Here, in Full, Are the 150 Languages Spoken in London That the 999 Services Are Having to Translate

The Evening Standard (London, England), June 25, 2004 | Go to article overview
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Here, in Full, Are the 150 Languages Spoken in London That the 999 Services Are Having to Translate


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

Persian Gulf

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

Unknown Chelsea Greek Greece 350,000

Enfield Gujurati Gujurat, India 149,600 East End Hakka China 50 Various Hausa

Nigeria 2,008 Ealing Hebrew Israel

20,000 Barnet Hindi India 136,500

East End Hungarian Hungary 3,190 Harrow

Icelandic Iceland 1,000 Various Igbo

Nigeria 9000 Lewisham Italian Italy

50,000 Chelsea Japanese Japan 22,860

Various Kashmiri Kashmir, India 50 Various Kazakh Kazakhstan 10 Various Khmer

Cambodia 60 Various Korean Korea

20,000 Kingston Krio Sierra Leone 2,660

Lambeth Kurdish Iran, Iraq 6,800 Haringey Kurmanji Iran 7,000 Haringey Lao

Laos 120 Camden Latvian Latvia

70 Various Lingala Congo 4,500

Haringey Lithuanian Lithuania 1,500 Ealing

Luganda Uganda 3,700 Haringey Luo

Uganda, 70 Greenwich


Lusoga Uganda 70 Greenwich Macedonian Macedonia 260 Ealing

Malay Malaysia 2,860 Barnet Malayam

India 2,600 Ealing Maltese Malta

25,000 Lambeth Mandarin China 15,000

Soho Marathi India 400 Barnet Moldovan

Moldova 25,000 Various Mongolian Mongolia

370 Ken&Chel Nepali Nepal 1,030

Various Norwegian Norway 7,000 Wimbledon Nyakuse Tanzania 16 Haringey Polish

Poland 7,200 Ealing Portuguese Portugal

29,400 Ken&Chel Punjabi India 155,700

Various Pushtu India 1,700 Various Romanian Romania 2,000 Ealing Russian

Russia 200,000 Ken&Chel Samoan Polynesia

200 Acton Serbian Serbia 20,000

Ealing Shona Zimbabwe 80 Haringey Sinhalese Sri Lanka 2,300 Ealing

Slovak Slovakia 470 Bexley Slovenian

Slovenia 1,500 Various Somali Somalia

22,340 Various Spanish Spain 500,000

Various Swahili Kenya, 4,900 Redbridge


Swedish Sweden 50,000 Barnes Sylheti

Bangladesh 40,500 Tower Hamlets Tagalog Philippines

9,300 Various Taiwanese Taiwan 7,000

Westminster Tamil Sri Lanka 19,200 Brent Telegu South India 100 Various Thai

Thailand 2870 Various Tibetan Tibet

50 Islington Tigre Ethiopia 690

Southwark Tigrinian Eritrea and 2,300 Ken&Chel,

Ethiopia Islington Turkish Turkey

73,900 Various Turkmanish Uzbekistan 10


Ukrainian Ukraine 10,000 Acton Uzbek

Uzbekistan, 80 H'smith

Tajikistan and Fulham Vietnamese Vietnam 16,800 Hackney

Welsh Wales 7000 Various Xhosa

South Africa 130 Various Yiddish Eastern

10,000 Stamford Hill Yoruba Nigeria 47,600


and Benin

Zulu South Africa 390 Haringey Other languages in the list of 150 include: Algerian dialects, Ashanti (Ghana), Assyrian (Syria), Azeri (Azerbaijan), Bad (Iraq), Badini (Iraq), Bajuni (Tanzania), Bosnian, Brazilian dialects, Cambodian dialects, Chachow (China), Cherokee (North America), Colombian dialects, Egyptian dialects, Eritrean (Eritrea), Estonian dialects, Ethiopian dialects, Fanti (Ghana), Filipino dialects, Flemish (Belgium), Indonesian dialects, Iranian dialects, Iraqi dialects, Kosovan, Lebanese, Mandinkha (Gambia), Mirpuri (Kashmir), Maghrebi (type of Arabic), Nigerian, Pahari (India), Persian (Iran), Sorani (Iraq), Sotho (South Africa) Sri Lankan dialects, Sudanese, Tswana (South Africa), Twi (Ghana), Ugandan dialects, Urdu (India/Pakistan) Wolof (Senegal).

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Here, in Full, Are the 150 Languages Spoken in London That the 999 Services Are Having to Translate


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