Second Language London

I know – another London post. But this is interesting and kind of fun: a tube map with the second most common languages (after English, innit) spoken at each stop.

Tube map14FINAL_opt

You’ll need to click it to make it bigger.

A few things struck me immediately: the huge number of Bengali speakers in East London (the size of the dots relates to the percentage of speakers of that language). Perhaps unsurprisingly,Bengali is the second most spkoen language in London overall.
Also, the way that the groups stick together: that brown diagnonal of Lithuanians in the South East, equally, the dark orange of Punjabi in the South West and the light pink of Gujarati in the North West.

Afrikaans makes an impact too – in dark green, right at the top of the Northern line: Colindale, Burnt Oak and Edgware.

UPDATE: A beagle-eyed reader on Facebook notes that I may have got my Romanian and Afrikaans mixed up. This is always hapeening to me and has led to many unfortunate incidents here in SA (although, they are nothing, NOTHING! compared to my struggles on that recent trip to Bucharest).
A more detailed look at the map reveals that she’s almost certainly correct.

Two points arise from this:

1. The linguistic diversity of London is such that the researchers ran out of different colours to use, and
2. Well, where’s the Afrikaans then?

It took me a while, but I got there in the end – the penultimate stop eastbound on the central line: Theydon Bois. No, I’d never heard of it before, either, but I’m not sure how I’d missed it, given that it’s THE major large residential village of choice at the junction of the M11 and M25. Claim to fame-tastic.


When I knew Saffas in London, it was all Acton and Putney – now replaced by Arabic and French. There are a lot of French speakers in London, which, as the cartographers point out, might include French speakers from North and Central Africa as well, although:

Since London is now the sixth biggest French city and has a resident member of the National Assembly to represent expatriates, it is a fair bet that many are from France

Linguistic diversity is rampant too:

Around Turnpike Lane 16 languages are spoken by more than one per cent of the population, topped by Polish at 6.7 per cent.

More details here.

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