Countries and Their Languages

The United States is a country founded by immigrants, and even today serves as home to people from all kinds of different backgrounds. Various cultures and languages pervade the United States, and since there is no official language in the country, there is a wide range of languages one can encounter inside the country, with the most widely spoken being: –

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Tagalog
  • Vietnamese
  • Korean
  • German
  • Arabic
  • Russian

The most spoken language in the USA with about 231 million speakers is English, which, despite not being the official language, is recognized as the de facto national language. The next most spoken language in the USA is Spanish, as more and more Spanish speakers have been immigrating to the US over the years. Due to this, almost everything can be offered in Spanish, and more and more high school students are choosing to take Spanish as their foreign language.

Chinese, with over 3 million speakers, owes its recognition in the USA due to the Gold Rush of the 1800s, during which many Chinese immigrants moved to California. San Francisco became the first city to have a Chinatown – an area with a high concentration of Chinese-Americans – and today there are dozens of Chinatowns all over the country, with some of the major ones being those in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle and Honolulu. Many varieties of Chinese are spoken in the USA, including Cantonese and Mandarin as the most widely-represented dialects.

French is the next most spoken language in the US, with over 1.3 million speakers. Other than French, French Creole – a mix of West African languages and traditional French – is also widely represented with its 700,000 speakers. One of the least known languages spoken in the USA is Tagalog. Tagalog is often called Filipino since Tagalog actually evolved into Filipino, which is the national language of The Philippines. Tagalog is the 5th most widely spoken language in the USA with approximately 1.6 million speakers, most of which live in California, New York, and Hawaii. Next on the list of most spoken languages in the USA is Vietnamese. This is due to the fact that many Vietnamese immigrants came to the US after the Vietnam War. Today, approximately 1.4 million Vietnamese speakers can be found all over the USA, with California being home to the largest majority of them.

Korean is also a very widely spoken language within the US, with approximately 1 million Korean speakers currently living in the US – the majority of which reside in California. Even though Korean immigrants have been entering the US since the late 1880s, the largest influx came after the Korean War ended and restrictions to Asian immigrations were lifted in 1965. The rise of Korean entertainment industry – mainly K-pop and Korean dramas – as well as Korean food, has also played a great role in the popularization of Korean culture in the recent years, which is why many young people nowadays are also deciding to start learning Korean language.

German is the next most spoken language in the US, which was first introduced to the US when colonies were established. After the World Wars, however, a decline in the number of German speakers occurred, as speaking German was seen as unpatriotic. This notion has since gone away and today there are about 1 million German speakers in the US. Arabic has nearly one million speakers in the US as well, with the most heavily concentrated areas of Arabic speakers residing in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Apart from these — although not as widely spoken as the previously listed languages – at around 825,000 speakers, Russian is also one of the most represented languages in the US and one of the most well-recognized languages due to its media presence.


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