British identity and English (only?)

Ronald Kephart rkephart at
Thu Sep 22 12:04:27 UTC 2005

At 10:12 AM +0100 9/22/05, Anthea Fraser Gupta wrote:

>...Later in same programme, Dr Jeevan Singh Deol 
>(scholar of Sikh history) is interviewed:
>Jeevan Singh Deol: "In the neighbourhood where I 
>live [Kings Cross, in London] young Bangladeshi 
>kids who've grown up in this country walk around 
>on the streets speaking among themselves 
>entirely in Bengali which is not the kind of 
>situation I would have seen when I was growing 
>up. Public discourse was in English."
>James Naughtie: "Do you think it should be in English"
>Jeevan Singh Dial: "I think it should be."

The response I always wish I could give when I 
read or hear an exchange like this goes something 

"Well, gee, and when *your* English (±) speaking 
ancestors showed up in England back in the 700s, 
the people walking around on the streets were 
speaking among themselves in some form of Gaelic! 
I wonder what happened to them... Oh wait, your 
ancestors drove them to the fringes of the 
British Isles, and even unto Brittany, and then 
insulted some of them by naming their fringe 
territory Wales, from Old English for 
'foreigners'. Stuff happens."


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list