Mandarin had overtaken Arabic and Greek to become the most common language spoken other than English in Sydney and Melbourne, according to a new snapshot of multilingualism in Australia's biggest city.
An anthology titled Multilingual Sydney maps out how the city is a melting pot of cultures and as such, languages.
Macquarie University's Dr Alice Chik, one of the book's co-editors, told SBS News the number of people speaking Mandarin in Sydney had increased by 71 per cent between 2011 and 2016.
In Sydney, Mandarin speakers now make up 4.7 per cent of the city's residents, followed by Arabic at 4 per cent, then Cantonese, Vietnamese and Greek.
In Melbourne, just over 4 per cent speak Mandarin, but that is well ahead of Greek at 2.4 per cent and Italian and Vietnamese, both at 2.3 per cent.
Yet, the fastest-growing language group in Sydney is the Indian languages.
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