The Most Commonly Spoken Language of Each State (That’s Not English or Spanish)

Liz Klimas, The Blaze, May 15, 2014

{snip}

Ben Blatt for Slate crafted maps that show a breakdown of the most commonly spoken languages in the country, based on information from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Map

On a state level, though Spanish is the overwhelming second-runner up to English, this is not necessarily the case in every state. French, German and a couple others have made their mark as well.

Map2

{snip}

The Census Bureau estimates that Spanish speakers in the United States could grow to 43 million by 2020, up from 38 million who already reported speaking the language in 2012.

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  • It’s only because the German language has been all but wiped out as a secondary language among German-Americans that in my state, Missouri, Spanish is more common than German as an other-than-English home language. Missouri has very few Hispanics.

    • JohnEngelman

      My father was born in this country. So were his parents. Dad could speak German before he could speak English.

      • My second language is German.

        • JohnEngelman

          Good for you. I studied German in college, but I never mastered it.

          • My third is Gaelic. My high school girlfriend wished she had been Welsh.

          • Alexandra1973

            My son has Welsh from his paternal grandmother’s side. 🙂 German from me and his dad.

          • Rosenmops

            My granny spoke Gaelic. She was born Scotland around 1890. When she came to western Canada in 1912 there were quite a few other Gaelic speakers around ( I know this from various family stories) but it has completely vanished now and it has been forgotten that Gaelic was ever spoken in this part of the world.

          • One of my old bosses, Larry McMillan grew up in U.P. Michigan speaking Gaelic as his first language.

          • MBlanc46

            It’s rough. All the endings and the verbs at the end. I found the romance languages somewhat easier.

          • Einsatzgrenadier

            In that case, you might agree with what Mark Twain had to say about learning “that awful German language”:

            My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it.

          • MBlanc46

            I gave it several years. I’m pretty sure that even after 30 years I’d have only an elementary grasp of the language. But perhaps I’m overestimating the difficulty.

    • Sick of it

      The descendants of various German settlers in Louisiana have also forgotten the old language, but only in the past few generations.

  • sbuffalonative

    Hispanics seem to be the only group I see that demands their children be taught ‘in their native language’.

    • Alexandra1973

      As far as I’m concerned they can learn in their native language–in their native land.

      • sbuffalonative

        I agree.

        My point, which I didn’t get across, was that Hispanics seems to be the ONLY group making this demand.

        If others are speaking their ‘native’ language at home, I can’t do anything about it. I don’t like it or support it but I can’t stop it.

        But Hispanics never shut up about ‘our language’.

        • Alexandra1973

          I know, I was just throwing in my two-dollars’ worth (adjusted for inflation).

          One thing I’d love to see…press 2 for Spanish…then after that a message that says “go back to your own country” or “call back when you’ve learned English.” That’d be hilarious.

          The PC crowd would have an absolute hissy fit.

        • ElComadreja

          I’ve seen Hispanics that have been here thirty years or more and can’t speak English with any degree of fluency.

          • They’re everywhere. I’ve known several who’ve lived here 10 years or longer and don’t even know basic words. They all live together and work little manual labor jobs together.

          • SentryattheGate

            South Florida has signs in Spanish only; even street signs by the state Dept.of Transportation! Not even bilingual! So much for diversity and tolerance; it’s one-sided!

        • SentryattheGate

          Linguists say that Spanish is a “dying language” because it varies so much between Spanish speakers in different countries. That’s why English (being very precise) is the language of commerce and medicine in the Spanish-speaking world. A university researcher told me that one needs English, Russian or German if you’re going into graduate school, as that is where most research data comes from.

    • borogirl54

      Every other immigrant group learned English and did not demand to be taught in their native language.

      • Zimriel

        The French in Louisiana and the various Indian nations occasionally piped up about being taught in their native tongues. But then, they weren’t immigrants.

        • MBlanc46

          Actually, the French in LA were immigrants.

          • Zimriel

            They were immigrants to New France, not to the Colonies / US. That was my point.

          • MBlanc46

            Kicked out of Canada by the British and from Haiti, for the most part.

    • MikeofAges

      As far as I know, Hispanic parents want their children to learn English. Maybe the lowest strata doesn’t care. But the rest know better. Hispanic parents never supported bi-lingual education in California. Like many things, bi-lingual education started out with good intentions.

      The original intention of bi-lingual education was to make sure that young children from deprived homes who came into the school system knowing only Spanish, and quite often not enough of that for their age, learned numbers and picked up the ideas such as that colors and days had names, and the like. Bi-lingual education quickly morphed into another race hustler racket, which in California was ended only when the voters put an end to it with an initiative passed in 1998. Because I worked as a small town newspaper report, I had contact with the high school students in a California town. Some of the Hispanic students, it seemed to me, had problems with English they should not have had in that they had lived in America at least since early childhood. And they did want to learn English and struggled with it. Clearly, they were not mentally inadequate people. Evenutally, I realized that these individuals were the victim of so-called bi-lingual education that I had heard about.

      Some of the victims of bilingual education were consigned to a life of limited education and menial work because of their being forced into this liberal-designed segregation program. The extent of this has never been publicized much. I wonder why? And how come no one ever challenged it under the “Brown v.Topeka” precedent?

      • TruthBeTold

        Go to AR, May 7 for this article:

        California Republicans Vote to Restore “Bilingual Education”

        I remember watching this fight to end bilingual education in CA. The message was that ‘our kids need to learn in our language’.

      • “As far as I know, Hispanic parents want their children to learn English. Maybe the lowest strata doesn’t care.”

        The problem is that the lowest stratum is the largest stratum, it seems.

        • MikeofAges

          There’s low and then there’s low. Even proletarian parents want their children to learn English. They may not always know how to make that happen. Largely, they expect the school system, to do it for them, I imagine. That’s part of the reason why the bilingual education was such a tragedy. It went against what the parents and the students themselves wanted. .

        • Hallie Eva

          Indeed, antique. In my lowest of the low illegal alien swamped Northern California birth town, Mestizo parents send their kids to school with no English skills whatsoever. They have the “I know my rights” gall to DEMAND that lessons be taught in their bastardized Mexican language, or regional dialect.

          • That’s the way it is here, too (Georgia). Their children learning English appears to be more a side effect of being educated by us than an active wish by their illiterate, proudly Mexican parents.

          • Hallie Eva

            Are there any states free of this infestation?
            They give us nothing, demand everything.
            Mexican food may be good, but the problem is, who trusts the food handlers in those restaurants?
            Are we naive enough to rely on the owners having tested them for various diseases? Not I.

      • SentryattheGate

        When I worked in school, I came across 3rd/4th graders, raised in the US, who spoke only Spanish because their Hispanic parents demanded their kids’ education be in Spanish only! Some of these parents were highly educated university research professors! Then they demanded their kids be tutored in English. Our school was paying one-on-one tutors $10/hr. to teach them English! Such selfish, demanding arrogance!

        • MikeofAges

          That is the stance of some obtuse upscale types imitating some of the Chinese in America. The Cupertino (CA) school system conducts elementary classes in Mandarin, although I suppose they also have classes in English for the holdout whites and those ethnic Chinese who do not know Mandarin.

          I can speak authoritatively on this subject because, before I left Santa Clara County in 1997, I lived in a part of West San Jose which was in the Cupertino School District. The building I and my roommate was in consisted of archaic townhouses which were not suitable for the habitation of a middle class family. This was around the time when rents in the San Jose area began to rise to prohibitive levels. Our landlord was a former ARVN officer. Because my roommate was a Vietnam veteran he went out of his way to help us out, giving us several month notice to move and no rent increases, when he could have rented out the townhouse for at least $1000 more than we were paying long before that.

          What happened there was, the units in this building, and other rental units in the area began to be rented by Asian families who did not actually live there, but wanted to have an address within the Cupertino School district so that their children could attend the Cupertino schools, rather than the trash schools of all but a few districts in the Santa Clara Valley. Technically, that they rented these addresses meant nothing if the address was not actually their primary residence. But nothing was done about it. Compare that to the fate of some poor black woman who faked a residence in an upscale district somewhere in the Northeast so that her child, who was an actual functional student, would not have to attend a trash school. She was prosecuted and jailed, even though white parents who did the same thing were merely billed for out of district tuition. I’m sure she could have raised the money once her story got out.

          The upscale Spanish-speaking parents

    • kikz2

      and they got their demands met too…………i’m surprised the US hasn’t accommodated them w/respect to road signage such as the Quebecois in non-French Canada. ebonics is running a close second….. as academic demand for conformity to standard English for facilitators/students in Composition and other classes wanes……….

    • Neuday

      The Hispanics are the only group actively seeking to conquer our country. They are infiltrators.

      • Nonhumans

        Yeah but once the economy collapses (again) and the libtards and govt cant protect them theyll be easy to remove.

      • Hallie Eva

        Neuday, Islams’ goal is a global caliphate, by “any means, for as long as it takes,” to quote their leaders. They are going at it more gradually, but if we do not awaken, it is a possibility. Stealth jihad in the West, as the Muslim Brotherhood have named it.

  • MekongDelta69

    To repeat my comment from yesterday:

    In what country are we living?

    • Ahnenerbe ᛟ

      Star Trek

      • Alexandra1973

        Ironically “Federation Standard” appeared to be English.

        • Some of my college friends became lost outside a “Star Trek” convention in Japan. They were able to ask for – and receive – directions only because they spoke Klingon.

          • Brutus

            Das ist ganz toll!

          • Do itashimashite. Nani mo.

          • WhiteGuyInJapan

            How’s Klingon grammar? Japanese is relatively easy to learn.

  • Alexandra1973

    Lot of Amish in Ohio, that could be a reason for German being a commonly spoken language.

    But at least they speak English in public. I couldn’t care less if you speak pig Latin at home.

    • Brutus

      Lutherans from Missouri to the Dakotas commonly used German in church until the 20s and later — and some still do today.

  • Alexandra1973

    Not all that surprised about seeing Arabic for Michigan. Muslims are setting up shop in Detroit.

    Even back in the 70s and 80s I was accustomed to seeing Arabs working at party (convenience) stores.

    • r j p

      Dearborn is a very Arab.

      • Alexandra1973

        Yeah, one of the western suburbs. But if you get on Google Earth you can see a bunch of mosques in Detroit itself.

        Hamtramck used to be a Polish enclave. Now I hear it’s Arabs.

      • MBlanc46

        You beat me to it but I didn’t see your post until after I’d chimed in.

    • MBlanc46

      Dearborn is crawling with Palestinians. They have some good restaurants there.

    • ElComadreja

      It’s not looking good for the “Murder Mitten”.

  • dukem1

    French in West Virginia?
    Huh?

    • Zimriel

      Melungeon?

    • r j p

      West Virginia high schools offer French class. And there is probably a Frenchie or two at Bethany, Salem, WVU, Wheeling Jesuit College, or Davis & Elkins. Spanish is probably the same. From Wiki: 1.2% of West Virginia’s population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (they may be of any race).

  • Tom Thumb

    I’m really tired of this malarkey about schools and “learning.” There’s an old essay entitled, “Ignorance of the learned.” It’s a great read and hits the nail on the head about all this learning stuff. If you don’t want to read it, there’s always Mark Twain’s famous quote of, “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.”

  • Jim

    Spanish is being railroaded as a “world language” in the schools. When I was in school (many years ago) there was German, French, Spanish and Latin. And the student could decide which one to take. That was pretty common.

    Now, kids in our state are forced to take Spanish in the 6th grade. My kids are going to be taking French next year. Their public school doesn’t even offer German. But it does offer Chinese. The school boards are part of the problem.

    • foundingstockcracker

      In Europe, most speak two languages, many times three. Those that can need instil a desire to learn one of our home languages into their children.

      • Jim

        I have no problem with Spanish as an elective, but forcing kids to take Spanish instead of the language of their choice is part of a governmentally enforced cultural modification program to accommodate immigration. It doesn’t matter to me that Scandinavians are forced to learn English, which makes it easier for American and British tourists. Scandinavia isn’t being overwhelmed by illegals from English speaking countries.

        • IstvanIN

          Nigerians are English speaking.

          • Jim

            But that’s not why Scandinavia has became impressively fluent in English, to accommodate immigrating Nigerians. That IS why American school kids are forced to learn Spanish, to accommodate the Mexican invasion.

        • MBlanc46

          Alas, the Swedes willingly let them in by the tens of thousands.

      • Rurik

        When someone tries to speak Spanish to me, I reply “Ich verstehe nicht”, and follow up with “ne ponimayu”.

        • The last time I visited my alma mater, UC Santa Cruz, I received rude comments in Spanish from a pack of greaseritos. The women were quiet, but the boys – I won’t call them “men” – apparently decided I was some sort of threat to their ill-defined masculinity. I understood every word, but pretended to be confused and replied in Russian, telling them to go eff their mothers: “Yop tvoyu mat”. They quickly became bored.

    • connorhus

      Ya German language classes are disappearing even at the college level. A couple of years after graduating I went back to add a degree which required an additional three credit hours in a foreign language but since my original language credits were in German the college had discontinued those classes and now only offered French and Spanish.

      • Alexandra1973

        I wonder if it’s because in some people’s minds German=Nazi.

        Never mind that Hitler was Austrian.

        I have German ancestry and I’m no anti-Semite.

        • MBlanc46

          As late as my youth–some time ago, now–it was still a major scientific language. I think it’s been pretty much supplanted by English in that regard.

          • German is still the best foreign language for an English-speaking chemist to study.

          • MBlanc46

            That’s what my old chem prof studied. Said he thought he was going to fail the language exam until it dawned on him that the word Shell was the proper name, not a German common noun that he didn’t know.

          • MikeofAges

            Except that, the amount of German needed to read scientific articles is not great. Anybody can pick it up. Anybody smart enough to be a trained scientist or industrial chemist.

        • IstvanIN

          When I was in high school German was the language of science, French the language of diplomacy and Spanish was offered because it is spoken in so many foreign countries.

          • evilsandmich

            I took Spanish in high school because it’s the easiest and most simple foreign language to learn; draw what conclusions that you’d care to from that…

        • MikeofAges

          No. German has just suffered a precipitous decline from its former status as an essential scientific and scholarly language. For awhile, Russian was deemed important. Now, I suppose, Chinese is regarded as the leading language next to English. I believe Chinese will fail, however, for the lack of a phonetic alphabet. Impossible to replace the ideographic character system.

          Middle and high school students should not pushed into studying difficult languages though. People are vulnerable at that age and their skills are undeveloped. I believe some attempt should be made to determine what language a given kid might do the best in. And that the kids should be taught by a method they are likely to succeed with. Poor performance in a language class can be a blot on an otherwise talented person’s record which may derail their academic aspirations entirely.

          Not everybody can listen to, then recall and recite a string of ten syllables that has no meaning to them. In the old days, the emphasis was on reading. That was when what was needed was people who could translate written material

          Later, the emphasis switched to identifying and developing people who could quickly learn enough of a language to conduct basic transactions or to conduct field interrogations in a warfare or occupation situation. This approached was developed to meet the needs of the military primarily.

          It was transferred over to civilian mass education as the aural-lingual or “total immersion” method. It is a failure, largely, except for those few with exceptional aptitude. No one learns a language in school. Those who think they have, when they get to a foreign country, find out that they have not, and end up flying by the seat of their and pulling themselves up by their bootstraps just like everyone else, only slightly aided by their high school experiences and their straight A’s in whatever language they studied. Elijah Muhammad said “Don’t be fooled by the white man’s tricknology”. Might be good advice for us too, sometimes.

      • Jim

        I came to an appreciation of the German language late in life. I wished I’d taken an interest in it earlier and had made an effort to study it. I know nothing about German, other than it’s major cultural and linguistic impact on English. As a student and young adult, the Romance languages seemed more lyrical and elegant to me, so I took French. I’d still like to study Italian.

        • Brutus

          German is worth studying. It’s a better choice than the vulgar romance languages, but the classical languages are at least as good.

        • MBlanc46

          It’s rough to learn, at least for one like myself who doesn’t have the gift of tongues. By the time they get to the verb at the end of the sentence, I’ve forgotten what the subject was. I’ll take French.

          • My high school girlfriend was brilliant at languages: she studied French, German and Spanish. I met her in my German class, and had to basically chase her for an entire year before she would date me. Diane was of Dutch and Scottish ancestry. She was either the smartest pretty girl or the prettiest smart girl in the school. She’s an EPA lawyer now out somewhere near Washington D.C. It is 30 years later, and we’re each married to someone else, but I still love her. I hope she didn’t forget her dream of speaking Gaelic.

          • connorhus

            Trying to speak French makes me cough uncontrollably when I attempt that throat growl thing they got going on.

          • MBlanc46

            Whilst German is generally easier to pronounce than French, the “ch” and the umlauted vowels in German are pretty rough as well.

        • Italian should be pretty easy for you, since you studied French. My sister studied French, and she can easily understand spoken Italian and Spanish for context.

    • Alexandra1973

      When I first started taking Spanish in 7th grade, back in 1985, we were told that Spanish was the second most commonly spoken language in America. As if that were normal.

      My high school offered Spanish, French, and German. I had Spanish *and* French in the 12th grade.

      • IstvanIN

        I have encouraged relatives with young children to get their kids to learn Spanish since that will be the language of our future insect overlords.

      • Jim

        I guess Spanish has become politicized. It is a very interesting language. Don’t like that kids are forced to take it.

      • evilsandmich

        Even back in the eighties Spanish had a bad rep because of those who primarily speak it; barely a step up from speaking ‘jive’ I guess.

  • What no EBONICS ?

  • Kenner

    I have a sinking feeling that a lot of the ‘French’ is actually the Haitian version.

    • Zimriel

      Actually the map accounted for that. Florida had Kreyol where Louisiana / Mississippi had French.

  • IstvanIN

    When I was a kid I might have believed Italian was NJ’s third language, but not today. It must Hindu.

    • SlizzardAjeosshi

      In NJ they never spoke Italian, they spoke some ebonics equivalent of some ugly Southern dialects, utterly incomprehensible to my ears

      • mobilebay

        I’m not surprised that my southern accent would sound “ugly” to someone named SlizzadAjeosshi.

        • SlizzardAjeosshi

          I’m Northern Italian, didn’t want to offend you but Northeners and Southerners are indeed different people, no point in hiding the truth.

          I admit the “ugly” thing was probably unnecessary sometimes regional grievances get the best of me, i apologise

          • mobilebay

            apologies accepted. We southerners are a forgiving lot (except when it comes to the War of Northern Aggression)

          • Alexandra1973

            This Yankee had ancestors in the Union army. But I agree that they were on the wrong side of history.

          • Ringo Lennon

            Sorry you feel that way Alex. Your ancestors would be deeply disappointed in you. They sacrificed more than you know for the country. Never question them.

          • MBlanc46

            Certainly in Chicago, and I suspect in other cities, we got the Sicilians and the Neapolitans.

    • MBlanc46

      I recall the Joel Stein piece in Time in which he rued the fact that the NJ of his youth was now Little Bombay. He got into big trouble.

  • SlizzardAjeosshi

    i strongly suspect they lumped ebonics with English

    • MikeofAges

      Actually, ebonics is a form of English. Although the word ebonics rhymes with phonics, what the word ebonic means is, of or pertaining to the color ebony. I suppose that makes us, then, speakers of ivonic English, English of or pertaining to the color ivory. Jocularly, white bread. Shame that anyone has to adopt the white bread idiom to succeed in America.

      I doubt that there is any standard form of ebonic English, but rather many regional dialects and variations. Some of what is considered ebonic idiom actually is Middle English. I imagine some of the blacks who were brought here early learned Middle English. The word “axe”, when used to mean “ask”, is Middle English. I have heard, way up in the Southern Highlands, there is an unassimilated white population of considerable numbers which still speaks Middle English. I do not know the details of how they live otherwise.

      • SlizzardAjeosshi

        Your post seems to confirm something i always suspected: America must be an incredibly interesting place for a modern linguist

      • The one standard thing about Ebonics is that it’s incomprehensible nonsense.

        • MikeofAges

          It may not be incomprehensible to the people who are speaking it. If they can understand each other, then it is a language. I doubt anyone came communicate complex and technical information in it however. The language used by Rachel Jeantel, the witness in the George Zimmerman trial, probably was close to what ebonic advocates want to call standard ebonics. But it was not in my estimation different enough to be called separate dialect or anything like the historic regional black or ebonic dialects which in fact were a form of English incomprehensible to speakers of standard English. I understood what she was saying. I get it that many people did not like her language, but it was comprehensible to a speaker of standard English. She also helped the defense more than the prosecution in my opinion. Not because her language alienated the jurors. Because of the facts she testified to.

        • Ebonics is a mixture of profanity and baby-talk.

  • Alucard_the_last

    What really pisses me off is job opportunities that say “bi-lingual preferred”. What that really means is ‘English speakers need not apply’. Remember: every single time you go to a government agency and the employees speak with a Spanish accent, an English speaker was denied a job. The official language of Mexico is Spanish yet whenever the subject comes up in America, we are ‘racist’. We need a national language and Spanish isn’t it.

    • MikeofAges

      Except for high end employment, bi-lingual does not mean “knowledge of the language”. What it means is someone of that ethnic group who speaks both the language in question and English..

      Several years ago, I gained some familiarity with the Monterey County (CA) as a market. Bi-lingual in office work does not mean simply that the applicant speaks Spanish. There are Anglo women who know Spanish, and I knew of one personally, but they will not be hired for office jobs. Only gentrified or upwardly mobile Hispanic girls or women will be hired for these office jobs. The reason is very simple.

      Hispanic customers and clients often will not do business with an Anglo-owned company unless the entire office staff is Hispanic. The companies claim business necessity, but business necessity does not require that the entire office staff be bi-lingual, only that some of it is. The problem is, although a business entity cannot legally discriminate, the customers are under so such limitation. In the Monterey and Salinas areas, those are the major cities in Monterey County, I would estimate the number of Hispanic clients of local businesses who do not speak English fluently is no more than 25 percent at the most, and that only at businesses which have a considerable proletarian clientele. The number who do not speak English well enough to conduct business probably is less than 10 percent. Nevertheless, Hispanic clients demand all-Hispanic staffs or they take their business elsewhere. Half bi-lingual, and remember that bi-lingual means bi-lingual and Hispanic, would not be good enough. Having someone who fluent is Spanish but is Anglo and speaks with a norte accent is not good enough. The point is, Spanish is a language of preference for Hispanic customers.

      In these circumstances, the only recourse for native-born English only speakers to is tell the business owners, who very often are Anglo, that they do not accept this situation, and then take their business to service providers and suppliers who do not hire all-Hispanic staffs. Attempting to get some publicity would be a good idea too. This goes against the grain for white Americans, however. White Americans expect things to go their way and go home and sulk when they don’t.

      In the Central California town where I actually lived, I saw many small businesses, such as chiropractic or dental office, or some business with only one office worker begin hire an Hispanic woman as their receptionist. Many of these did not really have the caliber expected of someone in the type of job they had. They nevertheless struggled to do well in a position where really they were in a little over their heads.

      One risk in hiring some large number of people who are on the low end of the qualifications for the job they are in is that they can begin to protect themselves from scrutiny by proactively imputing inadequacies to the customers and clients. No race or ethnic group has a monopoly on that idea. That’s for sure. But it is a risk when you create a situation where a culture can develop in an office or department dealing with the public.

      In the Monterey County area, I never particularly thought that there were any problems with the competence of the all-Hispanic office staffs or any issue with the mistreatment of English speakers, but that’s not the point. The point is, it’s illegal to discriminate beyond the requirements of business necessity. Perish the thought though, that anybody but whitey needs any training in cultural sensitivity or the requirements of discrimination law.

    • Hallie Eva

      Mestizos do not speak Spanish; theirs is a bastardized version, ungrammatical, colloquial, vernacular, whatever one wishes to call it. It is an insult to the language of Spain to refer to Mexico’s language as Spanish.
      Many who come here are illiterate in their own language, or if not illiterate, know nothing of its grammatical rules.

      • Einsatzgrenadier

        There’s a big difference between castellano or Castilian, the language of Cervantes, and the dialect of Spanish spoken in Mexico. For one thing, Mexican Spanish draws a large percentage of its vocabulary from the Indian languages. They also speak with a different accent. It would be more accurate to say that Mexican Spanish is to the Spanish language in Spain as Jamaican English is to the English language in Great Britain.

  • curri

    Funny all those all those states with German as the third language- the median age of the alleged speakers is likely around 80.Same thing with the Polish-speakers of Illinois. There once was a large, vibrant and highly visible Polish community in Chicago, but that was 20-30 years ago.

    In Alabama and Tennessee the German-speakers are likely executives from Germany and their families.

    • SlizzardAjeosshi

      In the early 00’s there was still a vibrant and highly visible Polish community in Chicago, both FOB and American-born

      • curri

        Look in the Chicago Tribune archives for the last 20 years for evidence of a Polish or Polish-American community in Chicago. You’ll have trouble finding a single article.

    • Alexandra1973

      Didn’t Indiana have a lot of Polish immigrants? I had ancestors (not the Polish ones) living in Warsaw, Indiana…in Kosciusko County. My mom said something about there had been a lot of Polish there, since there are places there named after Polish cities.

      I saw that Illinois has a lot of Polish. Interestingly enough, when my Polish ancestors first came to America, according to the census records they were in Illinois…then went to Michigan.

    • MBlanc46

      Still a lot of recent Polish immigrants in the Chicago area. You’d create quite a stir at Old Warsaw in Broadview if you walked in an announced an INS or whatever it calls itself these days) raid.

    • When I was involved in WW-2 battle-reenactment, there was a group of Poles from Denver who came to some events and played as British Army Poles. One guy was an old-timer, but there some young ones as well, and they spoke Polish.

  • mobilebay

    I fully expect any day that “Latinos” will claim the Mayflower heritage and say they were here first.

    • ElComadreja

      I’m amazed the blacks haven’t tried that.

  • Korean guy

    Off topic but,

    Yu Darvish, who plays for the Texas Rangers and is at the moment one of the most feared MLB athletes, was born in Japan. His dad is Iranian and mother is Japanese. He also pitched against team Korea at world baseball classic for team Japan.

    He once went to a Korean restaurant to enjoy a meal in the evening, and he posted a picture of himself, and a picture of his food on his Twitter, and a person in Japan criticized him that he was eating a “loser’s food” and Yu Darvish harshly scolded that person and told the person to grow up. Many people in Korea were obviously disturbed by the person who cricitized Yu Darvish.

    Me…. I love Japanese food as much as I love Korean food and Chinese food. Chinese food tends to be sweeter, and Korean food tends to be a bit spicy.

    • IstvanIN

      Korean cuisine is considered “loser” food. Who knew?

      • Frank Morris

        If kimchi is “loser food,” then I’m a loser. I love that stuff!

        • Capt. Bryant

          Yaki mandu

          • Frank Morris

            Yes, delicious!

        • I make kimchi here using drained Wal Mart sauerkraut with kimchi seasoning. It saves me a lot of work. Korean food is great!

        • IstvanIN

          I am not a fan of oriental food, except for American-Chinese, but find describing a food as loser food a stretch.

  • WR_the_realist

    Navajo and Dakota are native American languages. It’s “Tagalog” that has me saying WTF?

    • curri

      Phillipines

      • IstvanIN

        I think he meant more of a “what the heck” type of comment.

        • The Filipinos use a lot of Spanish Mexican terms as well. I use chipotle in adobo sauce, but this is also a well-loved condiment in the Philippines. The chiles are certainly a New World plant, but both nations know what adobo sauce is. The Spanish ran trade across the Pacific Ocean.

          • CarolinaGem

            I have to say, you are a wealth of information. Thanks for the tip about kimchi.

  • Raymond Kidwell

    The Amish speak a German dialect and English fluently. They use both at school (although sometimes only English). In Louisiana there are a good number of people who are Cajuns and speak French. On the East Coast a lot of educated people like to speak French as a second language. There are also a few German American clubs and occasional German school in America. These people seem to have no problem functioning with English as well. Yet we now have huge influxes of Russians and Spanish people who seem to have trouble learning a second language. Within a generation or two I would guess they will be only speaking English though.

  • ZetaFunction

    What’s meant by “most commonly spoken language”. If it means that it is the language of heritage and may be known by some ethnic group that doesn’t really say much. I know a lot of Filipino Americans and a lot of them may know Tagalog, but they speak English. I don’t know of any large pockets Tagalog-only speakers in the US. Same goes for Vietnamese, Arabic, Korean, etc. They all speak English. (I wish that were true of the Hispanic communities.)

  • ZetaFunction

    But, which way do you think they’d vote? Sadly, European immigration is last thing we need. Europeans are further down the socialist bunny hole than we are.

    • MBlanc46

      But note the rise of anti-immigrant parties in Europe. There is hope.

  • IstvanIN

    That is the way is used to be and still should be.

  • Allan477

    Once, 20 or 30 years ago, I was waiting for a bus on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago and an older man came up to me and asked me something in Spanish. When I could not understand, he spoke to me in German, and I was able to tell him that the bus went where he wanted to go. On the way north I learned that he was a Jew, born in Turkey, whose family had fled to Cuba when he was a child. He had worked with German refugees in a Jewish agency in Havana during WWII. Then he had to flee Cuba when the Communists took over.
    This is the only time I have had to use my German since I came to Chicago almost 50 years ago, but you never know when another language may come in handy.

    • MikeofAges

      You’re lucky it was German. On Lincoln Avenue, you might have run into someone who wanted to speak Klingon. I used to hang out on Lincoln Avenue in early 70s. There was huge central watering hole there called the Oxford Pub. I just read online where someone called it a “4 a.m. booby hatch”. They got that right.

      After many months of hanging around on Lincoln Avenue, I one evening finally realized that I had never gone into the Oxford Pub without already having had at least a drink or two somewhere else. Chicago is such an alcoholic place that one of the approved hangover cures if you are Irish or have Irish friends is to drink a half pint of Jamesons and a bottle of Guinness stout. Know as “hair of the dog (that bit you)”.

      For those not in the know, Chicago had (any probably still has) two categories of liquors licenses, 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. The vast numbers of neighborhood bars and restaurants had 2 a.m. licenses. Only a select number of holes had the more expensive 4 a.m. licenses. On Lincoln Ave, across the street from the Oxford Pub and up at the corner there a neighborhood tavern called Weiss’s, owned an old German guy named Johnny Weiss. Weiss’s closed at 2 a.m. but opened at the earliest allowed hour, 7 a.m. A number of time, we closed the Oxford Pub, hung out for awhile or went to someone’s apartment and then opened Weiss’s. Because few of the people who hung out there were driving, there was literally no limit to our excesses.

      On Saturday night, the taverns were allowed to stay open an extra hour, but could not reopen until noon on Sunday. Carry out liquor also could not be sold until noon on Sunday either. That’s was tough on some people.

  • Nonhumans

    I think the Klingons were an alien race modeled after their females tho.

  • Spikeygrrl

    The most common language (other than English or Spanish) in the Contiguous 48 is “Ebonics.”