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How many Languages are Spoken in Britain? September 26, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism.
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Nobody really knows, but its definitely more than the 300 sometimes quoted for London or for UK Schools. The question of main language was introduced for the first time in 2011 census and reported languages in over 100 classifications.

The Census in Scotland identified 178 classifications spoken by more than ten respondents  in addition to 1,921 speakers of “Other languages”.

It should be noted that the census was not attempting to capture the full range of languages spoken by people but rather identifying additional languages needed in order to supply services.

The “300” languages for London dated back to at least 1999 (the earliest public article I could find) when the Independent reported on London: multilingual capital of the world

“Most reports into the number of languages spoken in London are based on research carried out in 1993 by the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. This research estimated that 275 languages were regularly spoken within the capital. However The Independent has learnt that new research, due to be published later this year, will reveal a total that is closer to 300.” – Andrew Buncombe , Monday 29 March 1999

So has the real number of languages increased since then? Yes, but know one knows by how much, at least not yet. Following an article I saw in 2015 about over 300 languages being used in schools I obtained a list of what they actually were and also discovered that because it’s hard to keep track of all the languages in the world the survey has a list of 320 languages and categories against which to check them. So there are still quite a number that get bundled together or listed as ‘other’.

Added to this the question doesn’t ask about all the languages spoken at home, so when people speak several they may sometimes just mention the most prestigious one.

Stay tuned. I still don’t have the answer but I have more reasons why I know the existing one is an underestimate and clues as to where to find some of the languages that may be missing from the lists.

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Ten reasons for a more multilingual church August 30, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism.
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Jesus calls us to care for the 1% as well as the 99%

Language can divisive, but it can also open doors, and open ears, and open hearts. Multilingualism isn’t just about the fact that there are many languages spoken in our communities. It isn’t just a matter of justice, representation, inclusion, identity, clear communication and joyful celebration. It’s all of those and more.

I recently attended a church in a town where (according to the last census) 97.9% of people speak English as their first language. The church had a multilingual welcome sign and had been running some international cafe’s to help a small number of people feel a little more more connected. However diverse your local community and your church congregation is here are 10 reasons why you might want to take a few steps to help your church be a little more multilingual.

  1. Because that’s what heaven will sound like –  Scripture says so, and says so in 3000+ languages.
  2. Because that’s what earth sounds like – 7000+ languages – 2000+ available on your phone.
  3. Because that’s what your community sounds like – how many languages are spoken in your local community?
  4. Because that’s not what the church usually sounds like – Sadly it was said over 50 years ago that 11-12 on a Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America, the same may be true now and to too large an extent in the UK and many other countries.
  5. Because language is more than a barrier – when you can’t understand what is being said then language is obviously a barrier, but what if you can understand? Does every language you speak touch you quite as deep as the language (or languages) you use at home. Language isn’t just a barrier, it’s a bridge, or even a key into different parts of people lives.
  6. Because God must speak into every part of our lives – some people who speak multiple languages speak different ones at home, in work, in church, in school, and in other situations. Do some compartmentalise? This may suggest you shouldn’t  only hear about (or be able to talk about) God in the language(s) you speak at home. 
  7. Because unity isn’t about uniformity – if only we all spoke the same language, if only we all thought the same way, if only we all voted the same way, and nobody ever disagreed… just imagine what we could achieve? (are any of you picturing a tower that extends up to the heavens). We are as Christian called to live together in unity, but what unites us is Christ, one Lord, not one language.
  8. Because our language(s) are part of our identity – we need to not overstate it but we need to recognise it our languages are part of identity, It’s one of the reasons why having a national language has been seen as important to nation building, and why eradicating other languages has been part of the strategy of some regimes. But it’s possible to have national and local identity. I’m British, and English, and a midlander.  (did I mention I’m also Canadian). More than all of these I’m Christian.
  9. Because it signals that those of us who have oppressed others are sorry – The majority/dominant cultures have done a lot to stifle and silence other languages, and to oppress other cultures. In the UK the English have done much to eradicate the languages of our own ‘United Kingdom’, and when ‘we’ had an Empire we saw it as our job to use language as part of our dominance and control.
  10. Because it’s beautiful – The lungs add the volume, the throat and mouth control the sounds but worship comes from the heart (or in some translations from the liver). My ears aren’t tuned and trained to appreciate everything as God does, but there is no voice and no language in which the praise of God from a sincere heart is not beautiful.

Stay tuned for more and add your voice using the hashtag #multilingualchurch

Welcome in 250 languages August 5, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism.
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Would you like a free customisable welcome slide/poster for your church or event? The graphic below shows a small selection of words and phrases used to welcome people.

The list was compiled by Simon Ager at omniglot.com/language/phrases/welcome.htm and according to his copyright page “If you would like to use the material for personal, educational or non-commercial purposes you’re welcome to do so. Don’t forget to mention where it came from.”

I took a selection and put them into a powerpoint slide (now shared but without the Bitmoji cartoon version of me) , making it easy for others to adapt, changing colours and styles or adding and subtracting languages according to the languages used in your community or church.

Be aware that some computers and software might not display the fonts correctly and it is usually best to save the slide as a graphic before displaying it in your church and to ask people to tell you both if anything is wrong and to ask if any of their languages are missing and could be added!

Direct ‘word for word’ translations can sometimes be a challenge because language doesn’t work quite like that and what you type into Google translate (amazing as it is) won’t always give you what you want.

Some languages will use a different greeting depending on how many people are being greeted, what gender(s) they are, what age or status they are, and who you are. Even in English there are a range of greetings used according to the context. (Never say ‘hi’ to the queen!)

Omniglot uses a helpful notation to indicate some of the uses
sg = singular (said to one person), pl = plural (said to more than one person), inf = informal, frm = formal, m = male (said by males), f = female (said by females), >m = said to males, >f said to females.

The context I am looking for in my multilingual welcome sign is that of welcoming people into a British church so I’m guessing plural formal is often the best option. If you speak any of the languages above let me know if we’ve got the right phrase.

Does your Church Website link to an Online Bible? June 25, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in Bible Translation, multilingualism.
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If you think the Bible is important it would make sense that your church website lets people know how to find one online.

The Bible is available online in a lot of languages with 2001 versions in over 1350 languages on Bible.com (updated (October 2019) and a similar number but slightly different mix on Bible.is), but a lot of people don’t know that until someone shows them.

Many people around the world speak multiple languages may benefit from accessing the Bible in more than one. This is often not just a matter of understanding but also of identity.

Depending on what type of web hosting you have you may be able to embed online bibles and other resources directly into your site but any church or personal website or blog site can link to online Bibles.

Bible.com is the Web version of the YouVersion Bible app

You can also link directly to any of the 2000+ versions, or to one of the 50+ interface languages for the site eg Welsh, Spanish, Arabic, French. For more details see How to add YouVersion to your website . You Version also provides a Kids Bibles app in a smaller but growing number of languages.

Bible.is from Faith Comes By Hearing

Bible.is specialises in providing great recordings of scripture and the Jesus Film but they usually provide the text too! You can filter by country, language and version to find the ones you are looking for, and perhaps some you didn’t know were available! A new feature is the inclusion of filmed versions of each of the four gospels being rolled out over an increasing number of languages.

There are a lot of other options to choose from and a good number of great websites and tools. Which is one reason why I created 1000bibles.wordpress.com a simple website to point people to a few.

For example, Biblia has a wide range of plugins including Verse of the Day, Reference tagger, a Bible Search Box, and an Embedded bible with a choice of versions in English and a few other major languages. You can customize the size of the box, what version you start with and several other features.

Over 500 versions and 400 languages are offered by http://webtools.bible. You can customise their widget to just include the languages and versions of your choice (but it might be an idea to link to the full collection. A simple workthrough provides to code you need for your site but once again you need a host that allows you to add scripts (my free site doesn’t)

<script id="bw-widget-src" src="//bibles.org/widget/client"&gt;</script&gt;
<script&gt;
BIBLESEARCH.widget({
	"background": "F19317",
	"selected": "eng-ESVUK16",
	"versions": "eng-ESVUK16,eng-NLT,hwc-HWCNT"
});
</script&gt;

So there you are. A few simple ways in which you, your friends, and your church website could link to a free online Bible. There are languages in which scripture isn’t online yet and languages in which translation is ongoing or needed. Supporting Wycliffe and other translation organisations (and those of us in them) can help fill the gaps. Telling people about what is already available via a simple web link or social media share can make a difference too.

Global(ised) Worship June 3, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism, worship.
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83 widely translated Worship Songs

Each of the songs below has been translated into at least 10 languages with the translations available on www.weareworship.com . To find exactly which languages click on the links. Sometimes using the translated song title or first line may find a recording on YouTube and one song may lead you to a whole playlist of songs you already love, and songs that you’ve never heard.

These 83 songs represent contributions from 54 different songwriters most writing in English and having global reach. While it is good that these songs can be sung in many languages it is also good to recognise that around the world songs are sung in hundreds and one day thousands of languages each with its own distinct style and unique expression.

Over 1300 of the nearly 8000 songs listed have been translated into at least one other language (not counting UK and USA English as separate). with 360 being available in 4 or more languages.

(There are a wide range of other sites and tools for Multilingual worship which I’ll link to in another post soon.)

CCLI Title Written By Languages
4847027 HAPPY DAY Written by: Ben Cantelon, Tim Hughes 18
5340815 ALL TO YOU Written by: Neil Bennetts, Eoghan Heaslip 11
5376377 YOU ALONE CAN RESCUE Written by: Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman 12
5557062 OUR HEARTS ARE BREATHING IN (THE MORE WE SEE) Written by: Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin 11
5120176 HALLELUJAH Written by: Ben Cantelon 11
5109647 THERE IS A HOPE Written by: Mark Edwards, Stuart Townend 11
5003372 BEHOLD THE LAMB (COMMUNION HYMN) Written by: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend 11
5469291 BY FAITH Written by: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend 11
4779872 HOLY SPIRIT LIVING BREATHE OF GOD Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 12
2646732 WE’RE GOING TO SING LIKE THE SAVED (SING LIKE THE SAVED) Written by: Matt Redman 11
4706948 GLORY AND HONOUR TO YOU WE BRING Written by: Doug Horley 11
4674166 YOU NEVER LET GO Written by: Beth Redman, Matt Redman 15
5828478 WORTHY Written by: Ben Cantelon, Becky Drake, Nick J Drake 11
5677416 OUR GOD Written by: Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin 18
6016351 10,000 REASONS Written by: Matt Redman, Jonas Myrin 27
6186078 BUILD YOUR KINGDOM HERE Written by: Rend Collective 13
5942543 AT YOUR NAME Written by: Tim Hughes, Phil Wickham 12
3111376 AMAZING GRACE Written by: Nathan Fellingham, John Newton 11
4642105 EVERY PROMISE Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 11
4685258 EVERYTHING Written by: Tim Hughes 13
4556538 EVERLASTING GOD Written by: Brenton Brown, Ken Riley 23
4615235 SPEAK O LORD Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 15
4610917 BENEATH THE CROSS Written by: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty 11
4611992 O CHURCH ARISE (PUT YOUR ARMOUR ON) Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 12
4506980 BENEDICTION Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 12
4490766 THE POWER OF THE CROSS Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 18
4329411 NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD Written by: Matt Redman 14
78275 YOU LAID ASIDE YOUR MAJESTY Written by: Noel Richards 13
3915912 BEAUTIFUL ONE Written by: Tim Hughes 19
2296522 THE HEART OF WORSHIP Written by: Matt Redman 21
1033408 WE WANT TO SEE JESUS LIFTED HIGH Written by: Doug Horley 15
2106499 WE BOW DOWN Written by: Viola Grafstrom 12
3818569 CONSUMING FIRE Written by: Tim Hughes 14
1585970 PSALM 23 Written by: Stuart Townend 13
1108735 LORD YOU HAVE MY HEART Written by: Martin Smith 16
3266032 HERE I AM TO WORSHIP Written by: Tim Hughes 29
1545484 JESUS LOVER OF MY SOUL (IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU) Written by: Paul Oakley 11
48119 JESUS PUT THIS SONG INTO OUR HEARTS Written by: Graham Kendrick 12
1564362 ONCE AGAIN Written by: Matt Redman 16
1083764 I WILL OFFER UP MY LIFE Written by: Matt Redman 15
2430979 LET EVERYTHING THAT HAS BREATH Written by: Matt Redman 11
37845 LORD JESUS WE ENTHRONE YOU Written by: Paul Kyle 13
1097451 BETTER IS ONE DAY Written by: Matt Redman 14
1558110 HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US Written by: Stuart Townend 24
1540719 HOLY HOLY (LIFT UP HIS NAME) Written by: Nathan Fellingham 11
78897 THE SERVANT KING Written by: Graham Kendrick 12
58202 FATHER GOD I WONDER (I WILL SING YOUR PRAISES) Written by: Ian Smale 13
3798438 BLESSED BE YOUR NAME Written by: Beth Redman, Matt Redman 23
120824 BE STILL Written by: David J Evans 13
2492216 BEAUTIFUL SAVIOUR Written by: Stuart Townend 14
120556 ALL HEAVEN DECLARES Written by: Noel Richards, Tricia Richards 15
38686 ABBA FATHER Written by: Dave Bilbrough 11
4108797 RESURRECTION HYMN (SEE WHAT A MORNING) Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 13
5232617 COME PEOPLE OF THE RISEN KING Written by: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend 15
5146473 AND CAN IT BE Written by: Chris Eaton, John Hartley, Gareth Robinson 11
5925663 WAITING HERE FOR YOU Written by: Jesse Reeves, Martin Smith, Chris Tomlin 12
7002032 MY LIGHTHOUSE Written by: Rend Collective 12
5037070 GOD OF THIS CITY Written by: Richard Bleakley, Aaron Boyd, Peter Comfort, Ian Jordan, Peter Kernoghan, Andrew McCann 12
4662491 HOSANNA (PRAISE IS RISING) Written by: Brenton Brown, Paul Baloche 15
7038281 THE LION AND THE LAMB Written by: Brenton Brown, Leeland Mooring, Brian Johnson 12
3350395 IN CHRIST ALONE Written by: Keith Getty, Stuart Townend 26
2298355 OPEN THE EYES OF MY HEART Written by: Paul Baloche 17
20285 GIVE THANKS WITH A GRATEFUL HEART Written by: Henry Smith 17
798108 BLESSING AND HONOUR (ANCIENT OF DAYS) Written by: Jamie Harvill, Gary Sadler 11
674545 THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU Written by: Lenny LeBlanc 13
190579 ONLY BY GRACE Written by: Gerrit Gustafson 14
16347 WHEN I LOOK INTO YOUR HOLINESS Written by: Cathy Perrin, Wayne Perrin 11
6460220 GREAT ARE YOU LORD Written by: Leslie Jordan, David Leonard, Jason Ingram 13
4447960 REVELATION SONG Written by: Jennie Lee Riddle 16
3540703 JESUS HOPE OF THE NATIONS (HOPE OF THE NATIONS) Written by: Brian Doerksen 11
4219071 HERE I AM (MAJESTY) Written by: Stuart Garrard, Martin Smith 14
2672885 ABOVE ALL Written by: Lenny LeBlanc, Paul Baloche 19
879168 JESUS ALL FOR JESUS Written by: Jennifer Atkinson, Robin Mark 12
4403076 INDESCRIBABLE Written by: Jesse Reeves, Laura Story 16
4348399 HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD Written by: Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin 21
2456623 YOU ARE MY KING (AMAZING LOVE) Written by: Billy J Foote 11
3148428 FOREVER Written by: Chris Tomlin 19
4158039 HOLY IS THE LORD Written by: Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin 11
6454621 VICTOR’S CROWN Written by: Israel Houghton, Kari Jobe, Darlene Zschech 11
6367165 WE BELIEVE Written by: Richie Fike, Matthew Hooper, Travis Ryan 12
14181 HOW GREAT THOU ART Written by: Stuart K Hine 22
1043199 I COULD SING OF YOUR LOVE FOREVER Written by: Martin Smith 11
6115180 JESUS AT THE CENTRE Written by: Israel Houghton, Adam Ranney, Micah Massey 11

*Counts of languages from early 2019.

Five ways to use other languages (a bit) in your church June 1, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism, worship.
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How many languages will be heard in and from your church this Pentecost?

Do you know how many languages are spoken by the members of your church? (it could be a good time to find out)
Do you know how many languages are spoken in your local community? (it may be more than you think)
And even if everyone can understand English (or the language used most in your church) is that their only or their preferred language? Would people welcome hearing and using the other languages they speak on a daily basis at home and in their community?

That’s part of what I am currently looking at for my MA dissertation and for a paper I will present in July as part of the London School of Theology’s one day conference “Sounds of Heaven and Earth“.

I’m exploring a lot of the ways churches are or could be using languages other than English as part of their services and outreach. Here are just five very simple ideas.

  1. A multilingual welcome sign, plus other signs and posters.
    With text projected on the screen, used into printed notices, and used on the walls in various parts of the church buildings it is easy to add content in a few more languages. (Translations of Bible verses easily available using Bible.com but verse numbers are sometimes mid sentence and in some translations verse numbers vary. You can double check with speakers of the language or for languages covered by Google you can translate the verse back into English for confirmation)
  2. Saying “the grace” or a blessing in other languages
    Saying ‘the grace’ to one another’ seems to be the only bit of liturgy my own church uses but there are many other options of single verse greeting.
    “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”  Cor 13:14 NIV
    You can put a few others on the screen or just invite people to say it in their own language.
  3. Playing familiar worship songs in other languages.
    Many of the songs you sing are already available in other languages. Whether or not you sing (or play them) in other languages you can add the lyrics on the screen in another language.
    I’ve compiled a list of 83 worship songs that are each available in 10 or more languages (available soon). Over 1300 of the nearly 8000 songs listed at https://www.weareworship.com/ have been translated into at least one other language with 360 being available in 4 or more languages.
    Be aware that versions in other languages are often not direct translations.
  4. Introduce songs with a verse of scripture in the languages spoken in your community.
    Simply display translations of a Bible verse that introduces the theme or is directly quoted in a song. eg 10,000 Reasons starts with and takes several phrases from Psalm 103 .
  5. Introduce worship songs from another language and culture
    Newcomers may appreciate songs that are not only in their preferred languages but also in their preferred musical styles. If you want a mostly English congregation to join in singing in a language they don’t speak pick something simple or just teach one line of the chorus. Sing the song, explain the significance.
    Some songs available at worshipleaderapp.com and https://songs2serve.nl, http://hmworship.com has songs in Latvian, English, Ukranian, Russian, Turkish, and Estonian. Also see twonineteen.org.uk/multicultural-worship-top-tips/

I could add other ideas but so can you. Add comments here or on the accompanying Facebook post. What has worked well in your church or what ideas would you like to see tried?
Other Pentecost post coming soon.

Language(s) and the Church May 22, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism, Statistics.
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I’m excited to be researching attitudes to languages within the UK Church …and (where appropriate) how to change them.

In 2014 the Church of England gathered a lot of statistics about the diversity of it’s congregations and published a report called “Everyone Counts“.
So far as I look at websites and reports from many different church denominations and agencies it seems that although there is a lot of data gathered, language isn’t something that gets talked about much.

This is despite the fact that over 300 languages are spoken by people living in the UK. This is despite the fact that 17% of children in schools in England come from a home where English is not the first language.

For the general population the spread of languages other than English looks something like this…

…the number of languages and the number of people speaking them vary considerably from place to place.

According to data from an interactive parish map, provided by the Research and Statistics unit of the Church of England, the town I was born in is still 98.3% white and 73.7% defined themselves as Christian in the 2011 census. Another Church of England website Presence and Engagement helps to identify and serve parishes through identifying the proportion of other religions (just enter your postcode).

Neither of these sites currently tells me about languages spoken (P&E has a page on resources in other languages) . Other census data suggests 98% of people said their main language was English and an email revealed at least 16 different languages represented in the town’s schools.

2011 Census reports from the UK Office for National Statistics

In multicultural society, ethnicity, country of birth, and language are very different things which is why I’d like to have been surprised that so few churches and organisations seem to have paid much attention to the languages people speak.

In part, that may be due to the many other things rightly clamouring for attention but perhaps also that if people speak English to a high level of proficiency then language is not perceived to be a barrier. I’m hoping my research and discussions will encourage people to see that language is more than an obstacle.

After many travels around the world I’m now living just half an hour away from where I grew up, in a town which is much more diverse in terms of languages spoken at home (over 80). So far I’ve identified ten spoken by people in the churches, but I’m looking forward to hearing out about more.

Now available…
Five ways to use other languages (a bit) in your church.

The Worlds Favourite Worship Songs? January 31, 2019

Posted by P, J, or J in multilingualism, worship.
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This is no longer a new CD, so many of the songs might already be among your favourites, but are they really the World’s favourites?

“Possibly the best worship collection ever made featuring over 50 of the finest modern worship songs sung the world over.

With songs that cross the nations and span the generations The World’s Favourite Worship Songs showcases what the world’s churches are singing today.

Really?

I like lots of the songs on here (as do many people around the world) but watching the video you’d think the church only sang in English.

I am pleased to see that the team at weareworship.com , recognises that and are inviting subscribers to submit translations of many popular songs. (eg there are 29 translations of “Here I am to Worship” and scroll to the bottom of the list and it gives you a link to provide a translation if there isn’t one in your language).

Sadly they don’t (yet) have the built in ability to search by language, but it is possible to use Google to do that for you. eg


polski site:https://www.weareworship.com

My hope however is that in addition to the globalisation of worship where everyone sings to the same tunes we will have truely global worship where we get to hear more songs from other cultures and musical styles both traditional and modern. WeAreWorship are contributing to that too with a platform called SongShare and there is another emerging community at proskuneo.org.

Meanwhile if you look for it there is a lot of worship happening in different languages, some of which is shared on YouTube. Here’s 70,000 people singing in Arabic

348,000 views on YouTube

And another Arabic Christian song that seems quite popular

almost 5,000,000 views so far

How many languages are actually being used to worship God? Heaven knows.

How many languages will sung in heaven?

I know that there are over 3350 languages into which some part of the Bible has been translated and would hope (but don’t know) that songs are being sung to God in each of these and perhaps even more.

I also know that there are well over 300 languages spoken by people living in my home country of the UK but suspect that far fewer are used in our churches. So I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the singing. Here’s some worship leaders and theologians talking in 2015 about their hopes for the future of worship in the UK.

seen only 1137 times in the last 4 years, but worth letting people know about

…and a plug for a Multicultural Worship day on Feb 23 at All Nations

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