Americans - Language

Language

Languages (2007)
English (only) 225.5 million
Spanish, incl. Creole 34.5 million
Chinese 2.5 million
French, incl. Creole 2.0 million
Tagalog 1.5 million
Vietnamese 1.2 million
German 1.1 million
Korean 1.1 million

English is the de facto national language. Although there is no official language at the federal level, some laws—such as U.S. naturalization requirements—standardize English. In 2007, about 226 million, or 80% of the population aged five years and older, spoke only English at home. Spanish, spoken by 12% of the population at home, is the second most common language and the most widely taught second language. Some Americans advocate making English the country's official language, as it is in at least twenty-eight states. Both Hawaiian and English are official languages in Hawaii by state law.

While neither has an official language, New Mexico has laws providing for the use of both English and Spanish, as Louisiana does for English and French. Other states, such as California, mandate the publication of Spanish versions of certain government documents. The latter include court forms. Several insular territories grant official recognition to their native languages, along with English: Samoan and Chamorro are recognized by American Samoa and Guam, respectively; Carolinian and Chamorro are recognized by the Northern Mariana Islands; Spanish is an official language of Puerto Rico.

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Famous quotes containing the word language:

    Strange goings on! Jones did it slowly, deliberately, in the bathroom, with a knife, at midnight. What he did was butter a piece of toast. We are too familiar with the language of action to notice at first an anomaly: the ‘it’ of ‘Jones did it slowly, deliberately,...’ seems to refer to some entity, presumably an action, that is then characterized in a number of ways.
    Donald Davidson (b. 1917)

    Any language is necessarily a finite system applied with different degrees of creativity to an infinite variety of situations, and most of the words and phrases we use are “prefabricated” in the sense that we don’t coin new ones every time we speak.
    David Lodge (b. 1935)

    Was there a little time between the invention of language and the coming of true and false?
    Mason Cooley (b. 1927)