London Language

We couldn’t write about Pygmalion without acknowledging the fact that language in London is ever-changing. Covent Garden Market was a melting pot of different peoples from all over London and the world, and certainly the costermongers, porters and flower-sellers had a language that wouldn’t have sounded dissimilar from their cockney neighbours.

London has always attracted people from all over the world; there is evidence of Arabs in the UK since pre-Roman times, Jews from the 11th century and Africans from the early 16th century. However, since the Second World War immigration has had the most impact on London, influencing how Londoners speak today. Larger-scale post-war immigration began as the result of labour shortages. Britain invited people from her former colonies to come and fill the holes in the workforce, attracting people from the Caribbean, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. From the early 21st century, EU migration - largely from Eastern Europe - has brought new communities to the capital.   

Today, London continues to draw in people from many countries, creating an ever-changing language, reflected in the speech patterns of the young residents of this global capital.

Page link: Cockney Rhyming Slang
Cockney Rhyming Slang
An iconic vernacular
Page link: Jafaican
The emergence of Multicultural London English