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.

But that's not them personally is it? I would find it a bit rich if someone who lived in aforementioned expat community was banging on about it, but me personally, I do think they should learn the language and integrate more, in the same way I wouldn't dream of going to live in a foreign country and not learning to speak the language, its just rude.
I do recognise there are some difficulties in certain communities for women who aren't "allowed" to learn English though.

SeaSickSal Sun 20-Oct-13 13:18:56

Maybe they don't approve of their parents doing it either?

Trills Sun 20-Oct-13 13:20:25

"British people" are not a homogeneous mass.

It's perfectly possible for some British people to do something that other British people disapprove of, without anyone being a hypocrite.

ilovesooty Sun 20-Oct-13 13:22:51

The UK attitude to learning other languages is generally pretty blinkered but I think there are two separate issues in play here.

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 13:23:23

I haven't said all Brits have I?

Strumpetron Sun 20-Oct-13 13:26:21

RedPipe but the ones complaining aren't in an other country so they aren't the ones not integrating over there are they?

Trills Sun 20-Oct-13 13:27:19

"Pot calling the kettle black" applies only when you criticise someone for doing something that you do yourself.

Other British people are not "myself". They are separate other people.

Milkjug Sun 20-Oct-13 13:28:48

It's based on a racist premise. 'But we are white and wear M and S underwear and drink Liptons' tea, we are NORMAL, not like those funny brown types wearing strange clothes, going to mosques and stinking of curried goat!'

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 13:29:20

I have no idea what you are saying sorry.

BrokenSunglasses Sun 20-Oct-13 13:29:52

YABU if you are calling someone hypocritical on the basis of what their parents do.

As far as I'm aware, I can't control what my parents do and do not choose to do, and as an adult my opinions are not based on my parents actions.

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 13:30:25

I have also heard Brits who live abroad moan about this issue whilst supping a San Miguel on the beach.

Strumpetron Sun 20-Oct-13 13:30:52

redpipe they are hypocrites then, not the ones complaining here.

Laquitar Sun 20-Oct-13 13:31:14

If your friend's parents are pensioners or have rental income from uk they are not dedpetate to learn the language i suppose.
If you are young, need to work, you are raising family here and planning to stay then yes you have to learn the language. How are you going to work and how are you going to support your dcs with schoolwork and activities?

Heartbrokenmum73 Sun 20-Oct-13 13:31:26

Oh, this thread isn't going to turn nasty at all. Nope, not going to happen.

<waits for patently racist eejits to turn up>

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 20-Oct-13 13:34:02

I think people who move here should try and learn the language as I would try and do if I moved abroad. Obviously I know some women aren't 'allowed' to learn English, which is a type of isolation abuse (I learnt).

I wonder if some people in large communities don't have to learn English and get by without it.

Not sure my post is worded that well.

harticus Sun 20-Oct-13 13:34:09

Most of the people I know who have emigrated to non-English speaking countries have embraced the life style and language - it is what drew them in the first place.
I certainly don't moan about people not integrating into the UK and I don't know anybody who does.
Hate clichés me.

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 13:34:25

I haven't actually said they are hypocrites I was explaining where my train of thought came from.

EBearhug Sun 20-Oct-13 13:37:09

I do know someone who goes on about how awful it is there are so many immigrants these days - and then goes on about his years in Saudi and elsewhere, without any sense of irony.

I'm not sure though, that the people who complain about immigrants are always the same ones who move abroad to English-speaking enclaves. There probably is some cross-over, but not entirely (we need a Venn diagram to show it.) Plenty of people move abroad and learn the language, and plenty of immigrants to Britain learn English. And a Polish colleague, to whom I had said I was learning Welsh, most annoyingly said, "Dw ddim yn siarad Cymraeg" (I don't speak Welsh) - she'd spent a couple of years in Wales and had at least learned some basics of Welsh (her English is fluent.)

People are very good at not noticing the things which don't fit in with their prejudices, though.

BrokenSunglasses Sun 20-Oct-13 13:41:37

You are generalising too much. IMO, anyone who moves to another country should try to integrate and if need be, learn at least English of the other language to get by.

It's rude no matter what country you come from, so the Brits that have moved to Spain without ever trying to learn basic Spanish and integrate are no better and no worse than any of the many people that come to Britain without trying to learn English and integrate.

Laquitar Sun 20-Oct-13 13:47:08

But also people meam different things by 'learning the language'.
Some mean that they can say 'can i have an ice cream' in the local language.

Laquitar Sun 20-Oct-13 13:53:48

But also people meam different things by 'learning the language'.
Some mean that they can say 'can i have an ice cream' in the local language.

Laquitar Sun 20-Oct-13 13:54:21

Ops sorry

I am from an immigrant family going way back, around the world, most of the men in my family have the Merchant Navy background and settled in other countries than their birth, then have often uprooted again, iyswim.

There is a big difference in someone having the income to retire to a country and expecting to live in a country, work and be a part of that society, especially whilst raising children and making no attempt to try to learn the language etc.

There seems to be an increase of bus drivers in my area that speak or understand very little English. I know that there has been a big recruitment drive in other EU countries.

They get paid the same wages, there is an over application from UK drivers whenever jobs are advertised. So if anyone comments that they have the right to use their local transport system and the staff should be able to speak the language of that country, I totally agree.

That is just one example.

There was a report in a Newspaper about industrial accidents, the numbers involving workplaces that contain non English speaking/first language are disproportionate and increasing.

I want it to be explained why my DD who has LDs may never be able to drive because her reading level isn't good enough, or hold some H&S certificates, yet they can be held by people who cannot speak English and I bus can be operated by some who cannot communicate with the passengers if there is an accident.

That happened to my FIL ( he was well compensated) they had to make their own arrangements to go to hospital. The driver didn't seem to understand or be concerned that people had broken bones.

I also don't think that a child should have to be a translator for their parents when they have lived in that country since before the child was born and plan on staying. Unless there are LD/disability's present.

That is regardless of were you live.

You are over generalising OP, I know people who work the summer in Ibiza, Turkey etc who make the effort to speak at least two other languages conversationally.

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 14:07:09

I am stunned that you have an increasing number of bus drivers who speak little English.
Do you ind saying where about you are in the UK?

theywillgrowup Sun 20-Oct-13 14:07:37

IMO if you make another country your home then yes you should be prepared to learn the language and respect the culture,while being able to retain your own country of origins culture (as long as it's not illegal etc)

but that's a perfect world

i do feel that some dont integrate as much as they could in the uk,and feel that a big divide is being created,but yes the english can be quilty of this abroad to

so i guess YANBU

JamieandtheMagicTorch Sun 20-Oct-13 14:08:35

Good post EBearHug

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 14:11:42

"British population of Spain in 2006 was estimated to be about 761,000 (more than twenty-five times the population of Gibraltar).[1][2] Of these, according to the BBC and contrary to popular belief, only about 21.5% are over the age of 65"

"Academic research has shown that a section of the British population in Spain is poorly integrated into Spanish society.[8][9][10] [11] [12] A survey of 340 British migrants in the Province of Málaga, for example, found that one third rarely or never met Spanish people, apart from in shops and restaurants, and that 60 per cent did not speak Spanish well.[1"

theywillgrowup Sun 20-Oct-13 14:16:31

on the other side though English is accepted as a world wide language

so we have been spoilt in some ways,maybe somebody could explain why it is known as a worldwide language.Is it because we used to have a large presence in other country's years ago,(being polite on that one) hmm

WorraLiberty Sun 20-Oct-13 14:17:03


I understand exactly what Trills said btw and I agree with every word.

I think there are far too many immigrants here in London who make very little effort to learn English or to integrate.

That doesn't make me 'Pot, kettle, Black' in my line of thinking because the Brits who do the same abroad, are not me.

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 14:17:53

Interesting article

I just think that we do have integration problems in the UK but I think sometimes many people here take a superior attitude and forget that many Brits are doing just the same thing abroad.

WorraLiberty Sun 20-Oct-13 14:19:44

I just think that we do have integration problems in the UK but I think sometimes many people here take a superior attitude and forget that many Brits are doing just the same thing abroad.

Right but how would 'remembering' the Brits abroad, change the situation here?

It doesn't.

nicename Sun 20-Oct-13 14:19:55

I'd guess that the majority of people emigrating to the Costa del Whatzit would be retirees. Possible different from someone much younger upping sticks and moving abroad - work, education, housing eyc - where they really would need to integrate to some degree.

And the bus drivers here - they can speak english (especially ye olde anglo saxon) but choose to do the 'death stare'. I think they teach them that at TFL school.

When I go abroad I usually go native anyway. That's why I go abroad - to experience life there.

WorraLiberty Sun 20-Oct-13 14:22:28

Most of the bus drivers here speak English quite well

Minicab drivers not so much, but usually enough to get by.

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 14:23:49

According to the stats only 21% living on the costa del Whatzit grin (love that) are OAP's.

Heartbrokenmum73 Sun 20-Oct-13 14:24:24

I've recently moved from a big city where we had a lot of Eastern European drivers - they all spoke English perfectly well.

My SIL and her sister are Lithuanian - both speak fantastic English, as well as German and French.

My personal favourites are the English drivers who grunt at you and the one we had for awhile (on a school bus route) who thought that swearing at other drivers was perfectly acceptable in front of all the children.

But hey, at least he wasn't a nasty immigrant, eh?

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 14:27:46


I have never encountered a bus driver who doesn't speak English either.

Well, I kinda see what you are getting at, redpipe, and agree that English speaking people (of any nationality) as a gross generalisation are not as good as member of other smaller nations to learn another language, even of the country they live in.
But then, English IS understood and spoken in many, many parts of the world, so the incentive is just not the same I suppose.

I am saying that as one of the 'deserving' hmm immigrants to Britain. I am caucasian, speak good English, am highly trained and am a total net gain to the country (I was trained in my home country where I never worked/paid taxes and have paid tax here for 20 years now).
I have totally gone native grin which was the whole point of leaving home.

However I can see how excruciatingly difficult it must be if you come from a culture far more different from Britain than my own is. If you live in an enclave of your own culture and rarely venture out. If you find this strange new world you live in quite threatening and strange. Etc etc.

What bugs me more is holiday makers or even longerterm expats behaving as if they owned the place, wherever they are, and have the gall to be fecking critical about the otherness of their place in the sun hmm.

WorraLiberty Sun 20-Oct-13 14:29:03

I'm not really sure what that has to do with anything Heartbroken, surely that's taking the thread off topic a tad?

English drivers aren't the only ones who 'grunt' at passengers and swear at other drivers.

But that's a whole different topic and no-one (apart from you) has mentioned the words 'nasty immigrant'.

BrokenSunglasses Sun 20-Oct-13 14:30:36

Worra has it spot on, and I think you are focussing on Spain too much. I'd imagine that many of the Brits that are working there are catering for the huge number of Brits that go there on holiday so don't spend the majority of their working time needing to converse with people who are Spanish. I don't think you can rely on Spain to make an accurate judgement on how well Brits integrate there. It would be better to look at a British integration in a country that has a more average level of British tourism.

nicename Sun 20-Oct-13 14:32:47

As said by the english bus driver at 7.30am last week to another roasd user
"c**t, C*****NT!! CUUUUUUUUUUUU*****TTTTT!!!!!!!"


redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 14:35:05


I agree it must be very difficult for some people who have come from such different backgrounds.

WorraLiberty Sun 20-Oct-13 14:36:24


Have you never heard an Indian or Pakistani driver swear?

See this is what I mean. These threads tend to go right off topic and just turn into a 'Bash the British' fest.

Nancy66 Sun 20-Oct-13 14:36:30

I think people feel more at ease with what they know.

If I was moving to a country where I knew nobody and didn't speak a word of the language and somebody said to me: 'There's this little community full of English people there and they'll welcome you and show you around.' then, yeah, I probably would head there.

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 14:38:02

But what about the children in Spanish schools not integrating as well as other European nationals?
You are right though about focusing too much on Spain although I believe it's our top destination so hard not to.

I don't think that thread like this are about bashing the Brits at all.
Sterotypes wrt to nationalities exist for a reason: there's usually a tiny seed of truth to them although they obviously don't apply to all individuals.

I've never had any serious problems living here but have had comments implying I did not behave 'like the rest of you' - What? All other women? Mothers? Piano players? Brown haired/blue eye people?? No, not like ALL the other of my compatriots apparently grin. And some of the prejudices go back a few hundred years...

BrokenSunglasses Sun 20-Oct-13 14:53:48

I don't know about those children, but I have a friend who has recently moved her family including three children to Spain to live. I know they are doing their best to learn Spanish and are trying hard to get to fully know the Spanish culture, but obviously it won't happen overnight. Until they have fully integrated, it seems only natural that they will spend time with other Brits.

I think if you're going to consider Brits in Spain in comparison to the communities in the UK that have not integrated, then you have to also consider the fact that the vast majority of Brits in Spain will be there because they really want to be. For many it will have been a choice that they feel very lucky and happy to have. But there are people living in parts of the UK who are only there because they have no other reasonable option, and given the choice they would be in the country they came from and free from the problems that caused them to leave.

You aren't comparing comparable communities. People's reasons for not integrating will be very different.

Thistledew Sun 20-Oct-13 14:58:58

I do think you have a point OP. The people complaining are usually of the mindset that it is "those people" who don't bother to learn the language or integrate, without stopping to consider that it seems to be a common human behaviour across all nationalities and ethnic groups to behave in that way.

Some people who emigrate integrate. Many people who emigrate don't. I don't actually see why the latter is something to make a fuss about. You just live by your own standards as does everyone else and it all evens out at the end.

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 14:59:26

I was referring to this link in brokensunglasses.
I take your point about different reasons for emigrating but actually that just makes it worse that many Brits don't integrate more doesn't it?

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 15:01:04

Thank you so much for your post it is exactly what I mean.

"The people complaining are usually of the mindset that it is "those people" who don't bother to learn the language or integrate, without stopping to consider that it seems to be a common human behaviour across all nationalities and ethnic groups to behave in that way."

I lived in Italy and knew British people who didn't learn Italian. We used to roll our eyes and go on about how ignorant they were. I don't do the same about immigrants to the UK. I am a hypocrite, just the other way round grin

I am also an immigrant and have heard British people, here in Canada, say that they came here because of all the immigrants in the UK. Ironic? Yes, it is. I suppose they mean brown immigrants, not themselves.

redpipe Sun 20-Oct-13 15:04:24


sashh Sun 20-Oct-13 15:09:39

But that's not them personally is it? I would find it a bit rich if someone who lived in aforementioned expat community was banging on about it

I picked up a friend and her son from the airport, he was wittering on about immigrants, not learning the language etc etc. I asked him where he had got these ideas from

"My gran says..................."

That would be his gran who lives in Spain, doesn't speak Spanish, but does read certain British newspapers.

I now that is only one person, I know it is Spain. It is though, a British person who does not recognise herself as an immigrant.

ILoveAFullFridge Sun 20-Oct-13 15:13:25

"People are very good at not noticing the things which don't fit in with their prejudices, though."

Quite. And as the child of immigrants, myself, whose mother-tongue is not English, I am astonished at the number of people who take offence when I slip into my mother tongue to talk to my mother.

Of course immigrants should learn the local language and customs, but they should not be expected to totally give up their own language and customs.

Mia4 Sun 20-Oct-13 15:23:48

I get what you mean OP and if someone does moan about the lack of integrating in this country but believes it's okay to live abroad and not integrate then they are hypocritical indeed (Like Sashh's friend's gran). But I think you'll find there's plenty of people in other countries that find that brits who are not integrating (or trying to) and expecting people to cater to them just as annoying as the brits who get annoyed by the lack of integration here.

Basically, i think most people get annoyed by a lack of integration in terms of language- a lack of even trying especially . DP hopes to go to France at some point to live and we're already learning french in preparation for that day (and because knowing another language is almost always useful).

DPs uncles live in france, one went at the age of 19 and one went a few onths back. The one who went as a teen is teaching his brother how to speak french and get used to everything, in the towns where they live very few people speak english and those that do will wait to see if brits (and others, germans, american etc) try to communicate in french before using french and english to communicate. If there's no attempt by the brits to use french then those who can also speak english pretend they can't and refuse to help them. They, like the brits you mention, are very against people not-integrating or even trying to.

Mia I saw this in Paris. DH and I went to a restaurant and I started in French. The waiter took pity on DH (with his horrible French) and spoke to us in English. Two Americans came and started in English. He refused to speak English to them. A little awkward as the waiter seated us next to each other so he spoke English to us and French to them, in full hearing of each other.

misspontypine Sun 20-Oct-13 15:42:33

I feel sad that all the blame is put on the immigrants, I wonder how easy it is to learn English, are there free courses?

I am British but live abroad. I have learnt the language but it has been a long journey and I have a lot more to learn. I go to free language classes ( ironically you can also learn English for free) the people in the class are a real mix, most of them havn't choosen to leave their home country, it has been the only option. They have left behind their homes, friends and everything familiar to keep themselves and their children safe. Many people in tge class have never been in a formal classroom, many struggle to read and write their home language.

I have been told about horrible things that have happened to my class mates since they have been living in this supposedly very equal country. I have not directly experienced the same things because I have white skin and I have spent a long time practising my accent so I am not obviously an immigrant.

I don't blame people for not wanting to fit in,

Strumpetron Sun 20-Oct-13 15:47:02

It's really really important that people still feel they can embrace their cultures and I'd be saddened if people thought they couldn't do this due to having to fit in.

BUT learning the language of where you're wanting to live and work is a must. There's no two ways about it. How do you expect to get anywhere without that? And abiding by our laws.

Mia4 Sun 20-Oct-13 15:47:30

MrsTerryPratchett very awkward indeed! Did they say anything? I think this happens a lot, probably accross the board in all different countries. My uncle's neighbours are french and can't stand 'brashy people' who walk in and start ordering around in english. Apparently they were wary when he first moved in since their last american neighbours didn't care to learn or integrate and assumed he would be the same but since they've met his bilingual brother and seen how hard he's trying they've pretty much hit it off.

Right about now it would be wine, cheese and pate o'clock for them!

If I ever move to another country I'm going to have a horrible time trying to learn the language. This is the thing I am worst at and it would take me forever. I will become known as 'that Brit who still can't pronounce hello properly' But I would be trying. I wouldn't say "This is my culture. I don't have to learn your language".

Not every immigrant does that - people vary, but enough do to cause resentment.

Mia no one said anything. grin I bet they did back at their hotel, though.

StanleyLambchop Sun 20-Oct-13 16:23:15

I have lived abroad in two different countries, and both times I learnt the language, to varying degrees of success.( One language I found way harder than the other- but people were way , way more appreciative when I did speak it, as they realised it was hard to learn as a foreign language) One thing I did find is that when people realise you are English speaking, they tend to jump in and want to use you to practise their English- so you are trying your best to speak and learn and they just switch to English mid conversation! It is also annoying if you are trying to think of the right word and then mid sentence someone jumps in and says it in English- yes, I know it in English, I want to learn it in your language!!! So, sometimes it is harder to learn a language when your own is so universally spoken and understood, I think that needs to be taken into account.

Bodicea Sun 20-Oct-13 16:34:25

I was born in saudi while my father worked there, and you can't compare an expat in saudi to immigrants in Britain. Lived there for 7 years. There are no opportunities to integrate - they dont want you to. I was not given citizenship, not even dual citizenship. I wouldn't expect it though. It isn't my country.
They have it right though. You help bring in skills to their economy and in return you get to make money for a short while and when your skills are not needed, they expect you to go home and not live off them. Its a fair deal, everyone wins. The difference is they pick and choose who gets to come in - getting only those with skills that are needed.

SeaSickSal Sun 20-Oct-13 16:40:40

Spanish people do moan about the English. Particularly back in the boom years they were resented for increasing property prices and pricing young Spanish people out.

The French can be extremely unfriendly to British expats, particularly if their French is not up to scratch.

In Dubai and similar 'not conforming to their culture' can land you a jail sentence.

It's not something exclusive to the English, people do like people who move to the country to respect their culture, learn the language and to mix with people who are 'natives' for want of a better word.

I don't think there is anything particularly wrong with that, it's a matter of wanting to communicate with your neighbour and have amicable human links and relations with the people around you. I think that applies just as much to Brits in Majorca as it does to Pakistani's on a Burnley estate.

SnookyPooky Sun 20-Oct-13 18:14:30

I live in Cyprus, not in an ex pat enclave but in a village outside Limassol. All my neighbours are Cypriot and DH and I both work for Cypriot companies. We go to local tavernas and shops, most of our friends are not English and I believe we have integrated well.
We both speak some Greek, me a little more than DH and we have made massive changes to our lifestyle and attitudes since coming here. We fit with the country and the culture we live in, we don't expect the opposite.

ImAFrequentNameChanger Sun 20-Oct-13 19:05:01

YANBU I live abroad and regularly meet Brits who have been here years and not bothered learning.

MorrisZapp Sun 20-Oct-13 19:12:02

My mum is a 'reverse hypocrite'. She is aghast if she overhears British people speaking in Loud Slow English on holiday, and tuts to show the locals that she's not one of those awful people.

But she thinks that anybody who has settled in the UK and has a different skin colour to herself has a 'culture' that should be 'celebrated', and should absolutely not have to integrate.

Liberals are funny smile

Oh, I have been spoken to in Slow Loud English grin. Which does not stop when I reply in perfectly good English...

I also grew up near a large American Army base, lots of single US soldiers about, some single, some families. I really appreciated it when any one of them addressed me in English, but asked 'Do you speak English?' first, rather than just assuming I must do as if their language is the Only Valid One. Yes, they were a occupying force and lived v much in army barracks and generally mixed v little with the local population (other than if they were looking for company...) and I would not expect the average soldier on a short stretch abroad to be fluent. However, the assumption that everybody else just knew English used to really rile me. I used to pretend I did not understand them... blush[childrish]

Pixel Sun 20-Oct-13 19:29:59

But what about the children in Spanish schools not integrating as well as other European nationals?

A friend of mine (well my then-boyfriend's sister actually) emigrated to Spain with her family because of her dh's job. The children went to a spanish school and had to learn the language. No one spoke english to them at all. The six year old was fluent within six months but the teenage daughter found it more difficult as she was self-conscious and afraid of making mistakes in front of her classmates. She still had to do it though, it just took her longer.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 20-Oct-13 19:41:34

OP - immigrants in Spain not speaking Spanish is erm...Spain's issue.

Immigrants living in the UK and not speaking English is the UK's problem.

I don't see either as being acceptable. If one moves to a country then one should learn the language.

Spirulina Sun 20-Oct-13 19:43:54

I think it's interesting how the term 'Brit' is used so often, yet if we were, say, from Pakistan for example, it wouldn't be acceptable to shorten that country's name in the same way.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 20-Oct-13 19:46:33


It's not interesting - it's just Paki has been used in a derogatory manner for many years against anybody who happens to have brown skin. Brit has not.

It's fairly simple.

Surely a 'Brit' can describe themselves thus?

It's not the shortening that's offensive, it's the sentiment behind it, surely.

QueFonda Sun 20-Oct-13 19:48:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BrokenSunglasses Sun 20-Oct-13 20:01:55

I expect it has been used in an offensive and racist way, it's just that we don't hear it.

SeaSickSal Sun 20-Oct-13 20:05:29

Incidentally it's interesting because there is a mainly Pakistani area near me which has recently had a massive influx of Roma. And I do mean a massive influx.

The asian families there are really not happy about it and don't like having people in the area who do things differently from them, particularly the tendency to hang around outdoors in large groups in public areas. And the tendency for fighting within those groups.

There's been large public meetings about these problems.

Just goes to show it's not necessarily just the English in England. Even people who aren't of English origin will object to outsiders coming in and not integrating and doing things differently.

Spirulina Sun 20-Oct-13 20:07:59

Brits abroad? Drunken Brits etc. I even felt a slight undertone of disgust (at 'Brits') in op's post here

TrueStory Sun 20-Oct-13 20:16:18

I think the Tuscans are probably a bit pissed off with the English, perhaps understandably .... But the English are not usually taking advantage of the Tuscan benefit system, or taking jobs of social housing.

I am so tired of hearing Eastern European voices, half of them are on benefits. What can you say to that?

nicename Sun 20-Oct-13 21:43:00

Tuscans will be making a pretty penny from the brits! Convert nonnas old barn and sell it for a fortune!

My Kenyan Indian friends dad once said 'muslims have moved next door - there goes the neighbourhood...'

I have quite a few polish friends - and I find them increadibly honest and hard working. I don't know any on benefits.

I find the marble arch beggar gangs quite intimidating though. They camp out in groups all around the area, sleeping rough (eating rough, pooing rough) and have to be shooed from home and business front doors.

EBearhug Mon 21-Oct-13 02:37:33

The difference is they pick and choose who gets to come in - getting only those with skills that are needed.

Oh, we do here. I have cousins married to non-Europeans, and they're not almost-British-if-you-ignore-the-accent (i.e. American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealander), but African - can't get visas even when a spouse, married to a British woman, working in a profession (not rich by our standards, but certainly not on the breadline, either), intending to go back home after an extended visit. They really don't let just anyone in here, at least legally.

moldingsunbeams Mon 21-Oct-13 02:56:41

I have lived and worked in schools with a very very high population of ESL.

Lots of the children were born in the UK but started unable to speak English. Parents evening was a nightmare because in lots of cases you could not communicate, even simple things like letters home of speaking when there was an issue was a nightmare. Not so bad with the older Juniors who could read very well as they would translate.

If I went into that part of town and needed serving they would send the children down to serve, lots and lots of the adults had very little English, they lived in communities together, had their own shops and markets and did not really need to. Perhaps my biggest worry was intrigating for that reason. In lots (but not all) of cases playdates and parties were confined to other children of that culture.

The school I worked in had a nursery nurse who spoke Urdu, My dd was the only English speaker in there at the start in the morning session. They had to move sessions because the nursery nurse (school) was meant to be speaking to them in a mix of English and Urdu to learn them English using pictures and objects gave up and just spoke Urdu and moved dd to afternoon session which had more English speakers because she stopped talking altogether because she never understood what was being said. (Looking back if done right it could have been an amazing chance for dd to learn Urdu)

On the flip side of the coin if I am going abroad I try and learn the basics to get by. If I was going to live there I would make every effort to learn the language.
If I had moved from Britain I would not want to make friends only with the British or I may as well stay here.

moldingsunbeams Mon 21-Oct-13 03:07:41

We had a bus driver in London in May on the way back from Victoria who spoke very very little English but I think that's an exception.

FWIW I think the UK is awful as far as language teaching is concerned. We have friends abroad (they are from that country) and their children are taught languages properly from age 5/6.

moldingsunbeams Mon 21-Oct-13 03:12:55

I clearly cannot spell in English looking back at my posts blush

AveryJessup Mon 21-Oct-13 06:54:01

Not sure about British expats, but based on English families I knew living in Scotland and the USA, I would agree. English parents seem to tell their children not to lose their accents and reinforce this strongly as so many children of English parents I knew retained their parents' accents and pronunciation despite having grown up in Scotland / the US. I find that very odd and almost hostile to the local environment as they're going out of their way not to blend in.

It does annoy me too here in the US when I meet people from my home country who just live in their own ghettoes and never befriend or get to know Americans. I just think, why bother living here at all?

Lots of people move countries for economic opportunities of course but you would think they would try to aim for a country that they have some cultural affinity with so they'll be happy to integrate.

I like most aspects of American culture and have no problems integrating. I would not, on the other hand, feel at home in a country like Saudi Arabia due to their different cultural values so I would never choose to live there, regardless of what economic opportunities there might be.

redshifter Mon 21-Oct-13 08:15:27

I have heard the word 'Brit' used in a very derogatory and offensive and even racist way, many, many times in many places.
While growing up, I lived in another country for a few years. I was called a 'dirty Brit' daily, sometimes while being spat on and/or kicked.
Sometimes this same thing happened to me even in the U.K.

Fabsmum Mon 21-Oct-13 08:26:09

I lived in expat communities abroad for my first 18 years. British people are notoriously shit at integrating IME.

ginslinger Mon 21-Oct-13 08:27:36

I have lived in Germany for 30 years and speak perfect German and my DCs went to school locally, I'm married to a German and as integrated as they come. But, do you know what? Sometimes I really like to sit and drink tetley tea, eat digestives, listen to the Archers and speak English with other English people because they 'get' me in a way that is entirely different to how my German friends get me. If you saw me on a day when I'm doing that you'd doubtless be tutting and sucking your teeth about my failure to integrate.

ethelb Mon 21-Oct-13 08:29:33

Do you live in an area with a high number of immigrants who dont speak english?

ILoveAFullFridge Mon 21-Oct-13 08:49:22

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.

So it's a bit naive to complain bitterly about failure to integrate without giving the communities time to do so.

It is very difficult for an adult to master living in a new country. For all you know, they may have made a huge effort to learn English, say, but are afraid to use it for fear if being mocked when they do. I don't think it's directly comparable to an Emglish-speaker trying to speak another language.

Perhaps it's because I'm a 1st generation immigrant, but I love the diversity that immigration brings. Yes, immigrants should attorney to integrate into their new country, but equally they should be able to retain their source identity. The English language is the most marvellous melting-pot of languages. Where would we be if we had not absorbed, integrated and adopted other languages and usages?

thegreylady Mon 21-Oct-13 08:55:40

My son lives in Turkey. He went not knowing a word of Turkish now he is completely fluent. His wife and her sister speak fluent English though they do not want to live here. They are all graduates and able to apply the skills of learning a language. It isn't so easy especially for older people who have often been 'brought' here rather than chosen.
Learning a language needs a real will and desire to learn.

thanksamillion Mon 21-Oct-13 09:20:04

I have a lot of sympathy with immigrants who struggle to learn English. It's so very hard to learn a new language as an adult, especially one which may be linguistically a long way from your mother tongue.

I've lived abroad for 6 years and despite being fairly well educated, having access to lots of resources (although not actual lessons) and having reached the point of mostly being fairly fluent there are still days when I can't string two sentences together, there are still times when I don't fully understand the messages from the DCs teachers and there are still times when all I want to do it sit down and chat to someone in English.

Functioning in another language all the time is exhausting and at times demoralising. I'm not saying that immigrants shouldn't make an effort, just that it might be more of an effort than some people appreciate.

BurberryQ Mon 21-Oct-13 09:25:48

BTW - I do not particularly appreciate being called a 'Brit' and having sweeping generalisations made about me.
Just think if someone did this with any other national group the OP and her ilk would be whining about 'racism'.

ginslinger, I am in the opposite position to you (German, lived in the UK for 20 year, married to a Brit) and like you consider myself as integrated as they come.
I still 'import' Caro Caffee from home, make my own bread because I never got used to what goes for 'bread' in the UK wink, my Christmas decorations are German etc etc. I think of those things as mere 'embellishments' to what is otherwise a very British life as I am sure your life will look v German from the outside.

I marvel at people coming from the other side of the world, from totally different cultures/religions/languages/history and even managing AT ALL to get on with things here when I still, having come from another Western European country, come up against things I find 'strange' after all these years living here.

thanksamillion, I v much agree with your here: I'm not saying that immigrants shouldn't make an effort, just that it might be more of an effort than some people appreciate.

BurberryQ Mon 21-Oct-13 09:27:45

please could people stop using the word 'BRIT' it is offensive. Thanks.

I crossposted with you, Burberry. My DH will describe himself as a Brit, but I can stop using it, no bother.

BurberryQ Mon 21-Oct-13 09:32:23

yes do please, many people find it offensive.

OneLittleToddleTerror Mon 21-Oct-13 09:35:16

DH and I are from NZ. His parents are from the midlands and 30 years on, they still mingle with mainly British expats. That says it all really.

You don't need to have a language barrier to find it easier to be friends with people that shares a common culture with you.

I don't think people appreciates how hard it is to be an immigrant until they become one themselves.

BurberryQ Mon 21-Oct-13 09:45:11

Being an immigrant is really really hard, perhaps people do not realise that.

I have met some right ignorant English people down in Spain who are almost proud of their refusal to learn the language, in their horrid little enclaves, on the other hand I met others who spoke brilliant Spanish and were reading Cervantes in the original.....and with lots of Spanish friends.

Sadly as with everything it is the 'bad' that gets noticed and commented on not the 'good'.

ChunkyPickle Mon 21-Oct-13 09:47:08

OneLittleToddleTerror - exactly - I think that until you've had to do it, you don't realise the problems.

People have trouble making new friends just moving to a different town - now imagine moving country, not speaking the language (although even if you do the same applies), being obviously foreign, moving to a place where everyone who's from there already has friends and family. Of course you end up socializing with the other people like you (ie expats - be they from your country or some other).

I absolutely don't blame temporary migrants for living like that, or even permanent migrants - I think what's inexcusable is permanent migrants restricting their children.

babybarrister Mon 21-Oct-13 09:55:33

Yanbu - my inlaws are the same...

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 10:04:49

Britain is such a wide church when it comes to culture/nationalities etc. 'Brit' is shorthand and not usually used in a nice way!

WallyBantersJunkBox Mon 21-Oct-13 10:07:09

thanksamillion and ginslinger you have absolutely nailed it.

I live overseas and had every intention of learning the language fluently. However I also work a 12 hour day in an Rnglish speaking global office and have to travel all over Europe for many weeks of the year. My DC is fluent as he is in bi-lingual school and my husband speaks the language from a previous life. But it is hard, really hard.

Also it was our decision to take this adventure and not my DC's so it's important that he keeps up all his original language skills and cultural elements.

I know a lot more than I probably did when I came, however people judge you instantaneously. So when we had to rush my DC to hospital in the first few weeks of being here we weren't really in a great state of mind to get out our text books and practice fluency of medical conditions and thank god the doctor had spent some time in the UK. But yes we got filthly looks and mumblings of Auslander in the waiting room so hopefully that makes everyone feel better.

You really have to walk a mile in another man's shoes before you can comment objectively. I certainly look at "immigrants" (and isn't it strange how folks who move to the UK are immigrants but British people are ex-pats) in the UK in a very sympathetic and understanding light. But then I always did.

ginslinger Mon 21-Oct-13 10:08:06

PacificDogwood: I feel your pain re the bread - in my case it's finding decent tea grin

ginslinger Mon 21-Oct-13 10:13:27

WallyBanter - it is much easier to integrate when you are married into the new culture because I had a ready made family and friends and so I got to practise my German all the time and I had people to explain the different cultural things to me. It's much less easy to emigrate as a 'family' because your default position is to speak your own language at home, you will find it difficult to make friends with people until you speak their language and you won't learn their language until you make friends to speak it with. And so it goes on.
People who complain about the failure of 'immigrants' to learn english really burns my toast because it's damned difficult if you only have classes to learn in. You only learn the basics but not the real stuff.

nicename Mon 21-Oct-13 10:14:09

When we lived in the east end there were plenty of second generation women who spoke very little english. They worked in the family shops of Brick Lane and surrounds and just rubbed along ok. I found that quite sad really and quite suprising.

My dad did his national service in italy. He came back speaking italian and with a love of italian food, art, wine and culture. He didn't need to learn italian but decided that since he was there, he'd integrate and get the mosyt out of his posting. He said 'when you need to, to just do' with reference to learning a language - where he was few spoke english.

WallyBantersJunkBox Mon 21-Oct-13 10:21:57

I totally agree and we have wonderful, wonderful neighbours who really want us to get involved culturally in the things that happen in the village - carnivals, fireworks etc and are super patient with my language skills. I wonder if neighborhoods in the UK extend the same hand?

On the other side I have made Christmas pudding vodka for my neighbours in the past (followed by Christmas pudding as they didn't know what it was either) mince pies and scones. As soon as parents come for a pick up after a play date they ask for a proper British cup of tea.

My husbands skills have helped enormously and we are forever "ruined" as we won't fit anywhere - if we move to the UK the bread, brezels, wurst and festivities will be really sadly missed.

redpipe Mon 21-Oct-13 20:09:40

BlueberryQ and Spirulina

Brit is not offensive. It is also nothing similar to using the word Paki.

We have the BRIT awards, even the Classic BRITS at the royal albert hall. We even have a school called The BRIT school fostering musical talent such as Adele et al.

It is not in the least bit comparable in any way.

notthefirstagainstthewall Mon 21-Oct-13 20:25:50

I'm not sure the real issue is integration. The Chinese community are often living side by side without much integration (to the point of having an area known as China Town as a tourist attraction. Can you imagine the cries of racist if there was a area called Pakistan Park or something?

I think it depends on both the host country and the immigrants. Neighbouring countries are often the worse to integrate into.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 21-Oct-13 20:50:14

Burberry - why do you see Brit as being offensive?

I don't consider myself British first and foremost but I still am British.

ImAFrequentNameChanger Mon 21-Oct-13 20:51:12

Brit is not offensive. It is also nothing similar to using the word Paki.

It depends on what country you're in. Where we live we have 'Brit Superstore', 'Paki Internet' and 'Chino Bazaars' That's what the shops have on the signs, none are considered offensive. We do live in a very multicultural and free and easy going non racist city (not in England).

I met a Pakistani guy the other day and when we were talking I asked him what he did and he told me he owned and ran a 'Paki locutorio' (an internet/phone/photocopy shop)

BurberryQ Tue 22-Oct-13 09:04:22

personally i find 'Brit' offensive because I have heard it used offensively so many times, but i guess that is just my personal experience and where I have spent time in my life.

Imafrequentnamechanger - if you really think that you are living in a a very multicultural and free and easy going non racist city (not in England I suggest you ask the Ecuadoreans and Morroccans if they agree with you.

GrandstandingBlueTit Tue 22-Oct-13 09:16:58

I don't disagree with you OP, but, there's another side to the story...

I'm sure there are plenty of immigrants who would love nothing more than to integrate, but who get frozen out at the school gate, coolly ignored, DC not invited on play dates, not included in the works drinks, etc, etc, yada, yada.

Brits expect people to just get on and integrate, and yet do absolutely nothing to foster that integration...

BurberryQ Tue 22-Oct-13 09:24:10

that is soooo true Grandstandingbluetit - see the mum in the headscarf sitting on her own at school pick up time every day, while the 'alpha mums' sweep past her to exchange their gossip? she is the one who gets slagged off for not 'integrating'.

BlingBang Tue 22-Oct-13 14:31:50

Expats are different from immigrants. Often moving in and out of countries for a few years. They are not generally putting down roots for good so it's not surprising they often mix with other expats (often different nationalities, not just Brits) or become fluent in the language, also many other cou tries would never really accept them anyway - they would always be 'other'.

We are considering moving to Spain. If we go I will make an attempt to speak the language, have Spanish friends etc but the kids will go to an internatinal school and we probably will mix with other expats as it can be very hard to integrate and we probably won't be there for ever.

ImAFrequentNameChanger Tue 22-Oct-13 14:55:57

BurberryQ Why? I don't live in Morocco or Ecuador and don't know any here so not sure why I should seek out some to ask them.

BurberryQ Tue 22-Oct-13 15:05:36

no you live in Spain obviously ........just they might not agree with your view of your lovely non racist city that is all. never mind.

mijas99 Tue 22-Oct-13 15:12:36

I've met British people on the Costa Del Sol who told me that their main reason for moving to Spain was to get away from all the bloody foreigners (seriously)

The segregation in areas like the Costa Del Sol is absolutely shocking and is down to British people not wanting to speak Spanish or to live in Spanish society at all, they just want a British life in the sun. It makes me ashamed to be British

ImAFrequentNameChanger Tue 22-Oct-13 15:28:38

We've lived here for 4.5 years and both speak fluent Spanish and are well integrated. The DC go to an international school and also speak and learn in Spanish, 60% of the children in their school are Spanish with the other 40% being from all different nationalities. DH works in a Spanish company. Here I'm friends with lots of people from all over the world and many Spanish people, and they (the Spanish included) say it's one of the things they love about the city so I don't think I'm wrong. Of course there will always be a few but none I've come across, except the tourists who have a moan loudly about 'The fucking Spanish, why can't they speak English' when they are in shops and bars.

When we have visited England I find the level of casual racism shocking and sad. It's one of the many reasons why we will never move back there.

mijas99 Tue 22-Oct-13 15:41:00


If you live in a Spanish city then that is a very different environment to the British expat ghettos where sometimes you can struggle to hear a word of Spanish spoken

I live in Asturias and I'm the only British person I know. When I lived in the South I didnt know any British people who spoke enough Spanish to have even have a conversation. Many of their kids even dropped out of school because they couldnt understand the teachers. It was absolutely shocking

WallyBantersJunkBox Tue 22-Oct-13 23:26:08

Nope the people I meet at DS school who are British, or from the US describe themselves as Ex-pats even though it's a permanent move. My colleague describes herself as an Ex-pat even though she was born in Malaysia, grew up there for 25 years and her parents own an apartment there for over 30 years.

Our lifestyles aren't transient in the same respect as Saudi workers and yet there are Ex-pat expos, clubs etc.

As far as I am aware we don't know the status of every single person who had moved to the UK (and may have every intention of having an adventure, learning a language and going home) but from what I can see they are generally classed as immigrants.

vichill Wed 23-Oct-13 00:05:22

A bit unreasonable. Ex pats in Spain are basically on a very long holiday till they die and iimmigrants to the uk are often economic migrants who need to integrate on a different level. Some gobshite Brit asking for "two beers por favor" is different than going into a McDonald's and not being understood by the non English speaking staff.

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 23-Oct-13 00:40:08

No, I was just expressing examples of life day to day I see as an immigrant myself. I see people from the UK/US working in the country I live in, applying for residency and doing nothing to integrate into the community or learn the language because, well "most people speak English these days, don't they..?"

We even received a letter last week asking if all children wanted to take a Thanskgiving holiday due to a large number of requests from US parents. This is not an American school, or a British school!

And I'm assuming those people working at the counter in McDonalds that you quote would have had to pass an interview of some sort? And it wouldn't be in Polish, or Bulgarian or whatever? You cannot know the back story to every non UK person who comes to the UK, surely? When they arrived and how long they have been learning English?

What better way to learn than by customer interface? All it takes is a little patience from both sides. At least they are putting themselves into the position of trying to learn by working in an English environment. I wish I had the guts to be frank. I'm still struggling with apps and tutorials when I can.

MistressDeeCee Wed 23-Oct-13 01:50:18

Where Im from there are many British living there and no, they dont learn the language or mix with the locals really, many tend to live on gated estates..the tourist ones stay in their all inclusive & I guess, never come out. Its as if they want British lifestyle in the sun. Thats what I see and know so yes I believe just as much as some immigrants dont integrate into UK life, there are British who also dont assimilate when they live & work abroad. So Im always hmm when I hear convo about immigrants not being part of UK life.

BlingBang Wed 23-Oct-13 09:55:23

The MCDonads/KFC down our way all seem to be run by either Polish or Asian workers. I wouldn't be surprised if any interviews weren't in English. But yes, at least this kind of job will help them learn English, if they are on the tills and not just working behind the scenes.

I was an expat for a few years and it is a two way street often. We had many expat friends, many Brits and many expats from elsewhere. Also had some local friends but as the wife looking after the kids and the kids going to international schools - it is hard to integrate with a local population who often don't really have the time or inclination to make transient friends outside their own family group and friends.

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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