A statistic from 2017 says 90% of the population of the UK is British and the rest 10% population is UK-born Minority people.
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Due to the majority of British people, English has been the most spoken language of the country. But, English is not the only language in the UK. Most minority folk still speak their distinct mother languages. It sounds interesting that you will find speakers of six other languages in England along with English. This article will introduce you to those languages with short descriptions.
Top Languages Spoken in the UK
It is not unknown that English is the major language of the United Kingdom. British English, also called Anglo-English, is the official language of the UK and the mother tongue of Britons. The British accent is considered Standard English among others. The language has almost 40 distinct dialects. So, the accents including Scottish, Geordie, Yorkshire, Welsh, and Essex sound entirely different. According to Wikipedia, about 59.8 million residents in the UK speak British English which is 98% of the total population. Linguists and historians say English originated in 449 AD from the West Germanic root.
2. Scottish Gaelic:
Scottish Gaelic is also a native language of the United Kingdom. It is a regional language and not used officially like English. Based on the census in 2011, about 87,000 people speak Scottish Gaelic. The highest number of Scottish Gaelic speakers lives in the Outer Hebrides. Scottish Gaelic is a member of Goidelic, a segment of Celtic languages, and originated in 500 AD. It became a separate dialect of Gaelic in the 13th century. The language is also spoken in some regions of Canada.
3. Gaelic/ Irish:
Gaelic is another Celtic language spoken throughout the British archipelago in the UK. It is also known as Irish which is far older than English and the official language of the Republic of Ireland since 1922. Gaelic (Irish) also became the official language of the EU in 2005. The total number of Gaelic speakers is nearly 95000, and the majority of them live in the Republic of Ireland. The community of Gaelic speakers is called Gaeltachts.
Welsh is a Brythonic Celtic language that originated in 600 BC. It is the mother language of Welsh people. Many people think of Welsh as a dialect of English by mistake. But, Welsh is an individual language with a unique vocabulary and etymology. It is quite natural to be confused because the Welsh-English dialect is massively influenced by Welsh grammar. At present, the number of Welsh speakers in the UK is nearly 800000. The minority group of Welsh speakers also lives in Canada and Argentina. Welsh is one of the languages with euphonic tones.
Cornish is derived from the Brittonic Celtic language family. It is a revived language that became extinct at the end of the 18th century. But, it was revived in the 20th century by a small Cornish community. According to the census in 2011, the total number of Cornish speakers is 557 in the UK. The language represents the identity, culture, and tradition of the Cornish community. Nowadays, Cornish families speak Cornish as the second language along with English. Despite the small number of speakers, Cornish is often used in Cornwall, particularly on street signs and tourist spots.
Manx is the native language of Manx people, a minority group in the UK. The language originated from the Insular Celtic languages. It is also a revived language that became extinct in 1974 after the death of Ned Maddrell, the last native speaker of Manx. A survey in 2015 finds 53 first speakers and 1800 second speakers of Manx in the UK. Manx people are an ethnic group native to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. The language is similar to Irish and Scottish Gaelic.
Angloromani, also called Anglo-Romani, is the native language of Romani. They are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group who have lived in the UK for years. The total number of Angloromani speakers is 200000. It is a mixed language that includes the vocabulary of Romani and the syntax of English. For this reason, it is sometimes called Romani-English. Angloromani has two different dialects including the Southern Angloromani and the Northern Angloromani. People of both groups believe that they are two different regional groups.
Foreign Languages Spoken in the UK
A census in 2011 shows that 2.9% of the population of the UK speaks other European languages like French, German, Italian, Portuguese, etc. Besides, 2.4% of the population of the UK speaks south Asian languages like Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, and Indonesian. Along with them, many Chinese, Arabic, Turkish and Russian speakers live in the UK.
Though the UK is the land of multilingual people, British English is the only official language and is widely used. Nothing would be much more effective than learning English under a native British tutor. AmazingTalker, an online language learning platform, lets you learn English and other languages under native tutors through the immersion learning method.