View previous topic | View next topic

Series H, Episode 11 - English as an official language

Page 1 of 1

marktaylorgrampound
1375851.  Sun Feb 28, 2021 11:45 am Reply with quote

In Series H (just seen again on DAVE!), it is stated that English is not the official language of England.
However, a Cornish Bride was recently refused permission to have her ceremony in Cornish - under the 1949 marriage act, the ceremony must be conducted in English. There may be no statute or Act deeming English to be the official language but there are plenty of laws stipulating that English has to be used (this is just one example), which I think show that English is the Official Language in Law in England.
Incidentally, the aggrieved Bride could have had the ceremony in Cornish if she went to Scotland for it!
see https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/bride-cross-cant-legally-marry-5048609

 
suze
1375857.  Sun Feb 28, 2021 12:50 pm Reply with quote

I think there is a non sequitur in your argument.

The Marriage Act 1949, referred to in the linked piece, applies to England and Wales. As noted, Scotland makes its own rules and they are different.

§44(3) of the Act sets out the required form of words, and those words are in English.

§52 goes on to state that Welsh may be used instead of English in Wales or "any place in which the Welsh language is commonly used", and that registrars will be provided with the proper form of words in Welsh. Outside Wales, you might be lucky and get that to fly in Oswestry, but probably not anywhere else.

But the words are in English, they are not in the official language. If Parliament had chosen to set out the required form of words in Albanian, then it would be Albanian that was required at weddings.

There is at least one instance under English law where French and not English is mandated. When the sovereign is asked to give Royal Assent to new Acts of Parliament, she does it in French and not in English. I don't really know why, but "that's how it's always been done". But this doesn't mean that French is the official language of England, just that this particular bit is done in French because it is.

There seem to me to be two ways forward if we want weddings in Kernowek. For one, there is a legal argument that Cornwall is not part of England, and that Acts of the Westminster Parliament therefore do not apply. That argument was used successfully at St Austell Magistrates Court as recently as 1978 (reported in The Times, 16 Jun 1978), but it may be that the matter before the bench was fairly trivial in any case, and the magistrates chose to accept a novel defence rather than have a long trial with lawyers arguing about 16th century charters.

As less of a long shot, campaign for Cornish to be given similar special rights as Welsh has under the Act. The problem here, though, is that you might struggle to identify "any place in which the Cornish language is commonly used" for the simple reason that there isn't one.

 
Brock
1375860.  Sun Feb 28, 2021 1:30 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:

There is at least one instance under English law where French and not English is mandated. When the sovereign is asked to give Royal Assent to new Acts of Parliament, she does it in French and not in English.


Norman French to be precise. The Queen doesn't actually do it herself: it's the Clerk of the Parliaments. Usually the formula is "La Reyne le veult", although for personal Acts it's "Soit fait comme il est désiré", and for certain financial measures it's "La Reyne remercie ses bons sujets, accepte leur benevolence, et ainsi le veult".

Quote:
I don't really know why, but "that's how it's always been done".


It does appear to be a hangover from the time when all Parliamentary business was conducted in French, which hasn't been the case since 1488. During the Protectorate, assent was given in English, but the use of French was reinstated after the Restoration. The Lords passed a bill in 1706 for "abolishing the use of the French tongue in all proceedings in Parliament and courts of justice", but it failed to get through the Commons. No one's tried to abolish it since then.

Quote:
But this doesn't mean that French is the official language of England, just that this particular bit is done in French because it is.


I did once come across someone who argued that Norman French was the official language of England, for that very reason!

 
marktaylorgrampound
1376699.  Fri Mar 12, 2021 10:33 am Reply with quote

Hi Suze and Brock,
Thank you for your comments and, obviously, I don't disagree with any of them.
However, from my recollection, the program stated that parliament had never stipulated what the official language is. My point is that parliament has, either under specific laws or by long term usage, stipulated what language(s) must be used in multiple circumstances and, my suspicion is that wherever parliament has to pass legislation specifying what language must be used, it stipulates English (with exceptions for Welsh).
I believe the program was overstating the fact that there is no official language of England. I feel can only be justified by showing examples where a language other than English can be used ON ITS' OWN in official matters.
To me, it is over and over again mandating that English is the official language of England rather than setting it in out in a single act of parliament or statute, as other countries have done.

 
crissdee
1376716.  Fri Mar 12, 2021 2:01 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
As less of a long shot, campaign for Cornish to be given similar special rights as Welsh has under the Act. The problem here, though, is that you might struggle to identify "any place in which the Cornish language is commonly used" for the simple reason that there isn't one.


Does that not depend on the the definition of the word "place". If there was a large community hall, licensed for weddings, which also hosted regular lessons in Kernowek, could it not be argued that the language was commonly used there?

And how does the form of marriage affect my very real desire, should I ever marry, to have the ceremony conducted upon these lines?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4OpNWjaI5w

 

Page 1 of 1

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group