The results of the replies to the 2011 Census question ‘What is your main language?’ were released recently. The table below contains information found on the website of the Office of National Statistics.
Across England and Wales, Polish topped the bill for foreign languages. Here in Cardiff, however, Polish is only the second biggest foreign language after Arabic. What’s more, Cardiff, the capital, ranks only 6th in Wales in terms of number of people who ticked Polish, Wrexham in the north east being number one in Wales.
91.7% of the population speak English or Welsh as a main language. Most of those who recorded another language as their main language are also able to speak English – only 0.3% of Census respondents in Cardiff claimed that they can’t speak any English at all.
The percentage of Welsh speakers in Cardiff has increased slightly to 11.1% compared with 11.0% in 2001. This contrasts with the general downwards trend that we discussed in an earlier blog. Welsh was the major language in Cardiff from the 1300s until the growth period of the 19th Century. By 1891, the percentage of Welsh speakers had dropped to 27.9% and Lisvane, Llanedeyrn and Creigiau were the only remaining majority Welsh-speaking communities. The decline continued until the 2001 Census, which saw a small increase compared with 1991.
Over the years Cardiff has been home to many languages including Norman French and Old Norse in addition to Welsh and English. Its status as a port city means it has many long-standing migrant communities such as those from Yemen and Somalia. As we can see from the table, Arabic and Somali continue to be in the top five of the city’s languages. Languages from the Indian sub-continent are also well represented with Bengali having the highest number of speakers. Western European languages are strong including French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Greek and German in that order. Eastern European languages are also present with Polish having the greatest number of speakers by far, followed by Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Romanian and Lithuanian. Chinese languages feature heavily with other Chinese variants being the highest, followed by Cantonese and then Mandarin.
If you feel like adding another language to your skill-set you may wish to consider which language to learn. The same goes for learning methods. At Business Language Services we can provide bespoke courses tailored to your needs in these languages and many others. Being able to learn in a small group or one-to-one means no time is wasted on activities that don’t interest you and all the time is spent working towards your goals. Contact us to discuss your particular needs and interests.
|English (including Welsh speakers)|
|Chinese (other than Mandarin or Cantonese)|
|Pashto (Afghanistan, Pakistan)|
|Malay (Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei)|
|Tamil (India/Sri Lanka)|