Manchester is one of world’s most multilingual cities with at least 153 languages, university study reveals

By Mancunian Matters staff

Manchester is one of the most multilingual cities in the world, boasting at least 153 languages according to a new study.

Two thirds of the city’s schoolchildren are bi-lingual – speaking at least two languages – according to the University of Manchester research.

And with immigration and the arrival of more overseas students to Manchester’s universities, it is thought the list will only grow.

The project’s co-ordinator Professor Yaron Matras said: “Manchester’s language diversity is higher than many countries in the world.

“It is very likely to be top of the list in Europe, certainly when compared to other cities of its size, perhaps only outflanked by London and Paris.”

And now Professor Matras and his team are working closely with local authorities and schools to address the language needs of such a linguistically diverse city.

This includes working with the NHS to prioritise the appropriate languages for information on health care – which could make a critical difference to people’s lives.

“Manchester as a community is much more active in responding to language needs at the level of public services,” he said.

The city is also now home to the world’s largest online language archive, Multilingual Manchester, set up in 2010 to document, protect and support the city’s many languages.

Authored by linguistics students and available for free, it contains over 100 reports on multilingualism and language minorities in Manchester.

To see the full list of 153 languages, visit Multilingual Manchester here:   

Picture courtesy of SalBJ, with thanks.

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