What City Speaks the Most Languages? - Answers

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What City Speaks the Most Languages?

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Map showing NY Metropolitan Area

The city that speaks the most languages is New York City.

United States is the world’s largest nation in terms of immigrants and therefore the number of languages spoken in America is diverse. Most Americans speak English only while a smaller number speak their native language with English as the second language. Check out our Languages of the World section to learn more about languages.

Cities/Areas that speak most languages

New York Metropolitan Area, USA

Within the US, the metropolitan area of New York has the largest mix of diverse nationalities and by extension, speaks the most number of languages and dialects.

English: 11,432,279; Spanish and Spanish Creole: 3,586,039; Chinese (all languages): 582,192; Russian: 249,420; Italian: 225,005; French Creole: 186,387; French (incl Patois, Cajun): 141,784; Polish: 134,221; Yiddish: 131,531; Portuguese: 119,950

Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, USA

Los Angeles comes a close second, which too, is home to a wide ethnic mix.

English: 5,550,071 ; Spanish and Spanish Creole: 4,411,568; Chinese (all languages): 415,719; Tagalog: 272,809; Korean: 257,896; Vietnamese: 246,496; Armenian: 172,108; Persian: 103,748

Manchester, UK

Manchester would be the 3rd ranked city that speaks the most languages. Similar to New York, Manchester too has a large and diverse immigrant mix, though the languages and nationality mix is a bit different than those found in New York.

There are around 200 languages spoken in Manchester with English being the most popular. Other popular languages spoken include Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi, Chinese, Bengali, Polish and Somali.

Mumbai, India

Mumbai would be the 4th ranked city with the widest number of languages spoken but would rank No. 1 in having the most-multilingual persons in a city.

Just as New York has a diverse mix of immigrants from other countries, Mumbai is home to a diverse mix of ethnic Indians from within the country. Remember, India is the size of a continent and is known to have around 461 languages, of which 14 are said to be extinct.

Therefore, with Mumbai having a largest domestic migrant population, the number of languages spoken is quite diverse and include English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Urdu, Konkani, Punjabi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Assamese, Kashmiri, Haryanvi, and Nepali.

It is not uncommon for Indians to speak English, Hindi, their native language along with the local language of the state they reside in within the country. Therefore, several Indians end up speaking 3-4 languages.

Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg would rank 5th in most languages spoken. In terms of most-multilingual persons, it would rank 2nd after Mumbai. South Africa has 11 official languages. In Johannesburg, it is not uncommon for local people to speak 3-4 languages. The most popular languages spoken here include English, Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Ndebele, Venda, Songa, Tswana North Sotho and South Sotho.

About languages spoken in the US

As per The Census Bureau, there are 6,000 languages spoken around the world. The US has officially coded these languages into 382 individual languages and grouped them under 4 major heads – Spanish, Other Indo-European languages, Asian and Pacific Island languages, and Other languages.

The 382 codes have further categorized under 39 languages and they are:

Spanish, French, French Creole, Italian, Portuguese, German, Yiddish, Other West Germanic languages, Scandinavian, Greek, Russian, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, Other Slavic languages, Armenian, Persian, Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, Other Indic languages, Other Indo-European languages, Chinese, Japanese , Korean, Mon-Khmer Cambodian, Hmong, Thai, Laotian, Vietnamese, Other Asian languages, Tagalog, Other Pacific Island languages, Navajo, Other Native American languages, Hungarian, Arabic, Hebrew, African languages, All Other languages.

The Top 10 Languages spoken in the US by number of speakers

English: 231,122,908; Spanish: 37,458,470; Chinese (all languages of China): 2,896,766; French and French Creole: 2,047,467; Tagalog: 1,613,346; Vietnamese: 1,399,936; Korean: 1,117,343; German: 1,063,773; Arabic: 924,374; Russian: 879,434

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