to think when Brits complain about immigrants not integrating

(130 Posts)
redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 13:10:45

or learning English, it's a bit of a pot, kettle, black scenario.

I just heard someone moaning about immigrants not integrating or learning English when I happen to know their parents actually live in Majorca in an ex pat community and don't speak Spanish.

I think the there are loads of Brits living abroad in countries that don't speak English who don't integrate, learn the language or mix much with locals.

AIBU to think that we are probably one of the worst nations for integrating when we emigrate and learning languages but the first to moan about people not integrating in the UK.

Callani Wed 23-Oct-13 10:34:15

I don't think its hypocritical on their part but I have to agree that people emigrating and not learning the local language makes my blood boil.

That being said, when I moved to France I really stuggled to integrate with the local language and humour even though I didn't spend any time with English speakers, although I do think a large reason for that was because French people were so disparaging of my attempts to speak French and accused me of speaking like a Parisian rather than a local etc making me feel very self conscious and giving me HUGE culture shock.

Conversely when I lived in Germany and Spain I got on really well and made friends, and didn't feel self conscious at all but the point is some people do struggle and even in Germany I enjoyed meeting up with English friends, and spending too much money on imported English foods to replicate home so I do understand the temptation for immigrants not to integrate...

The pattern of immigration -> integration is pretty similar for all immigrants over the centuries. At first they tend to live with others of the same origins, for mutual support and comfort. The next generation tend to grow up bi-lingual, and be the interface between the immigrants and the country they live in. The 2nd generation tend to have the 'new' country's language as their mother-tongue, and move further from the self-imposed ghetto.

This is not always true though, take Bethnal Green as an example, there are huge estates where the vast majority of occupants are of Bangladeshi origin, it has been that way for years and there are still adults who either came to this country as children or were even born who and speak very little English at all. There are schools within the community that do not teach in English much, there is often no English spoken at home, so it further compounds the issue.

I know this from growing up nearby,having a sister who lived in the area and a friend who is a housing officer in the area and who, nine times out of ten will need to take a translator on home visits or for appointments.

The self imposed ghettos do not always tend to naturally break up through generations, and this does lead to resentments.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 23-Oct-13 13:06:02

But 50-100 years ago Bethnal Green was predominantly Jewish. The Jewish immigrants moved into areas that Huguenots were moving out of (IIRC). This process takes decades. The 3-generation change is the fastest turnover - it is rarely that fast for a whole community.

The immigration of Bangladeshi's to Britain (mainly men in search of work) started in earnest in the 1920's, it just increased massively in the 1970's due to a change in immigration laws. Stoke Newington was (and still does) have a large Jewish community, but Bethnal Green has been dominated by Bangladeshi communities for a considerable amount of time, and most people in surrounding areas are fully aware of the lack of integration because it has become so ghettoised (if that's even a word?).

I don;t doubt the cycle that was described, but it is certainly not completely accurately for all immigrant communities everywhere. There are plenty of second generation Bangladeshi's in that area who speak only the bare minimum of English, if any at all.

ILoveAFullFridge Wed 23-Oct-13 13:49:19

No, of course it's not completely accurate for all communities everywhere. That would be as ridiculous a sweeping generalisation as some of the attitudes to immigrants on this thread!

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