WebHeader_Grove.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support NHPR and the NH Food Bank this holiday season.

The Immigrant Languages Of New York City

People walk in East Harlem on September 16, 2015 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
People walk in East Harlem on September 16, 2015 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Ahead of this week’s primary in New York, Here & Now’s Robin Young visited East Harlem on New York City’s far Upper East Side for a class on endangered languages. She also stopped by a number of different neighborhoods to hear some of the immigrant languages and dialects spoken in the city.

“Everybody wants their children to continue their culture, but the fear is even more serious when the culture itself is not being passed down even back home,” said Daniel Kaufman, professor of linguistics at the Graduate Center of the University of New York. “It can become illegal to speak your language. Children can be beaten in school if they’re caught speaking their language.”

Kaufman is founder of the Endangered Language Alliance, which is working to identify and record dying languages (hear some of the languages on ELA’s YouTube page).

“There were so many people in the city really eager to share their languages with us. People in their own countries, oftentimes they’ve never even heard of their language, so to find someone in New York who cares, it can be something significant for them,” Kaufman said.

Hear Some Of The Endangered Languages

[Youtube]

[Youtube]

[Youtube]

[Youtube]

[Youtube]

Reporter

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.