5 Unexpected Languages to Find in London (and Their Origins)

December 23, 2013 by  
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Posted by: Phineas Upham

In the city of London, at any given moment there are at least 300,000 people who do not speak English at all. The fact is there is a lot of cultural diversity in the city, and you can find languages from around the world on the right street.

Caribbean Creole

Caribbean Creole comes from immigrants whose origins lie in Guyana, Jamaica or Trinidad. The language exists in London today through the spoken words of children and grandchildren from those immigrants, a kind of coded language for teenagers.


Once the dominant language of Scotland, Gaelic still exists in London as a written and spoken language. The written language is rarely used outside of an official capacity, such as the insignia on a coat of arms, but the spoken language is still alive thanks to the London Gaelic Athletic Association.


A language with origins in Pakistan, Urdu became part of British culture when Muslims began to immigrate from their Middle Eastern countries of origin. Urdu is on the rise, so much so that there is a localized version of the BBC available in the language.


Polish has become the second largest spoken language in the UK, and represents a significant part of the population. The main hub of the Polish speaking community is in Ealing, where the speaking population makes up almost 1% of the total population of London.


Harrow is where you will find a large population of Gujarati speaking Indians who can trace their origins back to Gujarat. Combined with the migrating African populations (you can find a significant Somali speaking population in Wembley), this group combines traditional Indian practices with African ideologies.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.