Significant time and resources have been put toward preserving indigenous minority languages across Britain, including Welsh, Gaelic, Scots and Irish. And, of course, a range of other languages are spoken as well — from Polish and Punjabi, to Arabic and French.

So it's understandable how Boris Johnson, a front-runner to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May, ruffled feathers by saying: "There are too often parts of our country ... where English is not spoken by some people as their first language. And that needs to be changed."

The priority for immigrants should be "to be and to feel British," he said, "and to learn English".

The comments sparked outrage across the UK, where they were seen as echoing populist talking points targeting immigrants and disrespecting centuries-old languages indigenous to the region.