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

Fortier, Anne-Marie (2018) On (not) speaking English:colonial legacies in language requirements for British citizenship. Sociology, 52 (6). pp. 1254-1269. ISSN 0038-0385

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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.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Sociology
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Sociology,52(6), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Sociology page: http://http://journals.sagepub.com/home/SOC on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3312
Subjects:
ID Code:
88165
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
09 Oct 2017 09:22
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
27 Sep 2020 04:07