Linguistics - Database of London's Languages


UCL Database of London's Languages


Are you a native speaker of a language other than English?

Linguistic Research

Access to native speakers of various languages is vital to research carried out in linguistics. Often, a researcher needs to find out:

  • If a native speaker thinks certain sentences are possible in his/her language
  • How a native speaker would express certain meanings
  • What a native speaker understands a sentence to mean
  • How a native speaker would pronounce words or phrases

Up until now, linguists have relied upon personal acquaintances and those of colleagues to find speakers. But where lesser-known languages are concerned or large numbers of speakers are required, this method often fails.


Languages in London

A recent survey by the CiLT National Centre for Languages reports that at least 232 languages are currently in use by London's school children. Given the wide range of languages involved, the relative proximity of the speakers and the fact that these languages are spoken in living communities, London's languages are an asset to linguistic research. Unfortunately, these languages are scarely accessible as no data of individual speakers are available. It seems wasteful that linguists at UCL and at other universities do not have access to native speakers who may actually be living at an easy distance from them.


The Database

To take advantage of London's unique linguistic potential, we are building up a database of the capital's language speakers. If you are a native speaker of a language other than English, being listed on this database would mean that:

  • You are paid for any research in which you participate (at least £10 per hour)
  • You will be contributing to important research in linguistics and related fields.
  • You will enable more information about your language to be documented and preserved.

How it works: 3 Simple steps

  1. You provide us with your contact details. These will be treated confidentially, used solely for academic purposes (not for commercial use) and stored and accessed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
  2. A researcher who wants to find out about your language may contact you.
  3. If you are willing to help (being listed in the database does not mean that you are obliged to take part in research), a mutually convenient time and place for this will be arranged. The researcher will make the payment once you have assisted.

Already, more than 500 native speakers have registered, between them representing over 100 languages.

If you wish to register, please download the form