Languages in NYC

New York City is known across the globe for many reasons. It is a popular tourist attraction for foreigners traveling to the United States. Many people think New York is a culturally diverse city, but many don’t understand how diverse. New York City is one of the most linguistically diverse places you can visit- it’s home to over eight hundred of them. The diversity does not stop at just conversation, but there is diversity in signs, business names, and even ads throughout the city.

There are many different and unique languages in this city, some of which are close to dying out. A language can die out from war, disease, or natural disatsters; but the most common is the “transition from one mother tongue to another”. This language shift can be caused by choice or under duress.

The Yiddish language was close to extinction in the 20th Century because the Jewish community moved from the lower east side to the suburbs. The next generation of children could understand Yiddish, but not speak or read it. This made Yiddish readings unecessary, so they were thrown out. Just when the Yiddish language was at it’s most desperate hour, technology made resources available in Yiddish and it is no longer in danger of dying out.

Language and culture go hand in hand. When a language dies out, so does a culture. A story has been wiped out and will not be recovered. It is important to cherish linguistically diverse communities and make sure they stay that way.