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Bengali-English in East London

A Study in Urban Multilingualism


Sebastian Rasinger

Following two major waves of immigration after World War II, the Bangladeshi community in the East London borough of Tower Hamlets is now one of the largest in the Bangladeshi diaspora, counting some 65,000 people. This is the first in-depth study of language and language-use within this Bangladeshi community. Based on a corpus of spontaneous speech data collected within the area, it provides the reader with an overview of the linguistic characteristics of ‘Bengali-English’ as well as patterns of language-use.
This book focuses on three areas: first, following the tradition of similar studies of the language of minority groups, an analysis of Bengali-English morphosyntax provides a detailed description of its morphosyntactic properties and the different developmental stages learners pass through. Second, a sociolinguistic analysis of the influence of social and psychological factors on the language and its speakers is presented. And last, based on quantitative survey data, and supported by qualitative data obtained through ethnographic interviews, the study evaluates the issues of identity and ethnolinguistic vitality within the Bangladeshi community.