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Language Discrimination: Facts and History

Language Discrimination: Facts and History
Discrimination in language
(Last Updated On: September 14, 2023)

The World is all about the shifting of power. When one country gains power over another country, the other country automatically loses all of it. This is synonymous with Colonization but colonization is not similar to it. Colonization is the ultimate rule by usurping the sovereignty of another country. This usurps of a nation’s sovereignty results in the utter domination of Western or Colonial Supremacy in the minds of the colonized reseluting in somehow language discrimination.

On the other side, invading a country and including it into your one territory is a completely different thing. Nevertheless, both of these measures are oppressive and result in different injustices, such as Language Oppression (also known as Language Discrimination). When dominant countries or empires, step into another country (preferably the one which is in political turmoil), they bring forth new ideas, culture, traditions, art, and language with the intention of colonization.

Gradually, after having a strong grip over their colony’s politics, they enforce their religion, language, and beliefs into the minds of people. One of these beliefs that leaves a very drastic effect on the minds of colonized people is inferiority. This inferiority makes them believe that the culture, language, and beliefs of their colonizers are superior and they should adopt them. This also includes forced adoption of the new language, which we term as “Language Discrimination”.


Before we get into details about language discrimination, let us tell you some of its basics. The replacement of the native language of a nation by some other dominant language, by unethical means, is known as Language Discrimination.

causes language discrimination
effects language discrimination

Language discrimination can be frustrating. It is just another type of injustice upon which many people usually do not speak. A large number of Immigrants (especially Asian and African) face language discrimination in the Western world. It is very similar to Racial Injustice but it is in terms of linguistic expression instead of skin color. To know more, let’s dig in further about Language discrimination.

What Is Language Discrimination?

In simple words, Language Discrimination is when someone tries to impose his/her language onto others who don’t want to learn it. This unethical enforcement of one’s native language on to another person, such as an Immigrant from a non-English speaking country, as Language Discrimination.

The most common example would be English being imposed on non-English speaking nations like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and aboriginal Australians, etc. This enforcement can either be physical or verbal. There are many cases where native speakers try to force their language on immigrants from foreign lands. For instance, if an immigrant comes from China, he will probably have only Chinese friends and family members in that country.

Further Discussion

Language Discrimination is synonymous with linguistic discrimination, glottophobia, linguicism, and languagism. It is the unfair treatment of non-native speakers of a language. Language oppression is related to other types of national origin discriminations. To avoid language discrimination, before getting on board for international education, students are obliged to pass professional English tests. 

The Causes of Language Discrimination

Many factors contribute to this discrimination. All of these factors are language-related. To make it easier for you to understand, we have enlisted them below:

  • Accent: Accent plays a huge role in oral communication. The English language alone has many different accents such as the American accent and the British accent. Despite speaking the same language, individuals can be criticized or discriminated against for their accents. People living in countries where the English language is not the Official language, may not be able to produce a foreign accent naturally.
  • Pronunciation of Words: The incorrect pronunciation of some words can lead to language discrimination. Any individual who is a non-native speaker of the English language may sometimes not know which syllables are silent and which are not.
  • Expression: Expression is one of the most important characteristics of speech. The way an individual delivers a speech leaves a very significant effect on the audience. A person’s lack of proper expression may also lead to Language Discrimination.
  • Size of Vocabulary: A person who does not carry expert English communication skills may lack a plethora of words, of formal or commercial use. This person is the one whose primary language is not English. Not speaking the right words at the right time would lead to his linguistic discrimination. A vast vocabulary aids ineffective communication.
  • Grammatical Errors: The scarcity of grammatical errors demands good English skills. An individual should have good English proficiency to avoid grammatical errors. 

When Does It Happen?

Language Discrimination happens when an individual does not show proficiency in a foreign language such as the English language. Many international universities, schools, and colleges have a strict English-only policy.

facts language discrimination
language discrimination

International students that aim to study in such institutions are taught to master tests like IELTS to boost up their English proficiency. At international schools, the staff including the teachers are educated enough not to discriminate against any student based on their skin color, language, or ethnicity.

At the student level, it is not like this. Students, sometimes observe national origin discrimination (especially in terms of language) from their fellow students. We can prevent this. If we educate the younger generation, language discrimination can be minimized.

What Are the Effects of Language Discrimination?

Language discrimination leaves very negative and unpleasant effects on the minds of victims. It leaves long-lasting implications on the mental and emotional well-being of an individual. Minority children who face language discrimination are often distressed and it very harshly affects their academic and co-curricular activities. Children become shy, introverts and tend to speak as little as possible. Language discrimination also makes up a class level in a society based on their national origins.

Facts About Language Discrimination

Here, we are stating some facts about language discrimination that will help you understand it better:

  • Language discrimination is an unlawful and ethical act. It is categorized under bullying and can cause emotional trauma to someone.
  • It makes one language “privileged” and the other “unprivileged”. Language discrimination is the ultimate cause of death in many languages. It has led to the endangerment of some languages.
  • Such discrimination is illegal and condemned in many higher institutions.
  • It leaves a negative impression of the person who did it. A civilized individual avoids such kinds of acts.
  • This discrimination reflects the colonial era; thus, people discourage it.

Is Language Discrimination Illegal?

Yes! Everyone has equal rights concerning employment without being subjected to discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, nationality, ethnic group, property, birth, or another status. In addition, Language discrimination categorizes under the class of unlawful discrimination known as national origin discrimination. It is illegal to prefer one language over another.

What To Do If Someone Linguistically Discriminates you? 

If someone linguistically discriminates against you, then there are certain steps you need to take. You must first understand what exactly happened. Then, if necessary, file a complaint against him/her.

How Can One Prevent such discrimination?

The best measure that we can take to prevent language discrimination is educating people about its consequences, especially the younger generation. Some people mimic the accent of a non-native speaker of their language to mock them or just as a joke. We can minimize language discrimination by holding such matters accountable.

Wrap Up

To sum up, everything that we have stated so far, it is an unjust behavior to the minorities. It is unethical and people should not tolerate it at any cost. People should also learn how to treat each other equally regardless of their background. This way they would avoid making others feel inferior because of their language, race, religion, or ethnic origin.

linguistically discrimination

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