Language map shows international nature of London’s population

13:39 28 October 2012

A snapshot of the experts

A snapshot of the experts' Twitter language analysis. Image: James Cheshire

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Data experts have used Twitter to map out the diverse range of languages spoken by people in London.

The study, carried out by University College London (UCL) lecturer James Cheshire and student Ed Manley, reveals the location of around 3.3 million tweets scattered across the capital.

Their work detected 66 different languages, including the likes of Swahili, Haitian Creole, and the Phillippine language of Tagalog - later excluded from the analysis.

But more than nine in 10 of the tweets were identified as English, according to the results of the study, published on the pair’s respective blogs.

In his latest posting, Mr Cheshire noted the tweets covered the summer period including the Olympics.

He said: “Towards the north, more Turkish tweets (blue) appear, Arabic tweets (green) are most common around Edgware Road and there are pockets of Russian tweets (pink) in parts of central London.

“The geography of the French tweets (red) is perhaps most surprising as they appear to exist in high density pockets around the centre and don’t stand out in South Kensington (an area with the Institut Francais, a French High School and the French Embassy).

“It may be that as a proportion of tweeters in this area they are small so they don’t stand out, or it could be that there are prolific tweeters (or bots) in the highly concentrated areas.

“I really like the paint-speckled effect that the multilingual tweets of London have produced and it offers a further confirmation of the international nature of London’s population.”

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