Contemporary Greek is king just across the bridge from the bustling business centers of Manhattan in the neighborhood of Astoria— according to a fascinating map released by the Endangered Language Alliance.
The interactive map which is a zoomable PDF lists more than 600 languages and dialects spoken in roughly 1,000 locations across the five boroughs of New York City and New Jersey— more than three times the number represented in the official census.
Included on the map if you hover over the neighborhood of Astoria in Queens are prominent listings of modern Greek and Cretan, Pontian and Cypriot dialects.
The neighborhood of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn also shows a prominent Greek-speaking population as does the western Manhattan neighborhood of Hells Kitchen— once a thriving epicenter of American life in the 1950s and 1960s.
The organization seeks to document and preserve smaller, minority, and Indigenous languages across New York City
“Over 10 years ELA has built a network of linguists, community leaders, language activists, speakers, students, and just regular New Yorkers who either speak these languages or know people who do — so every point on the map was based on a conversation with someone knowledgeable about a community,” said Ross Perlin, ELA’s co-director.
The map (currently a zoomable PDF) displays where there are languages spoken by large swaths of the neighborhood, and those that are spoken by just a few people.
Around 40 percent of the languages represented are from Asia, 27 percent are from Africa, 18 percent from Europe, 14 percent from the Americas, and the remainder come from Oceania and the Pacific.
Another project called the American Community Survey showed similar results, listing contemporary Greek as the most spoken language in Astoria, other than English and Spanish.
Click here to see the full sized map which you can scroll over and see which languages are spoken in which neighborhoods of New York City.
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