Byline: MARK PRIGG;ELIZABETH HOPKIRK
WALK down any street in London and the chances are you will hear numerous different languages. Of the city's eight million inhabitants, three million do not have English as their mother tongue.
London has always been regarded as culturally diverse but the decision by the Metropolitan Police to introduce a 999 service with translators - catering for 150 languages - has revealed the full extent of the capital's ethnic mix. In a three-month pilot of the service, six languages dominated 999 calls - Portuguese, Turkish, Punjabi, Spanish, French and Somali. Not far behind were Tamil, Bengali, Arabic, Italian and Polish.
Experts claim a multilingual emergency service is long overdue. Professor Tim Connell, Director of Language Studies at City University, said the Met's 150 languages were just the tip of the iceberg. "It is really key that public services embrace these languages, because everyone has a right to basic services," he said.
"We know that in 2001 there were 150 different languages in London and that figure will have risen since then. Actually, one of the biggest problems we had was spotting new languages - it can be very hard sometimes."
The languages are spread throughout the capital. While London's Zulu population tends to live in Haringey, Korean is most likely to be heard in Kingston. It is believed that a rise in the number of immigrants coming to London has also led to dozens of new languages appearing. Here, the Evening Standard reveals the 150 languages now spoken in the capital...
Language Country How many Favourite
of origin in London areas
Afrikaans South Africa 5,310 Enfield Akan
Ghana 27500 Haringey Albanian Albania
4,200 Various Amharic Ethiopia 1,200
Ken&Chel Arabic Morocco to 500,000 W'minster
Armenian Armenia 3,000 Islington Assamese
India 10 Brent Azerbaijani Azerbaijan
2,000 Various Basque Spain, France 10
Various Belarussian Belarus 150 Haringey Bengali Bangladesh, 136,300 Tower
West Bengal Hamlets Berber Morocco,
80 Cen London
Bravanese Somalia Unknown West London Bulgarian Bulgaria 2,000 Various
Burmese Burma 310 Various Cantonese
China 47,900 Various Catalan Spain
100 Notting Hill Cebuano Philippines 40
(English) Caribbean 50,700 Various Creole
(French) Caribbean 8,400 Various Croat
Croatia 3,400 W'minster Czech Czech Republic 1850 H'smith Danish Denmark 50,000
Putney, Fulham Dari Afghanistan 310 Various
Dutch Netherlands 30,000 Central London English England 7.1m Everywhere Esperanto Universal 200 Various
Farsi Iran 30,000 Marylebone Fijian
Fiji 16,200 Lambeth Finnish Finland
5,000 Lambeth French France 600,000
S. Ken Fulla Nigeria 80 Various Ga Ghana 3700 Lambeth Gaelic
Scotland, 2,400 Kilburn
Georgian Georgia 116.2 Various German
Germany 100,000 Various Gaurani S. America