The Different Languages That Are Spoken in NYC

When walking through the streets of New York City, people are often surprised by the number of languages they hear. NYC is known as a place where people from many different countries live, and the diversity of languages is impressive. Experts think that there may be as many as 800 languages spoken throughout the city. Here’s a breakdown of languages that could be heard in some of NYC’s boroughs.


Groups of people gathered around in a park in NYC

One of the most densely populated places in the world, Manhattan is packed with a mixture of languages. English is the most commonly spoken language in most of the neighborhoods in Manhattan, but nearly 40 percent of the people who live there speak a language other than English at home. With NYU, Columbia, and several other large universities, there are also thousands of international students living on the island with student visas.


Brooklyn is made up of many neighborhoods that were developed by generations of immigrant communities that still maintain strong connections to their cultures and languages. Greenpoint still shows off some of its rich Polish heritage, and in neighborhoods like Borough Park, Yiddish is spoken as often as English. The Russian speakers in Brighton Beach and the French Creole speakers in Flatbush add to the cultural mixture in this part of NYC.


People who live in Queens come from all over the planet. According to the World Economic Forum, Queens is the most language-diverse place in the entire world. Nearly 160 languages are spoken in Queens, from Tagalog and Lithuanian to Greek and Cantonese, and most of the households in Queens speak a language other than English.

The mixture of languages in NYC means that you will find people of various levels of English proficiency all over the city. Even in day-to-day conversations, you can practice your English skills with other non-native speakers. Plus, if you ever feel the desire to speak in your native language, you will almost certainly be able to find someone to talk to. All of this makes The Big Apple a great place to learn and practice English. ALCC American Language has helped students learn English in New York City since 1975. See the full list of courses offered by ALCC American Language to find a class that fits the level English that you speak. Register online today or call us at (212) 736-2373.

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