Studying is a big part of what it takes to become a fully-fledged linguaphile but the other part, often overlooked, is practising our language skills regularly. It is argued that without the opportunity to put a language to use on a regular basis, one can forget what they’ve learnt.
Based on the world’s most spoken and fastest growing languages*, language learning app Preply’s cultural hotspots study reveals where one will find the largest diasporas per language (culture), thus posing the best environment to learn and retain a language.
For 45 major UK towns/cities, the research (normalised per capita) factors in the number of speakers per language, number of native amenities (restaurants, grocery stores, community centres), number of language learning institutions and their average rating.
Overall top cultural hotspots
Although London will always remain as one of the UK’s top cities for the variety of cultures present, based on the world’s most spoken and fastest growing languages, London has been dethroned by none other than the city of Cambridge.
Cambridge ranks as the country’s top overall cultural hotspot as a result of the city being home to the most top foreign language speakers and the third best choice of native amenities (per capita). Oxford and Manchester, follow in second and third place respectively.
London still ranks respectably in seventh place, as it boasts the second highest amount of foreign language speakers (per capita). However, the UK capital is lacking where native amenities are concerned, placing in 18th, with only 108 native amenities per 100,000 residents. The remaining top ten cultural hotspots include Bristol, Leicester Newcastle Upon Tyne, Nottingham, Norwich, and Reading.
Top cultural hotspots per language (culture)
Once you see which city places top per language, you’ll see why Cambridge secures the overall top spot, as it’s revealed that it is the top hotspot for not one, not two, not three of the languages analysed, but 10 of them. The city places first for Mandarin, Spanish, French and Arabic, among others.
Apart from boasting the highest number of speakers per language and a great choice of native amenities (per capita), Cambridge’s high score is also owed to its’ infamous educational institutions. The city possesses the 2nd best choice of language schools (per capita), beaten only by Oxford and the average rating for language schools in the city is a very high 4.79 stars.
Looking at the top three best cultural hubs per language (culture), Nottingham also reveals itself as a multicultural hub, placing among the top three for six of the languages including Dutch, Italian and German. Other top contenders include Oxford and Ipswich which place among the top three hotspots for five of the languages analysed.
Immersing ourselves in a multicultural environment can prove to be a great way to enrich our language learning and cultural education, with the bonus of becoming part of a new community. Preply’s research proves that you don’t just have to stick to London alone to be among the UK’s top cultural hotspots.