Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > On (not) speaking English

Electronic data

  • Soc article FINAL-forthcoming

    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Sociology, ? (?), 2017, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2017 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Sociology page: http://http://journals.sagepub.com/home/SOC on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/

    Accepted author manuscript, 233 KB, PDF-document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

View graph of relations

On (not) speaking English: colonial legacies in language requirements for British citizenship

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Forthcoming
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/10/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Sociology
<mark>State</mark>Accepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This article examines the colonial legacies shaping current language requirements for immigrants applying for settlement or citizenship in Britain. The article argues that common sense understandings of ‘national language’ and monolingualism/multilingualism were developed in the context of imperial expansion, the legacies of which resonate today in a disdain for multilingualism and other Englishes conceived as hampering cohesion. Put simply, other languages and other English are spoken here because English was there. Drawing on interviews with applicants and English teaching professionals, the article discusses how participants variously experience English language requirements. The analysis shows how the colonial legacies supporting the rise of English as a ‘world language’ cast it as the locus of a regime of audibility that establishes a hierarchy between ‘the English’ and the ‘anglicised’. In today’s Britain, the multilingualism of the other is not external and prior to Britain, but rather speaks volumes to and about contemporary Britain.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Sociology, ? (?), 2017, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2017 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Sociology page:
http://http://journals.sagepub.com/home/SOC on SAGE Journals Online:
http://journals.sagepub.com/