World Facts

Does the United States Have an Official Language?

At the federal level, the government of the United States does not maintain an official language.

In the United States over 500 languages have been spoken or rather, are spoken. English is the most commonly used language. American English is in fact the national language of the United States. The second most spoken language is Spanish. Others languages spoken in the United States include French, German, Tagalog, Chinese, Hawaiian, Arabic, and American Sign Language. American Sign Language is the most common sign language. Along with English, Hawaiian is the official language of Hawaii State. Alaska, on the other hand, has made official twenty native languages and English. English was the primary language until 1923 when the first of the English-only laws were ruled unconstitutional.

Official Language Status

The United States has no official Language spoken by its people. Most of the States use English as their official language. Although other states recognize other languages, they do so alongside English language.The Primary Language for executive orders, federal court rulings, legislation, treaties, regulations and all the official pronouncements is English. However documents like ballots are done in multiple languages for the non-English in some areas. English classes are done in schools at each grade level and also in dual language and bilingual learning situations. English compositions are mandatory in colleges and universities to satisfy associates’ and bachelor’s degree.

Status of Other Languages

Languages that make up the most substantial portion of languages spoken in the United States are those brought to the country by immigrants and colonists from Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world. Others like sign language and creole also developed in the United States. Out of the 430 approximated languages spoken, 176 indigenous ones are spoken while 52 are now extinct. Almost 35 million people speak Spanish ranking the United States fifth worldwide with the largest population speaking Spanish. All the other languages apart from English, French, Spanish, Navajo, and German are learned through some form of education or from immigrant ancestors who came after independence time. The Muhlenberg legend, a known urban legend, claimed that German was about to become the United States official language but only lost by a single vote. This was, in reality, after it was requested by a group of German immigrants to translate laws into German.

Indigenous Languages in the US

Native American Languages

Native American Languages are fluently and mostly spoken on Indian reservations. Although they are endangered since they have fewer speakers, there are efforts to revive them. The Navajo is the largest Native Language-speaking community and constitute 50% of Native American Language speakers of United States.

Native American Sign Language

Plains Indian Sign Language, Plains Sign Talk, or Plains Standard was the primary sign language used by the deaf among the Native Americans. It hosted the Navajo Sign Language and the Plateau Sign Language around Columbia Plateau under its umbrella.

Austronesian Languages

Austronesian languages spoken in the US include Hawaiian, the official state language of Hawaii, as well as Samoan, Chamorro in the Mariana Islands, and Carolinian in the Northern Marianas.

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