Written by Lorena Brašnić
”Multiculturalism requires a metropolis where prosperity is a prospect for all.”
Well said quote by proffesor at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, Roy Porter, is a perfect summary of reasons for nowadays multiculturalism in one of the world’s oldest great cities – London. Having a history dating back over 2000 years and since then, always being the city of foreigners, had resulted in today’s London being a mosaic of peoples, races, colours, faiths, cultures and customs shaping it as the world’s culinary and language melting pot.
Panglish, Hinglish, Manglish, English?
The growing diversity of London’s population was confirmed today as figures revealed that more than 250 different languages are spoken in London and its suburb. Walking down the streets, the most common languages that can be heard are Polish, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Cantonese and Mandarin besides of course English, the city’s primary language and mother tongue of the majority of its citizens. Each of the foreign languages are inevitably mixing with different varieties of English resulting in shaping new words and phrases which become unavoidable part of their language and culture, but also enriches the ”sound” of London. But this variety isn’t the only notable feature of London’s linguistic landscape. As London has become increasingly multicultural, so has it accents and the popularity of cockney is decreasing. The city is a generator of new words, expressions and slang which are made by influence of above mentioned languages on English, together making Multicultural London English. That’s probably why my English has at the same time inevitably improved and slightly distorted while my stay in London.
Best of London = Best of the world
Remarkable London’s multiculturalism not only can be heard on streets, but tasted in numerous restaurants where one can not only experiment with the best of British, but the best of the world as there are many distinct cuisines to sample. I could recognize that Chinese, Indian, Italian and Greek restaurants are among the most popular. Many markets spread across the city as well as shops owned by immigrant populations coming from every corner of the world, are great inspiration for traditional London’s cooks who can offer more diverse ”multicultural platter” each day. On the list of ”must try” dishes in multicultural London can be found kimchi, goat curry, pie and mash,soft-shell crab burgers, lobster rolls, and of course enjoyment in afternoon tea. You are already guessing that I had tried it all!
London has been and will be changing, but its identity will never change. It will always remain the city of multiple identities, the city whose diversity enables the coming together of different cultures and communities, an opportunity for people from all national and cultural backgrounds to experience each other’s languages, to taste each other’s traditional food and all together, to leave a striking mark in a magnificent London landscape.