Languages of London.

18 Beautiful And Weird Maps That Will Change How You Think About London has a lot of interesting stuff (I love the first one, showing London around the turn of the first millennium: “Hamor Smydde, Fulanham, Brixges Tane: Sound familiar?”), but the one of LH relevance is 10, showing the non-English languages most commonly spoken in different parts of the city — it’s fascinating to me to see the huge swaths of Polish, Gujarati, Turkish, and Bengali, and the lesser realms of Urdu, Lithuanian, Somali, Arabic, and the rest.


  1. What a trip!

    On the appropriate names map what do they mean by ‘twats’, unless it’s what I think. Or ‘tourist tats’? Are they one person’s opinion?

  2. Terrific! I have a feeling a map of languages spoken in London appeared here not so long ago. No matter. Here‘s a link to a bunch more fun maps of one my favourite(!) cities.

  3. The Guardian published a series of London language maps less than a year ago.

  4. I have a feeling a map of languages spoken in London appeared here not so long ago.

    There was this, but it got few and surly responses.

  5. The Guardian published a series of London language maps less than a year ago.

    A nice addition, thanks! But not nearly so easy to read at a glance as this one.

  6. I wish the author of the first map had bothered to get the Old English spellings correct. If you’re not going to use letters like thorn and aesc, please don’t use ‘p’ for thorn.

  7. Paul (other Paul) says

    A pity reading some of the maps is made more difficult by the large vertical bar to connect with Facebook, etc. It simply gets in the way. Move it under the maps, horizontally. The vertical bar produces the same problem on many websites. I wonde3r why the creators don’t understand this. The maps are great, though.

  8. Paul (other Paul) says

    iakon: ‘Twats’ are colloqually idiots – ‘he’s a complete twat’ -, the word also means vagina. ‘Tourist tats’: in the singluar means shoddy souveniers for tourists, I take this to mean there are multiple shops selling such. And the terms are evidently the auithor’s opinions.

  9. Paul (another Paul): I knew the two definitions of ‘twat’, but wondered if I was seeing a third. ‘Tat’ is definitiely a word new to me. Related to ‘tatty’, I bet. Thanks.

  10. J. W. Brewer says

    I assume the fact that one of the stations on the renamed-Tube-stations map is “renamed” Euston is some sort of subtle inside joke? Here’s a recent map of subways in Manhattan with similar station renamings You will note that as you get farther north a number of the stations are left blank rather than renamed, which led me to surmise either that the people in charge of the renamings were so clueless about that part of town that they couldn’t come up with a funny stereotype or that they could come up with what they thought were funny stereotypes but thought that they would be accused of racism if they published them.

  11. I see they have no label for my old station when I lived in Manhattan, 157th St. To be fair, it’s not much of a station, but the Dominican neighborhood is interesting.

  12. The map actually renames Charing Cross station “Tourist Tat”, not “Tats”; tat is a mass noun. The OED defines it (tat n.5 b.) as «Rubbish, junk, worthless goods.». (a. is «A rag; also (in sing.), poorly made or tasteless clothes. Hence, a shabby person, a slut.». Etymology: «Origin uncertain: compare Old English tættec a rag, and TATTY adj.¹»)

  13. Jonathan D says

    J. W. Brewer, you missed the ² in Euston². The station is, of course, Euston Square.

  14. Ian Press says

    Nothing surly from this fellow. They’re wonderful. Of course, one can go on and on about them, but that’s the whole point. Lots of Poles, Lithuanians, Romanians, Hungarians – to mention only the more recent arrivals, in my area (Walthamstow, E17). I often take a No.56 bus from close by to Islington and feel I could learn quite a few languages, most notably Cantonese at the moment, simply listening in to the conversations (often very loud and on the phone) and having a phrasebook at hand!

  15. That was one of the wonderful things about riding the subway in NYC.

  16. “He was speaking Cantonese; that is to say, shouting.” —I forget who


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