Conversations were still bubbling when Afua Atta-Mensah took the microphone and welcomed everybody to the African Community Town Hall, held in the basement of the Bronx Museum of the Arts this month.
“Ete sen?” Ms. Atta-Mesah, the program moderator, shouted in one of Ghana’s primary language groups, Twi. The crowd of 300 cheered. She had simply asked, “What’s up?”
According to a new report released last month by the United States Census Bureau, more than 192 languages are spoken in the New York metropolitan area, making the city the most linguistically diverse in the country. The rise in African languages significantly contributes to this panoply, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the Bronx. According to the Census Bureau, more than 16 African languages are spoken in the Bronx, a number that is quite likely far lower than what is actually spoken in homes in the borough, linguists say. In West Africa alone there are more than 800 languages.
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