I agree with the sentiment of Melanie McDonagh that “Languages mustn’t become the preserve of the rich” (4th Feb 2021) in the Evening Standard recently but the reality is many more are spoken in the homes and schools of London, then is readily acknowledged.
In 2000, Baker & Eversley’s survey of 896,000 children in London, reported over 300 home languages spoken. Since then you can clearly add many modern European languages as well like Polish etc. With the 2021 Census, just around the corner we will no doubt get an update on this front.
Whatever the count, it is time we celebrated this linguistic diversity of Londoners on the forthcoming 21st of February, UNESCO International Mother Language Day and promote multilingualism. A skill we will need more so in the new world, outside of the EU as we evolve to Global Britain.