Manchester is the most linguistically diverse city in Europe

Here is an interesting article in today’s Guardian, especially for those of us resident in Manchester. 

Apparently, Manchester is the most linguistically diverse city in Europe and is second only to New York in the world. Linguists at University of Manchester have discovered at least 153 different languages spoken in the city, with Prof. Yaron Matras suggesting the true figure could be even higher.

It is reported that a variety of rare languages are spoken in the city including Chitrali from northern Pakistan, Konkani from western India, Dagaare from Ghana, and Uyghur from north-western China. The city also attracts increasing numbers of European citizens. 

Around two-thirds of Mancunian schoolchildren are bilingual and, with a population of half a million – a fraction the size of London – Manchester clearly punches above its weight in terms of number of languages spoken.

It is often stated, with little more than anecdotal backing, that the world is on Manchester’s doorstep. Yet here is the proof that those who make such casual remarks so desperately hoped existed. Much more importantly, what a spur this should be to all Christians in the Manchester area.

God has presented us with a unique opportunity to reach plethora of linguistic groups and cultures. What better way to ‘make disciples of all nations’ than by reaching those nations and linguistic groups on our doorstep? How much more likely are such people to return to their own countries and share the gospel there, having first heard it in Manchester? How many countries and cultures would be positively affected by the gospel if we, in Manchester, made a concerted effort to reach the various nationalities in this city?

Praise God for this unique chance to share the gospel with all the world without having to leave the confines of our own city! Let’s just make sure we don’t squander the opportunity. The world may have come to us but of what value is that if, far from going into ‘all the world’, we can’t even be bothered to make it into our own city?