Thursday, June 17, 2004

Census data maps out Nashville's linguistic diversity

"Nashville’s prestigious 37205 ZIP code that includes the upscale Belle Meade area has 414 residents who speak Spanish, 48 speakers of Japanese and 25 speakers of Thai."

"Thanks to the Modern Language Association’s new Language Map Data Center, anyone on the Internet can see a breakdown of the top languages spoken in their state, their county or their ZIP code, based on 2000 Census data."

"While 457,993 Nashvillians speak English, 51,429 speak other languages, according to the data."

"'I think it’s really important to realize how diverse we are as a nation,' said Janice Rodriguez, director of the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute. 'We have to recognize and appreciate all the cultures that have made us the United States.'"

"MLA and local officials said it was possible that certain groups were underrepresented in the data."

"'Census data can be dated, as well as not fully reflective of the community,' Rodriguez said. 'Census numbers for Spanish speakers (in Nashville) don’t reflect what social service agencies are finding.'"

The Tennessean, Modern Language Association

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