Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New York as Babel in Reverse

Or perhaps it is a veritable Noah's ark of language. New York has become a refuge for dying languages. According to a recent New York Times article, New York may be home to around 800 distinct languages! Different languages from pockets in Eastern Europe, African tribes, and what might interest biblicists...Aramaic! Mandaic!
In addition to dozens of Native American languages, vulnerable foreign
languages that researchers say are spoken in New York include Aramaic,
Chaldic and Mandaic from the Semitic family; Bukhari (a Bukharian
Jewish language, which has more speakers in Queens than in Uzbekistan
or Tajikistan), Chamorro (from the Mariana Islands), Irish Gaelic,
Kashubian (from Poland), indigenous Mexican languages, Pennsylvania
Dutch, Rhaeto-Romanic (spoken in Switzerland) and Romany (from the
Balkans) and Yiddish.

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