More than 50 languages found on signs in Manchester

An Arabic sign in the south of the city Credit: linguasnapp

More than 50 different languages have been identified on signs in Manchester.

Urdu, Chinese, Arabic and Polish make up the majority after English, reflecting the size of the populations that speak these languages.

But Kurdish, Persian, Czech and Somali signs are increasing in numbers due to new businesses being set up by people from these backgrounds.

In a sample of more than 1,000 items, a team from the University of Manchester counted 51 different languages written in 16 different alphabets on signs including posters, billboards, and leaflets.

A Pakistani restaurant sign Credit: linguasnapp

Professor Yaron Matras, who led the project, said: "The great variety of languages in Manchester's linguistic landscape shows that minority languages play an important role in a city's commerce, as well as in its culture and public services.

"It shows that the people who speak these languages feel at home in Manchester and are confident to display their heritage and that the city's public institutions make an effort to be inclusive.

"We hope that many more residents will engage with LinguaSnapp and help us to document the ever-changing public face of the city's language landscapes."

A sign outside a synagogue in Salford Credit: linguasnapp

The researchers used a specially developed smartphone app called LinguaSnapp to take pictures of signs and record their location and other details.

Manchester is one of the country's most diverse cities, where 37% of schoolchildren speak another language in addition to English, according to the university.

It is estimated that more than half of the city's adult population is multilingual, with about 17% declaring on the 2011 Census that their main language was something other than English.