chapter  6
28 Pages

Ethnicity and language

WithGerry Smyth

These languages, moreover, are closely linked with the ways in which people perceive themselves and their role in British society. For although the United Kingdom is a state, many people within this state think about themselves, their families, and their local communities in quite different ways. One way of describing these individuals and the groups to which they belong is in terms of ‘ethnicity’. Ethnicity is a highly complex and contentious concept. For the purposes of this chapter however, it can be defined as the patterns of behaviour, cultural values, and political affiliations shared by certain individuals who come together to form a group within a larger population.