Database for the Database of Multilingualism the United Kingdom
(Supervisor: Prof. Araki Masazumi and Takachio Hitoshi)

1. Name of the country
<United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland> in English

2. The national language, official language(s) etc.
<English is the only official language of the United Kingdom state. As for Wales, see database on Multi-lingualism in Wales.>

2.1. Whether there is/are language(s) having the status of the national language and/or official language(s). < >

2.2. (If Yes to 2.1) Give the Name(s) of the language(s). < >

2.3. What is the basis of the above designation? (law(s) etc.) < >

3. General Information on the languages and socio-political situation of the country concerned.
<Ethnic Diversity in the UK reads as follows:
Thousands of young Britons are growing up bi-lingual in English and their familyfs mother tongue. Londoners speak over 300 languages other than English, with a quarter of Londonfs school pupils speaking another language at home.
  Widely spoken languages include Punjabi(spoken by 52% of British Asians), Urdu (32%), Hindi (27%), Gujarati (25%), Bengali and Sylheti, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hakka, Vietnamese, Arabic and Caribbean Creole/Patois. Many European languages, such as Turkish, Spanish, Portugueses and Greek, are also spoken. These languages are thriving through newspapers and other print media, broadcasting, theatre and the arts. See also Wales.>

4. How is/are the language(s) dealed in the constitution and other laws?
<The United Kingdom has no written constitution.>

4.1. The name of the concerned constitution.
<Not Applicable. See Wales.>

4.2. The enforcement year of the concerned constitution.
<Not Applicable. See Wales.>

4.3. The provisions and contents that refer to language (multi-lingualism) in the concerned constitution.
<The U.K. doesn't have a written constitution.>

4.4. The name of other important statutes relevant to language
<(1) The European Charter for Regional or Minority Language
  (2) Welsh Language Act>

4.5. The enforcement year of the concerned statute
<(1) 1992, (2) 1993>

4.6. The provisions and contents which refer to language (multi-lingualism) in the concerned statute.
<The preamble of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages reads as follows:
gThe member states of the Council of Europe signatory hereto,

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members, particularly for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage;

Considering that the protection of the historical regional or minority languages of Europe, some of which are in danger of eventual extinction, contributes to the maintenance and development of Europe's cultural wealth and traditions;

Considering that the right to use a regional or minority language in private and public life is an inalienable right conforming to the principles embodied in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and according to the spirit of the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

Having regard to the work carried out within the CSCE and in particular to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and the Document of the Copenhagen Meeting of 1990;

Stressing the value of interculturalism and multilingualism and considering that the protection and encouragement of regional or minority languages should not be to the detriment of the official languages and the need to learn them;

Realising that the protection and promotion of regional or minority languages in the different countries and regions of Europe represent an important contribution to the building of a Europe based on the principles of democracy and cultural diversity within the framework of national sovereignty and territorial integrity;

Taking into consideration the specific conditions and historical traditions in the different regions of the European.h

For information, see the website, >

4.7. Comment (if needed).
Summary of European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages reads as follows:
<This treaty aims to protect and promote the historical regional or minority languages of Europe. It was adopted, on the one hand, in order to maintain and to develop the Europe's cultural traditions and heritage, and on the other, to respect an inalienable and commonly recognised right to use a regional or minority language in private and public life.

First, it enunciates objectives and principles that Parties undertake to apply to all the regional or minority languages spoken within their territory: respect for the geographical area of each language; the need for promotion; the facilitation and/or encouragement of the use of regional or minority languages in speech and writing, in public and private life (by appropriate measures of teaching and study, by transnational exchanges for languages used in identical or similar form in other States).

Further, the Charter sets out a number of specific measures to promote the use of regional or minority languages in public life. These measures cover the following fields: education, justice, administrative authorities and public services, media, cultural activities and facilities, economic and social activities and transfrontier exchanges. Each Party undertakes to apply a minimum of thirty-five paragraphs or sub-paragraphs chosen from among these measures, including a number of compulsory measures chosen from a "hard core". Moreover, each Party has to specify in its instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval, each regional or minority language, or official language which is less widely used in the whole or part of its territory, to which the paragraphs chosen shall apply.

Enforcement of the Charter is under control of a committee of experts which periodically examines reports presented by the Parties.

For information, see the website, >

5. The language used in the national parliament, government and municipal offices, etc. (official language(s))
<English is the only language used in the United Kingdom parliament and in the administration of the state.>

5.1. The main language(s) used in the national parliament, government and municipal offices, etc.
<The proceeding of the House of Commons are conducted in English. The Speaker of the House of Commons has, however, allowed Members of Parliament to take the Parliamentary Oath in Welsh and Gaelic if they so wish. The House of Commons has also given authority for Members of Parliament to address the Welsh Grand Committee in Welsh at meetings of the Committee in Wales. The Source for this is Erskine Mayfs Treatise on The Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament (22nd Edition), edited by Sir Donald Limon and Sir William McKay, Butterworths, London, 1997, ISBN 04689587 2.
The only language used in the House of Loads chamber is English. However, oaths are taken in English and can the be repeated in Welsh and Garlic.>

5.2. Other languages whose use is accepted. <Not relevant.>

5.3 Language(s) used for expressing the constitution in writing.
<English is the only official language. See Wales.>

5.4 Is there an official translation (or second language version)?
<Not relevant. See Wales.>

5.5 (If Yes to 5.4) Which language is used?
<Not relevant. See Wales.>

5.6. Problems concerning the language(s) used.
<Not relevant. See Wales.>

5.7. Language(s) used by the police and law court ( including lawsuits and judgements, etc.)
<The language utilised in the internal administration of both the police and courts is English. See Wales.>

5. Language(s) used in the classroom
<English language is used in the classroom. See Wales.>

6.1. The main languages used in elementary and secondary education For primary education.
<As a first language, pupils from the age of 5 years, are introduced to the main features of spoken and written standard English and are taught to use them. Punctuation, spelling, sentence grammar and language structure are all included within this specification. At Key Stages 3 and 4, age 11 to 16 years, pupils are taught about the variations in written standard English and how they differ from spoken language, and to distinguish varying degrees of formality, selecting appropriately for the task.>
6.2. Is the use of other languages accepted in elementary/secondary education?
<In addition to English, the Government believes modern foreign language learning is a very important element in an education that aims to prepare young people for life in the modern world of trade, travel and communication. Therefore, all secondary schools in England are required to offer a modern foreign language to pupils aged 11-14 (key stage 3). The National Curriculum requires schools to offer at least one of the working languages of the European Union (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Modern Greek, Portuguese). Only when they have met this requirement, may they offer non-EU languages. Pupils then choose from the languages on offer. Pupils do not have to study an EU language if there is the choice of another, the requirement is only that schools offer an EU language. There is no longer a list of 'other' languages: all modern foreign languages are included. This is designed to assist the diversity of language provision and encourage teaching of some of the languages that are growing in importance such as Japanese and Malay.>
6.3. (If Yes to 6.2.) Which language(s)?
<See 6.2.>
6.4. The main languages used in high education/university
<English is the main language in both further and higher education. See Wales.>
6.5. Languages used for writing textbooks for elementary/secondary education
<English. With regards the universities, it is up to the universities. QCA has no remit over higher education. See Wales.>
6.6. Languages used for writing textbooks for high/university education
<English. See Wales.>
6.7. The problems concerning the languages used in education
<Nothing Special. See Wales.>
6.8. Description of the educational system
<English (all U.K. national networks)>

7. Languages used for broadcasting 
[broadcast on a national network]
7.1. Main language for news programs. <English>
7.2. Secondary languages for news programs. <English>
7.3. Languages used in dramas, songs, etc., in TV programs.
<English. See Wales.>
mlocal networkn 
7.4. Main language for news programs.
<English. See Wales.>

7.5. Secondary languages for news programs. 
<English. See Wales.>

7.6. Languages used in dramas, songs, etc., in TV programs. 
<English. See Wales.>
mproblems & descriptionn 
7.7. Problems arising from using more than one language for broadcasting.
<See Wales.>

7.8. Description of the broadcasting system (if needed).
<Television and radio have moved towards including a minority ethnic dimension in both mainstream and specialist programming.

The BBC Asian Programmes Unit makes a range of programmes for the Asian community and general audience. The BBC Asian Network, broadcasting across the Midlands around the clock, was launched in November 1996; it broadcasts local, national, South Asian and world affairs in English, Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Gujarati and Mirpuri. In 1999 BBC Network East organised a Mega Mela festival celebrating the Asian presence in Britain; it attracted over 45,000 visitors. Independent television companies provide broadcasts for the Asian, Chinese, Greek and Middle Eastern communities. Channel 4 has set up an interactive website -- -- which documents the Black and Asian contribution to British history.

Radio broadcasting is an important resource for ethnic minority groups. Fifteen independent radio stations cater specifically for an ethnic minority community, including Asian African Caribbean, Chinese and Greek and Turkish speaking listeners. About 30 grestricted servicesh licences are granted to ethnic minority broadcasters each year by the Radio Authority. These licences, which run up for up to 28 days, are popular during religious festivals or holidays and other events. New digital services are playing an increasing role, for instance, the BBCfs nationwide Asian Network.

The Radio Authority is responsible for licensing and regulating Independent Radio in accordance with the statutory requirements of the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996. It plans frequencies, awards licences, regulates programming and advertising, and plays an active role in the discussion and formulation of policies which affect the Independent Radio industry and its listeners.

The Radio Authority licenses a number of commercial radio stations targeted at ethnic minority communities. These are listed below. We can visit the Authority's web site ( and view the Format for each of these stations. A Format forms part of each licence and outlines the general character of service of each station.

For details of exact language output from each radio station we will need to contact the individual station direct. Contact details are on the web site. From the homepage simply click on Radio Stations and search for the relevant station. We can view each Format from the radio station's page.

Five licensed stations to serve Asian ethnic minority groups:
Asian Sound (East Lances)
Sunrise FM (Bradford)
Radio XL (Birmingham)
Sunrise Radio (Greater London)
Radio Sabras (Leicester)

Three services for Afro-Caribbean audiences:
Choice FM (North London)
Choice FM (South London)
Galaxy 102.2

Licensed to serve a range of minority groups:
Spectrum Radio (Greater London)

For Greek communities:
London Greek Radio (North London)

For Turkish communities:
London Turkish Radio (North London)

Welsh Gaelic bi-lingual:
One ILR station (Aberystwyth) broadcasts extensively in Welsh, while several others include Welsh language material.

Scottish Gaelic bi-lingual:
ILR stations in Scotland include out put for Gaelic-speaking communities.
(e.g. Heartland FM (Pitlochry & Aberfeldy), Isles FM (Western Isles))

And some 'mainstream' ILR stations include material for minority communities (some examples: Kix 96 in Coventry have an Irish programme; Star in Slough do Asian programming, Home in Huddersfield also do Asian programming)

Short term restricted service licences (RSLs)

Awarded by the Radio Authority largely on demand.

In the past year RSL have included stations for the Moslem and Sikh communities, usually to mark religious festivals, as well as for Afro Caribbean groups. A number of RSLs in Wales and Northern Ireland also provide the opportunity to offer further Celtic language material.

24 RSLs issued for the holy month of Ramadan in 2001. The RSL scheme enables groups and individuals who may not normally have access to the airwaves to be given the chance to broadcast.

The BBC, Channel 4, Welsh Fourth Channel Authority, Independent Television Commission and Radio Authority are among a list of bodies the government has proposed should be brought within the scope of the public sector duty to promote race equality, enshrined in the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. >

8. Census
<The most recent census was conducted in 2001.>
8.1. Whether details of which mother tongue/language is used is asked in the census
<The Census form was written in English and people were required to fill it in in English too. There were no questions regarding mother tongue or how many languages people speak. When the data is released to the public and press it will be in English and further research will be in English.>
8.2. How is it asked? (Selection from a choice or other means?)
<Not applicable>
8.3. What kinds of options are proposed?
<Not applicable>
8.4. Other types of questions concerning language in the census
<See above 8.1.>
8.5. What language(s) is/are used for the census?
<Respondents could request forms in English.>
8.6. What language(s) is/are used to publish the census results?
<The census results will be published in English.>
8.7. Other information about the census and languages.
<See above 8.1.>

9. Publications.
9.1. Language(s) used in newspapers (with popularity rank and percentage if possible).
<A range of ethnic minority publication is published in Britain, from daily newspapers to trade journals.

Daily papers include Sing Tao (Chinese), Daily Jang (Urdu), Ananda Bazar Patrika (Bengali), Al-arab, Ashar Al-awsat and Al-hayat (Arabic), Hurriyet (Turkish), Awaaz Asian Voice and Asian Age.

Weekly newspapers include the Voice, Caribbean Times, Asian Times, The Gleaner, New World, New Nation, Eastern Eye, Asian Voice Scotland, Irish Post, Irish World, La Voce degli Italiani (Italian), Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Tribune, London Jewish News, Parikiaki and Ta Nea (Greek), Garavi Gujarat and Gujarat Samacher (Gujarati), Amar Deep Hindi and Navin Weekly (Hindi), Awaze Quam Internaional, Punjab Times International and Des Pardes (Punjabi), Toplum Postasi (Turkish), Milap Weekly and Ravi News Weekly (Urdu).

Trade journals include Asian Trader and Asian Convenience Retailer.

See also Wales. >

9.2. Language(s) used in magazines and journals (with popularity rank and percentage if possible). (The kind of publications should be suitably classified according to the situation of the country concerned.)
<See above.>
9.3. Language(s) used in novels and poetry, dramas and plays, and films (with popularity rank and percentage if possible).
<They are mostly done through the medium of English.

In 2001 British publishers issued over 119,000 separates titles (including new editions). The UK book industry exported books worth’1,195 million in 2001. Fictional works of literature are just part of the range of books on offer. Non-fiction, in particular gardening, lifestyle, and travel books, as well as books tied to particular television series, are consistently among the lists of best-selling titles. Among the leading trade organisations are the Publishers Association (PA), which has 200 members; and the Booksellers Association, with about 3,300 members. The PA, through its international division, promotes the export of British books. The Welsh Book Council promotes the book trade in Wales in both Wales and English and the Gaelic Books Council supports the publication of books in Gaelic.

As for drama, Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Model is the national English-speaking theatre company for Wales. A new Welsh language theatre company is currently being planned and the Syerman Theatre in Cardiff has a focus on theatre for young audiences. See also Wales. >

10. Other information about language use (include the prohibition of the use of particular language(s)).
10.1. Language(s) used in religion. (Christians: Bible, liturgy, catechism etc.)
<See Wales.>
10.2. Language(s) used in feasts, festivals, songs, and oral tradition, and at theatres.
<As for music, English and Welsh choral societies have done much to foster the oratorio tradition at the leading music festivals. See also Wales.>
10.3. Language(s) used in trade, stock exchange and insurance, etc.
<English is the language used in trade, stock exchange and insurance. See Wales.>
10.4. Language(s) used in signs showing roads, buildings, and others, outdoor advertisements, movies.
<English, See Wales.>

yThis database is compiled by Prof. Shimizu Tomoko, under the supervision of Prof. Araki Masazumi and H. Takachio z