MLM research finds that children’s first names in Manchester mirror diversity of city

Girls in Manchester are more likely than boys to have ‘unique’ names, and the names given to children are likely to reflect parents’ home languages and cultures, according to a new study carried out by Multilingual Manchester.

Amy Portwood asked 120 local mothers about the names given to their children born between 2010- 2015 (now aged between two and six). She identified 160 names, almost two thirds of which did not appear on the Office for National Statistics’ list of top 100 names for the year in which the child was born. They were therefore classified as ‘unique’.

The names of Manchester children reflect the city’s language and cultural diversity. Mothers who speak a language other than English in the home are more likely to give their children a ‘unique’ name. Of the children surveyed, 42.5% had mothers who stated a language other than English was spoken in the home, and of those 83% had a ‘unique’ name.

Sixteen languages other than English were identified as home languages, with Urdu and Arabic being the most common. With few exceptions, children whose families spoke another language in the home had a name that derived from that language. Among children from Arabic speaking households, almost 90% had Arabic names. This suggests that naming is an important way for parents to maintain their cultural heritage.

More information on the study is available here:

Amy’s full report is available here:

Levenshulme Language Day 2017

Join us for a free family-friendly day of activities to celebrate Manchester’s many languages and cultures!

Levenshulme Language Day 2017 will take place at The Klondyke Club, Arcadia Library and Levenshulme Market. Activities include language taster sessions, stalls, performances, crafts and games for children, world music, international food, and more.

For more information or to get involved, please contact and see flyers below for further details.


New MLM report: ‘Brexit: A risk assessment for language provision in Manchester’

Research by Multilingual Manchester has found that leaving the European Union may reduce levels of support for the teaching of English as an additional language, due to the withdrawal of EU funding.

The new report, compiled by Dr Amelia Abercrombie through a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council, finds that provisions such as English classes for new arrivals are likely to be at direct risk. Others, such as interpretation for access to key services, may be in danger if current EU legislation and recommendations are not maintained.

The report also expresses concern that the public discourse surrounding Brexit may disadvantage provisions for language learning and language skills, which could have a negative effect on Britain’s global outreach.

More information is available here:

The full report is available to read here:

‘Revitalising Burnley Central’: Creating multilingual artwork with local schoolchildren

The Multilingual Manchester team have been working with a group of schoolchildren from Burnley to help them design artwork featuring community languages that will revitalise their local train station.

The team delivered activities on the theme of community languages and the railway to children from St Peter’s CoE Primary School. The programme gave pupils the opportunity to find out more about languages spoken in the area and to share their language skills with one another.

The Young Arts Arriva project, facilitated by Community Rail Lancashire, saw pupils take part in a sensory train journey and station tour to learn more about the railway. The class shared and learned words about train travel in a range of languages, including Urdu, Chinese, Hungarian and Spanish. Pupils’ families were invited to join the activities and offered further support with their language skills.

The group worked with a local artist, Alastair Nicholson, to create the final artwork that is now on display in Burnley Central Station.

A short film about the project, by Gravel and Sugar Productions, is available to view here.


‘Modern languages must reform’

Modern Linguists must craft their own reforms to reclaim the future of their discipline, write professors Stephen Hutchings and Yaron Matras. They call on universities to develop a compelling vision for Modern Languages research and teaching, and to capitalise on the immense value of the multilingual communities in which large universities are located.

Read the full version here:

A shorter version appeared in THE and can be accessed here: