800 Different Languages

Queens, New York City: the world's languages capital

By Lucas Compan

Queens has more languages than anywhere in the world. Check out on this map to see where they're found.


There are as many as 800 languages spoken in New York City. Nowhere in the world has more than Queens, according to the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA).

You can see many of the languages in the map above, which is featured in "Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas" by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro. The map was created by Molly Roy with help from the ELA, and also shows libraries, museums, and other linguistic centers.

Queens is the capital of linguistic diversity, not just for the five boroughs, but for the human species.
— Rebecca Solnit & Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

As Gus Lubin highlights, the five miles from Astoria to Forest Hills have a dense progression of languages: Greek, Filipino, Urdu, Indonesian, Russian, Japanese, Lithuanian, and others, including more obscure ones like Chavacano, Waray-Waray, Minangkabau, and Bukharian. Here’s a close-up:

From "Nonstop Metropolis" by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro. Cartography: Molly Roy; Photographs: Mirissa Neff


One limit of the map is that every language shows up only once, when in fact many show up throughout the borough. Mandarin, for instance, is listed in Flushing, which is Queens' original  Chinatown, but not in Elmhurst, which also has a prominent Chinese community.

Flushing also has pockets of Cantonese, Shanghainese, Taishanese, Sichuanese, and other dialects. Korean and Mongolian are nearby, too

From "Nonstop Metropolis" by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro


From "Nonstop Metropolis" by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

New York: City of Endangered Languages

The New York Times

New York City - one of the most diverse cities in the world. Western Union has made this commercial celebrating all those sharing Christmas in a new city, a new country, a new place with new friends and neighbors.


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