people planned on how to cope with this entirely foreseeable situation when they make their preparations for the move. Perhaps by avoiding the situation where they cannot speak French on arrival?
If they were moving to France at the request of the French government, it would of course be different - and in that situation I’m sure the government would ensure that they were given all the assistance they needed.
As David says, it’s not as if there aren’t plenty of translators, interpreters and other hand-holding services that people can use if they do decide to move here without adequate French and without any other coping strategy.

(Glenn Beavis) #31

That was my first thought too. Then the thought train traveled down the road of immigrants that just arrive and join the existing communities of their nationality already in existence in the uk. It is here I think that a portion of the statement was possibly referring to.
And in my own words; it usually happens within larger city boundaries. Examples of only a few speaking english, and also appearing just to practice their own laws, and social practices. Some to the extent of not allowing their females out on their own…yes i kid you not…
without getting to political ( already started)… this kind of thing does not help the now cosmopolitan uk, in getting on with each other. It has already gone too far, in various political correctness avenues.
It is no wonder the uk right wing can easily manipulate fervour. The uk ( or England), has gone past being English.

(anon71231711) #32


(stella wood) #33

As I read things… the idea is to get those folk who do not speak English… to at least make an effort to get started… and for the youngsters this will be an important part of their education. It has to start somewhere… and I reckon it will be gently brought in (if at all). Being stroppy/tough will do nobody any favours… :upside_down_face::frowning_face: in my view.

(anon71231711) #34

Yes you’re right Stella, but from what’s reported, she sounds to have thought it out as carefully as the government has thought out the Irish border question. This is the solution, it’s easy peasy obvious what we need to do to solve this complex problem, just don’t bother me by asking how we’re going to achieve it - the details don’t matter.

(anon71231711) #35

Like I said previously

Once you start getting sub-cultures within a nation, who live according to different laws, it’s a serious problem.

(anon62051519) #36

Anna…as regards immigrants and refugees in general, I guess they could ask the Russians (or ISIS) to stop bombing them for a while so they can get a bit of studying done and make provision to learn decent English (or whatever the language is of country they land in) before arrival.

As regards someone like me who came of my own accord to France… I had no French…but my wife had decent school French. The main difficulty for me (apart from the obvious) was learning the rules and regs of the Country (car registration, house insurance, medical system, house purchase, Income tax… et al) - all of which were different to the UK. I see no valid reason whatsoever for the state not to help newcomers to their countries by providing some form of translation to aid understanding.

If I came to stay in your home, would you expect me to have completed a full survey of the property layout before arrival? - or…as I was paying guest - would you do me the courtesy of helping me settle in?

Looks like we disagree on this…sorry!

(David Martin) #37

I would imagine that most people starting a new life in a new country will plan to learn the local language but then reality kicks in. In my part of France it’s really not difficult to go through everyday life without knowing more than basic French, and by basic I mean basic, hello, goodbye, yes, no, thank you… and these spoken in isolation not within a sentence. I’m sure it’s the same for many people who arrive in England without any English. Here banks, insurance companies, the local utility offices, bricos etc all seem to have an English speaker on their staff. Life is easy and with the improvements in Google Translate and other translation programmes many written texts are accessible too. Language learning is rarely easy and for couples with satellite TV and other English friends the need to improve becomes less and less important. Online forums and a variety of local English language publications provide endless lists of every conceivable tradesman and service. Is it really any different within immigrant communities in the U.K.? Families with children here have a big advantage, children have to be immersed in society, children make friends, friends’ parents meet, language is suddenly important. I know a London school teacher who has over20 different languages spoken by the families with children at her school, the children speak English but only occasionally does one of the parents. The children become translators. Getting involved in sports and activities often results in the need to communicate, the need to get stuck in and work at improving language skills to enable communication but sometimes it’s easier to give up and look elsewhere. I’ve given up trying to explain to English people who live around here that I believe I get so much out of life by having enough French to know what is going on around me as they so often can’t see the point. Offering language lessons for immigrants is one thing, expecting a significant degree of success is something else.

(stella wood) #38

You lucky fellow Paul… your wife had decent French… which put her streets ahead of so many others… and you could benefit from her prowess…while you get yourself up to speed. :relaxed:

Quite obviously, asylum seekers/refugees cannot be lumped together with those lucky foreigners who can calmly choose where to go…

(anon71231711) #39

But as I believe has already been mentioned, refugees and other non EU immigrants are given free and in most cases compulsory integration classes including basic French language classes by OFII as part of the immigration process.

If you came to stay in my house, I’m afraid I would expect you to have basic social skills and be able to cope on your own and not damage anything. I wouldn’t expect to have to show you how to turn taps on and off, use a basic cooker and microwave, use the shower. And I would certainly expect you to be toilet trained :slight_smile: Guests are normally expected to be responsible, so unless you’d made special arrangements beforehand, I would assume you were a responsible guest. But if I had a very high tech cooker, or a very fussy septic tank, or other things that were specific to my house, I would of course explain those to you.

By analogy, I often asked French fontionnaires to explain the French rules to me because I wasn’t familiar with them and was grateful when they took the time to explain clearly and make sure I’d understood - but I did do some research myself first so they didn’t have to start from square one, and I didn’t expect them to explain them to me in a language that was not their own.

As you say, we seem to disagree massively on this. I respect your view but you won’t get me to share it.

(anon62051519) #40

You are quite right Stella…asylum seekers/refugees cannot be lumped together with “us” lucky foreigners… so it makes me wonder why so many British seem to do so.

On a final note, can I say that I have met many generous civil servants who helped me over the early years in France, whilst I stood dumfounded due to my lack of understanding. This was done off their own backs - as they kindly excused my poor attempt to speak their language - and took pity on me by speaking in English. It made me feel as if I belonged and want to integrate.

I’ve also met quite a few who brusquely pushed me aside - even though they were in a position to help me - just because I was a bloody rosbif - it was a terrible feeling. It didn’t make me feel wanted, no matter how hard I tried. I wouldn’t do that to anyone…perhaps its because I’m a northerner !!