How the Main Languages are distributed in Lewisham Schools

The maps in this section are based on the April 2012 School Census, presented at Middle Super Output Area level, for languages with 150 or more speakers. The divisions vary from language to language depending on the total number of speakers in Lewisham, so “high” numbers for one language might in absolute terms be quite low compared to another language. They are presented in order of Geozone used in the tables in the previous section.

International Languages
The following map shows the distribution of French speakers.

The greatest concentrations of French-speaking children are in the South of Telegraph Hill and the East of New Cross, and there are substantial numbers in Evelyn, Brockley, Lewisham Central, Rushey Green, Perry Vale, Catford South, and Whitefoot wards also.

The following map shows the distribution of Spanish speakers.

The greatest concentrations of Spanish-speaking children are in New Cross, Evelyn, Telegraph Hill, and the South on Perry Vale wards.

The following map shows the distribution of Portuguese speakers.

The greatest concentration of Portuguese-speaking children is in the North West of Brockley ward. There are high concentrations in the other North Lewisham wards, Lewisham Central, and Bellingham wards.

The following map shows the distribution of Arabic speakers.

The greatest concentrations of Arabic-speaking children are in Evelyn and Bellingham wards. There are substantial numbers in the West of Sydenham, the South of Perry Vale, the West of Rushey Green, and the East of Downham wards.

There is a wide variety of dialects of Arabic, which are not always mutually intelligible when spoken, but all of which use the same written script. Local data includes speakers of Algerian, Iraqi, Moroccan, Sudanese and Yemeni Arabic, as well as those unspecified. This accounts for four of the five main Arabic Language Groups (Arabian Peninsula, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Maghrebi).

This map shows all speakers of Arabic, as numbers of individual dialects are too small to present separately. The majority of those in Evelyn are North African (Algeria, Morocco, Sudan); those in Bellingham tend to be Middle Eastern (Iraqi, Yemeni).

European Languages
The following map shows the distribution of Albanian speakers.

Albanian is spoken in Albania, Kosovo, and other areas of the Balkans. The greatest concentrations of Albanian-speaking children are in the South East of Evelyn and New Cross, and the West of Whitefoot wards. There are substantial numbers in the North West of Evelyn, the South of Bellingham, and where Forest Hill borders Sydenham.

EU Languages
The following map shows the distribution of Polish speakers.

The greatest concentration of Polish-speaking speakers is in Lewisham Central, Crofton Park, and Perry Vale ward, with substantial numbers in parts on Catford South, Downham, and Grove Park.

 

East/Southern/Central Africa languages
The following map shows the distribution of Akan speakers.

Akan is spoken in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. There are several dialects or sub-languages. Lewisham data records Fante, Twi-Asante and Twi-Asante. These are generally mutually intelligible when spoken, but only since 1978 has there been a common orthography for all the Akan languages.

The greatest concentration of Akan-speaking children is in North Lewisham, with substantial numbers in the South of Telegraph Hill and Crofton Park

 

North African Languages
The following map shows the distribution of Somali speakers.

Somali is spoken in Somalia, Djibouti, and western parts of Ethiopia and Kenya. The greatest concentration of Somali-speaking children is in Evelyn, New Cross, and Telegraph Hill wards, with substantial numbers in the West of Downham.

 

West African Languages
The following map shows the distribution of Yoruba speakers.

Yoruba is spoken in Nigeria, Benin and Togo. The greatest concentrations of Yoruba-speaking children are in Evelyn, New Cross and Telegraph Hill wards. There are substantial numbers in areas bordering the A21 and the South Circular roads.

The following map shows the distribution of Igbo speakers.

Igbo is the predominant language of South East Nigerian, though there is a wide diaspora. The Igbo people are predominantly Christian. In Lewisham the greatest concentrations are in New Cross and Catford South, with substantial numbers in Evelyn, the South of Lewisham Central, and the East of Rushey Green wards.

 

South Asian Languages
The following map shows the distribution of Tamil speakers.

Tamil is spoken in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in India, and in Sri Lanka. It is also an official language in Singapore and is spoken by substantial minorities in Malaysia and Mauritius. In Lewisham Tamil-speaking children are concentrated in the South East of the Borough, particularly in Whitefoot and Catford South Wards.

The following map shows the distribution of Urdu speakers.

Urdu is a register of the Hindi-Urdu language associated with Muslims in South Asia. It is the national language of Pakistan, and widely spoken in India. Urdu and Hindi are mutually intelligible when spoken, but when written Urdu uses a style of the Persian alphabet and Hindi is written in Devanagari. For social, political and religious reasons, speakers of the two languages often assert they are completely different languages.

The greatest concentration of Urdu-speaking children is in Catford South, followed by Ladywell and Crofton Park wards.

The following map shows the distribution of Bengali (non-Sylheti) speakers.

Bengali is spoken in Bangladesh, where most people are Muslims, and in West Bengal, Tripura, and parts of several other Indian states, where the majority are Hindus. In contrast to most of London, where most Bangladeshis speak Sylheti as their mother tongue, only a small number of Sylheti speakers are recorded in Lewisham schools, and a much larger number of Bengali speakers. Sylheti is sometimes regarded as a dialect of Bengali, but they are mutually unintelligible, and Sylheti may be written in its own Nagari script. Sylheti speakers have therefore been excluded from this map.

The greatest concentrations of Bengali-speaking children in Lewisham are in the East of New Cross, the North of Perry Vale, and in Downham ward.

 

West/Central Asian Languages
The following map shows the distribution of Turkish speakers.

The greatest concentration of Turkish-speaking children is in Whitefoot ward, followed by Bellingham.

 

East Asian languages
The following map shows the distribution of Chinese speakers.

Local data records:

  • Cantonese - the main language of Hong Kong and Macau;
  • Mandarin (Putonghua, Hanyu) - the official language of the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and of Singapore;
  • Hokkien/Fujianese (spoken in South East Asia and Taiwan), and
  • Chinese Other (including Hakka, widely spoken in South East Asia) separately. These are not mutually intelligible as spoken so are generally regarded in the West as distinct languages which share a common written language. Even within the written language, in Singapore and the People’s Republic of China simplified Chinese characters are used, while in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan traditional characters are preferred. If this data is used for distribution of printed material or location of interpreting services, therefore, it should be supplemented by more detailed investigation of national origin.

Chinese-speaking children in Lewisham are heavily concentrated in North Lewisham, especially the East of Evelyn and New Cross, and in Lewisham Central wards.

The following map shows the distribution of Vietnamese speakers.

Vietnamese speakers are heavily concentrated in Evelyn and New Cross wards.

 

Caribbean languages
The following map shows the distribution of Caribbean Creole (English) speakers.

Caribbean Creole speaking children are concentrated in Lewisham Central and Ladywell wards, with some also in the South of Brockley and the West of Whitefoot. According to Goldsmiths University2,there are 29 countries in the Caribbean which have, in addition to their official language, one or more Creole languages that are used as part of everyday life. Caribbean Creole may therefore be a portmanteau term subsuming several different languages.

 

 

References

  1. Goldsmiths, University of London

 

 

 

 

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