New York Speaks Your Language, No Matter What It Is

June 13,2013

NEW YORK — In the Big Apple, home to more than 8 million people, you can find nearly every kind of food, music, art and people. And nearly every kind of language - some linguistic experts say it may be the most diverse city in the world, with as many as 800 spoken languages.

With hundreds of languages and dialects spoken from around the world, few cities are as diverse as New York.

"New York is the capital of the world, where we live together in peace," said Ernesto Arias.

Ernesto Arias, from Bolivia, says this is all possible without loss of tradition or the mother language. He speaks in his native Spanish.

“There are people from every background, so you’ll hear a variety of languages and dialects. For example, in my country, they speak Aymara and Quechua. Of course, here we’re starting to lose that. But we are making an effort to maintain our community in some form so that we don’t lose it," he said.

According to the 2010 census, 51 percent of New Yorkers speak only English. The remaining 49 percent, according to experts, speak hundreds of other languages.

For many local residents, it probably comes as no surprise that the second-most spoken language in New York is Spanish, representing 25 percent of the population.

“It’s a very cosmopolitan city where you see people from around the world and listen to every language possible in the elevators, on the street, doing business. I don’t know about 800 languages, but they all sound very different," said Gabriela Pisterna, Argentinian tourist.

Historically, the Big Apple has been known for welcoming immigrants, earning it the unofficial title of “Capital of the World.”

“Every place is represented here, at least from Latin America, there are so many," said Edmundo Datri, another Argentinian Tourist.