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Languages in the USA

Which languages are spoken in the US? Most people think directly of English. This is certainly the most important language in the United States. But what other languages are spoken there?

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Estimated reading time:2minutes

American English

In the USA, people speak English. This is certain. American English. This is in part very different from British English and is considered standard alongside it. In fact, however, there is no set official language at federal level in the US. However, for 82% of the US population, English is the first language and in any case the main language of communication.

Allochthonous languages

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the USA. Especially in areas with high Latino populations, such as states bordering Mexico, many people speak it as a first language. For many young US Americans without a Spanish-speaking background, Spanish is their first foreign language. In the southwestern states of the United States, many people are bilingual.

Furthermore, Cantonese is widely spoken in the USA, especially in California. 

French is mainly represented in Maine and Louisiana. This variety also has its own peculiarities, which are not found in France, for example. 

In North and South Dakota, German is widespread alongside English. In addition, there is Pennsylvania Deitsch, which is based on Palatine and spoken in example by the Amish. 

Furthermore, the USA is and remains a melting pot, with many people immigrating from many different countries. Thus, there are also Italian-speaking, Polish-speaking, Greek-speaking or Russian-speaking communities there. Tagalog, Vietnamese and Hawaiian (in the state of Hawaii; autochthonous; threatened with extinction) are also spoken by over 1,000,000 people in the USA. In addition, Yiddish is spoken by about 137000 people, especially in New York State.

Autochthonous languages

In addition to the numerous allochthonous language communities, there are also several autochthonous, indigenous languages that were spoken in the USA before the arrival of the European settlers. These include Apache, Cherokee, Navajo, Yupik and Dakota, to name but a few. These differ greatly from each other. Before colonisation, there were even more languages that have already died out.  

From a linguistic point of view, the USA or North America as a whole is the most diverse area in the world. Were you aware of this? Which of these languages do you speak?





Sources: (04.07.2022, 11:46) (04.07.2022, 11:52)


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