Language Planning and Language Policy in Manchester

© Andrea Donakey

MA Dissertation 2007 Abstract

Cities in the UK are becoming ever more multilingual due to their established ethnic minorities and increasing rates of urban immigration. This is leading to a rise in metropolitan multilingualism with more and more people in urban localities using languages other than English, or 'community languages'. Local government policies are gradually adapting to this emerging multilingualism through 'top-down' planning activities that cater for residents who do not speak the dominant language. This study examines such provisions within one of the most multiethnic and multilingual areas of the UK, the city of Manchester. Through an analysis of services available in community languages from the City Council and interlinked public service agencies, the research seeks to discover whether community languages suffer neglect within a 'language hierarchy', and whether Manchester's rich linguistic resources are realised throughout the public sector. The data gathered from Manchester City Council and associated service providers indicate that community languages are supported and to an extent, promoted, particularly within the city's network of supplementary schools. However, local government language policy falls short of providing equal services for all languages, suggesting that, despite the Council's commitment to providing services in all community languages, local language planning is constrained by national policy agendas which are motivated by a predominantly monolingual mindset.

MA Dissertation (pdf)