Yesterday I wrote about Polish being the second most spoken language in England and Wales, according to the 2011 census.
I sensed the rise of the Polish language just over 2 years ago. In our local library, the self-service machine offered 4 language options, namely, English, Chinese, Russian and Polish.
Today I went to Winchester library to check if the language options have changed. No. It’s the same language options. This picture shows what I saw in the Polish version about account, borrowing and renewal and making payment.
There are 2 issues here. First, why offering the Russian option? How many Russian speakers have you ever met in Hampshire, or in England? Without any statistic, I’m sure the Russian population in Hampshire is minimal.
Second, why offering the Polish language option? Have you met any Polish who can’t speak or write English well?
Based on my encounters with people from different ethnic groups, the majority of the people who can’t (or can’t be bothered to, or who are culturally discouraged to) learn English are from South China, especially women. Sadly, a lot of people (especially women) whose dominant language is in Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali or Gujarati (which I called the Big 4) can’t function in English in this country. If the library is to offer any practical support to the needy groups, I feel that the languages needed would be the Big 4.
- I think it’s time I (and you) learnt some Polish (janetsnotebook.com)
- Polish becomes England’s second language (guardian.co.uk)
- Polish becomes England’s second language (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Polish is ‘second biggest language in England’ (itv.com)
- Polish now second most common language in England and Wales (thesun.co.uk)