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Language variation

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1 What do we know about the Iberians and the Beaker people? What traces have their culture left on the face of the land?

2 What were the major achievements of Celtic civilization?

3 What part of Britain was latinized during the Roman occupation? How did the Roman way of life influence the life of the Celts? What traces are there of Roman rule in Britain?

4 Why is the Germanic Conquest one of the governing events in the English history? What was the fate of the Celts as a result of the Anglo-Saxon conquest? What forms of governance and institutions were created by the Anglo-Saxons? How did the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity facilitate the political unity and influence the cultural development of Britain?

5 What territory of Britain did the Danes manage to conqueur? How did the Danish settlers influence the development of the country in the 10th-11th centuries?

6 What were the reasons and the pretext of the Norman invasion? What were the reasons for the defeat of the Anglo-Saxons at Hastings? What made it possible for William to strengthen his royal power so greatly? What was the Domesday Book? What useful information does it give us about England in the second half of the 11th century? How did the registration consolidate the position of the Norman conquerors in England?



3.1 Ethnic Composition and Language Variation

3.2 Demographic Trends: Age and Sex Structure, Distribution of Population, The Family, The Status of Women

3.3 Ethnic minorities

3.4 Living Standards

English is the main language spoken in Britain, although with many regional variations in terms of accept and phraseology. It is also one of the most widely used in the world; recent estimates suggest that over 337 million people speak it as their first language, with a similar number speaking it as a second language. Modern English derives primarily from one of the dialects of Anglo-Saxon, but has been very greatly influenced by other languages over time.

About one-fifth of the population of Wales speak the Welsh language, which is of Celtic origin. They are concentrated in the rural north and west, where Welsh remains the first language of most of the population. Both the Government and voluntary groups have taken steps to revive the use of Welsh. Bilingual education in schools is encouraged and there has been an extended use of Welsh for official purposes and in broadcasting. In the context of dealing with public authorities and the administration of justice in Wales, Welsh and English are treated on an equal basis.

Gaelic, also a language of Celtic origin, is still spoken by some 70,000 people in Scotland; the greatest concentration of Gaelic speakers is in the islands of the Hebrides. People in the central lowlands of Scotland have for centuries spoken Scots, a dialect derived from the Northumbrian branch of Old English. This has its own recognised literary tradition and has seen a revival in poetry in the 20th century. Many words and phrases from the Scots tongue are retained in the everyday English which is spoken throughout Scotland.

Many other languages are spoken by the minority ethnic communities living in Britain.


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