The United States has never had a single “official” language. While English is broadly accepted accepted as the common tongue and typically used in schooling as well as government documents, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Spanish is also used frequently across the country — but there are a lot more languages than that at play throughout the States.
Andy Kiersz and Ivan De Luce at Business Insider crunched some data based on the individual-level responses from the 2017 American Community Survey assembled and published by the Minnesota Population Center’s Integrated Public Use Microdata Series program, to find out what other languages are most commonly used in the United States.
America as a multilingual nation: “This map shows the most commonly spoken language in every US state, excluding English and Spanish”, by Andy Kiersz and Ivan De Luce, Business Insider (1/18/20): (NOTE: I will refer to languages other than English and… https://t.co/VkvPxbYqiC pic.twitter.com/aHYI6QpfLH
— Language Log (@LanguageLog) January 23, 2020
There are a lot of thought-provoking takeaways from the data as presented here. Some things may seem obvious — there’s a lot of French, of course, particularly in Louisiana and the states that border eastern Canada. While I didn’t know that Tagalog was as popular in California and Nevada until now, I can’t say I’m surprised. The abundance of Haitian Creole in Florida makes sense, too, but its presence in Delaware is much more interesting. As someone with an interest in indigenous tongues after colonization, it’s somewhat comforting to see that Ilocano, Aleut-Eskimo, and Dakota/Lakota/Nakota/Sioux languages are all still hanging on. And while I knew that Pennsylvania Dutch was a still thing, I genuinely didn’t realize it was still thriving that much.
What you strikes you the most on here?
Language Log: America as a Multilingual Nation [Victor Mair / UPenn Linguistic Data Consortium]
This map shows the most commonly spoken language in every US state, excluding English and Spanish [Andy Kiersz and Ivan De Luce / Business Insider]