"Official English" in the UK?

Anthea Fraser Gupta A.F.Gupta at leeds.ac.uk
Wed Apr 4 08:28:56 UTC 2007

I agree with Don about the problem of the concept 'official language'. Those who say UK has NO official language are presumably relying on the absence of a written constitution, as for us a constitutional provision is problematic (although there is still 'constitutional law' in the UK -- you can have a constitution without a written one). I think the designation of English (and the regional and minority languages) at EU level is important. In fact many of the provisions for official languages in the UK have a lot of teeth, especially in terms of medium of education and adoption of citizenship. So there is enforcement of the official languages in the UK, and funding for them too.
In fact, as readers of this list will know, the enforcement of English (and, notionally, Welsh and Gaelic) has increased in the last year with stronger requirements that new citizens must reach a level of proficiency in an official language (usual identified as 'English' in the press) and suggestions that this requirement should be extended to all those wanting to migrate to UK, including new spouses of UK citizens.

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Anthea Fraser Gupta (Dr) 
School of English, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT <www.leeds.ac.uk/english/staff/afg> 
NB: Reply to a.f.gupta at leeds.ac.uk 
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