It’s Not Just English We Speak in England
How multi-cultural is the Town that you live in?
As a nation, we Brits are famed (and frequently shamed) for our lack of prowess in foreign languages, clinging instead to the monolingual identity for which we are known. The approximated statistics for UK residents classed as fluent solely in English range from 65% to a whopping 95%.
However, this does leave a presumably multilingual percentage left over, which amounts to a not insignificant number encompassing up to 22 million people.
Largely in part to the immigration into the UK following Poland’s accession to the European Union in 2004, over half a million of these are Polish speakers, with Polish now the most commonly spoken non-native language in the United Kingdom.
Closely behind this, Asian languages such as Bengali (221,000 speakers) and Gujarati (213,000) make up the bulk of commonly spoken foreign tongues, while at the other end of the spectrum the least common languages spoken in England and Wales are Gaelic Scottish and Manx-Gaelic, with a mere 58 and 33 speakers respectively.
All in all, there are over 200 languages spoken in the UK today and 49 are used as the main form of communication by groups of 15,000 or more. With more and more people coming into the country and bringing their native tongue with them, chances are we will be a multilingual nation in no time!