Map Shows World’s Most Diverse Linguistic Capital: Queens, NY with Greek and Cretan Dialect Ranking


The Endangered Language Alliance claims that New York City and the borough of Queens, in particular, is the most linguistically diverse region in the world. The organization claims there are more than 800 different languages and dialects spoken there.

The languages have been featured in a map in the book “Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas” by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, created by Molly Roy with help from the ELA, and also shows libraries, museums, and other linguistic centers.

“The capital of linguistic diversity, not just for the five boroughs, but for the human species, is Queens,” Solnit and Jelly-Schapiro write in the atlas.

Standard Greek and the Cretan dialect make up the biggest chunk of Astoria, the neighborhood long known as the center of Greek life in New York and although other areas of Queens to be much more diverse, Greek appears to dominate the area on the map, which lists languages in varying sizes based on frequency of its presence.

Greek and the Cretan dialect rank in the Endangered Language Alliance’s map of spoken languages in Queens, New York.

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.


The linguistic diversity of Queens is staggering– more than 800 languages and dialects spoken.

And although Astoria may be the Greek capital of Queens, large numbers of Greeks also live in and around Flushing where St. Nicholas Church is located, known as the largest Greek Orthodox parish in the nation with thousands of active families participating.

A similar map released by the American Community Survey last year proved the predominance of Astoria as the predominantly Greek-speaking region in the city of New York, and probably in the nation.

The ACS map asked respondents if they speak a language other than English at home, and if so, what language is spoken.

American Community Survey map of New York City neighborhoods ranked by main language spoken at home other than English or Spanish.


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