The Multilingual Apple: Languages in New York City

The Multilingual Apple: Languages in New York City

The Multilingual Apple: Languages in New York City

The Multilingual Apple: Languages in New York City


This book will be of special interest to the general reader concerned with the issue of language in the United States, as well as the language specialist and sociolinguist. It has been written to inform those wishing to learn more about the role that languages other than English have had, and continue to have, in the life of the most important United States city, New York. At the same time this volume makes an important contribution to the scholarly literature on urban multilingualism and the sociology of language. The book contains chapters on languages of ethnolinguistic groups who arrived early in New York and which have been somewhat silenced (Irish, German, Yiddish), the languages of groups who made early contributions and continue to be heard in the city (Italian, Greek, Spanish, Hebrew), and languages which are acquiring an important voice in the city today (Chinese, Indian languages, English creoles, Haitian Creole).


Ofelia García and Joshua A. Fishman

This anniversary edition continues to tell the story in English of how Languages Other than English (LOTEs) have contributed to making New York City one of the most culturally vibrant and linguistically diverse metropolis in the world today.

The U. S. 2000 census has confirmed that the United States will be increasingly multilingual in the 21st century. the number of adults in the United States who speak a lote at home increased by 41 % in one decade, and those who report some difficulty with English increased by 40%. As the 21st century starts, approximately 18% of U. S. households speak a lote at home. in states like California, New Mexico, Texas, New York, Hawaii, Arizona and New Jersey, well over 25 % of the population live in households where a lote is spoken.

New York City's multilingualism in 2000 has been spurred by a level of immigration unequal since 1910, with one million immigrants arriving in the last decade of the 20th century. in 2000, 40 % of New Yorkers were foreign born, compared to 28% in 1990. the greater diversity of national origins of New Yorkers who speak the same lote makes New York not only a multilingual city, but a true laboratory of dialectal heterogeneity. the city's largest group of lote speakers is still Spanish-speaking. But Puerto Ricans, in 1990 half of New York Latinos, now make up 36% of New Yorkers, with the island-born population declining sharply. in 1999, there were 744,000 Puerto Ricans, of whom 290,000 were born in the island. This represents a 12% decrease in one decade. At the same time, the number of Mexicans increased by 203 %, making Mexicans the third biggest single group of Spanish speaking New Yorkers after those of Puerto Rican and Dominican ancestry.

The greater diversity in national origins of Spanish speakers is also evident among Asians. the number of New Yorkers of Chinese origin did not rise as sharply as the number of New Yorkers of Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian descent. Whereas New Yorkers of Chinese descent increased by 51%, those of Asian descent increased by 81%. Pakistani Urdu speakers rank among the fastest-growing groups of immigrants.

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