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Main Languages of the USA

Name the languages with the most speakers in the United States.
Speakers over the age of 5. 2009-2013. source
Languages spoken at home. Sign language is not counted
Last updated: November 04, 2018
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# Speakers
Language
231 m
English
37 m
Spanish
1.61 m
Tagalog
1.40 m
Vietnamese
1.37 m
Mandarin
1.31 m
French
1.29 m
Cantonese
1.12 m
Korean
1.06 m
German
924 k
Arabic
# Speakers
Language
879 k
Russian
740 k
French Creole
709 k
Italian
693 k
Portuguese
643 k
Hindi
580 k
Polish
449 k
Japanese
398 k
Urdu
391 k
Persian
373 k
Gujarati
# Speakers
Language
305 k
Greek
268 k
Serbo-Croatian
258 k
Bengali
254 k
Punjabi
248 k
Telugu
238 k
Armenian
215 k
Hmong
213 k
Hebrew
212 k
Cambodian
+10
level 49
Aug 23, 2012
You'd think that gibberish and l33t would make it on here.
+2
level 54
Nov 7, 2018
Lol my first guess was American
+2
level 53
Aug 23, 2012
Showing my ignorance here but where is Tagalog from? Good quiz but didn't do that well!
+2
level 29
Aug 23, 2012
It's from the Philippines
+2
level 36
Aug 23, 2012
It's the language of the Philippines and is also known as Filipino.
+1
level 75
Feb 8, 2016
"Also known as Filipino". And yet Filipino isn't accepted.
+2
level 75
Jan 18, 2013
It's a language widely spoken in Luzon, the largest island of the Philippines. It was declared one of the official languages of the country by the Spanish, and still is along with English. It is also widely spoken and understood in other parts of the country.
+1
level 75
Jun 24, 2016
Though officially the national language of the Philippines is "Filipino," realistically this is the same language as Tagalog.
+1
level 28
May 20, 2017
If I remember right about the new description of filipino, it can mean any languange in the philippines. Tagalog is the only "filipino language" that most americans can speak. Im bad at explaining but yeah ahahahhahahhah
+1
level 75
Sep 27, 2017
um... I read a lot. I travel a lot. I watch documentaries a lot. I tend to retain information well. I've spent a lot of time in the Philippines. If someone asks a question that I think is interesting and I don't know the answer I might do some research to find the answer but usually I'm answering off the top of my head...
+1
level 44
Jun 19, 2013
It is also spoken in Guam, which is a U.S. territory, which probably bumps the number up a bit.
+1
level 43
Nov 21, 2014
It is not spoken in Guam that much. It is not even an Official language.
+1
level 80
Feb 1, 2015
What is that supposed to mean? English isn't an official language in the U.S. (there is no official language) and it's still spoken by quite a few.
+1
level 43
Mar 6, 2015
(Sillie) The Official languages of Guam are Chamorro and English.
+1
level 80
Mar 6, 2015
Interesting. The US doesn't have an official language, but a territory has. Thanks.
+4
level 29
Mar 6, 2015
The US doesn't have an official language on a federal level (law only states that English is the language of administration), but states can have them, and about half of them have declared English official, with some of them having additional languaes (Spanish for New Mexico, French for Louisiana, Hawaiian for Hawaii if I remember well). Half of the states have no official language whatsoever.
+1
level 73
Oct 4, 2016
I would argue that English is de facto official language of USA
+1
level 75
Oct 26, 2017
I don't think that common usage makes something "official," de facto or not.
+1
level 29
Aug 23, 2012
Parsi for Persian?
+2
level 34
Aug 24, 2012
it lets you type Farsi...
+5
level 38
Aug 28, 2012
Parsi is a certain group of people. Farsi is a language. So Farsi is accepted and Parsi is not. Sorry.
+1
level 69
Dec 11, 2012
I think Iranians can use either Parsi or Farsi when describing the language. Someone I know from Iran used Parsi to describe the language, but I can't remember why she said she used Parsi instead of Farsi.
+1
level 68
Mar 6, 2015
Parsi was originally the name of the language, but Farsi became a popular term under heavy long-lasting influence from Arabic, which has no P sound.
+1
level 54
Mar 17, 2015
I actually input "Dari" and it replaced it with "Persian," which I could have sworn was a discrete language...
+2
level 59
Apr 13, 2016
I got Persian by typing in Tajik.
+1
level 75
Jun 24, 2016
Dari is spoken by Persians from Afghanistan/Pakistan, I think. Basically the same as Persian. I met some refugees from that area at a park in Athens. We used Persian in Google Translate and understood each other fine.
+1
level 73
Oct 4, 2016
I had a Persian interpreter for Afghani refugees, though he told me to put down as their language "Farsi (Dari)"
+2
level 34
Aug 24, 2012
what's gujarati? and why would there be so many speakers of armenian?
+4
level 55
Mar 8, 2015
As for the second question: Armenians, like Jews, have a large diaspora - there are many Armenians outside Armenia, both because they often acted as traders and because Armenia itself often was under foreign (and unfriendly) rule.
+2
level 75
Sep 27, 2017
yes, this. There are tons of Armenians around Los Angeles. Not just the Kardashian family.
+1
level 20
Oct 26, 2017
Like me!
+1
level 51
Apr 2, 2019
Gujarati is a language spoken in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is located at the Pakistan-India border.
+1
level 60
Apr 10, 2016
kardashian wannabes
+1
level 21
Aug 29, 2012
The only one I didn't get was Arabic. :(
+1
level 37
Apr 21, 2018
Hey, I forgot English. Also, in my pursuit of any languages possible, I typed Maine. Then, realizing that was not a lanugage, I typed Mainese. I also typed Chinese, and when it was not accepted I never thought to try Mandarin.
+2
level 68
Jul 28, 2018
Maineaise is what you put on a lobster roll. We always used to be called Maineacs, with no pun toward maniac. As that word became more commonplace, the lame out-of-state term Mainer took over.
+2
level 44
Jan 20, 2013
Not being too familiar with either - how much of a difference is there between "French" and "French Creole"?
+1
level 56
Apr 30, 2013
i typed hindu, instead of hindi
+1
level 9
Jul 17, 2013
just quite frankly all i did was name a language
+3
level 67
Dec 21, 2016
Well that was the idea of the quiz really.
+1
level 56
Oct 26, 2017
Only one language?
+1
level 68
Jul 28, 2018
I hope the one you remembered was English.
+1
level 50
Aug 6, 2013
Good quiz. Some surprises.
+1
level 42
Jun 11, 2014
Surprised Nahuatl isn't on the list considering how many people in Mexico speak it.
+2
level 65
Mar 6, 2015
This is a Main Languages of the US, not Mexico...
+1
level 52
Dec 21, 2016
But languages can spread across borders (especially when there is a high level of trade across a border)
+1
level 58
Aug 19, 2018
@MyMindWentBlank According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahuatl#Demography_and_distribution), there are about 1.5 million Nahuatl speakers in Mexico, and most are in south & central regions. There probably are some speakers in the US but not hundreds of thousands as would be required to show up on this quiz.
+1
level 56
Nov 16, 2018
I used to teach English to newcomer children in the LA area, and received several students from Mexico who spoke Nahuatl but not a word of Spanish. But it is definitely not common, not compared to the other languages on this list.
+1
level 19
Aug 31, 2017
Since Spanish is much more largely spoken, I think most Americans wouldn't bother to learn tiny languages. Thus, Spanish spreads more easily.
+1
level 65
Oct 26, 2017
Fun fact is that the city with the second highest population of Nahuatl speakers is New York because most speakers are rural or from Mexico City.
+1
level 49
Aug 25, 2014
More than half a million Portuguese speakers! And I believe there are more! Viva!
+1
level 34
Sep 16, 2014
Missed Vietnamese....
+3
level 31
Nov 22, 2014
That's funny because I have never yet heard an American that speaks real English ;)
+3
level ∞
Jan 23, 2015
One might say it's the British who have been ruining English!

http://www.pbs.org/speak/ahead/change/ruining/

+2
level 75
Mar 7, 2015
+1
level 54
Mar 17, 2015
Shots fired! :-P
+1
level 49
Feb 16, 2016
BOOM!!
+1
level 40
Dec 2, 2014
Really? That many people didn't get most? There's quite a few big languages here, and think of US history, or world history in general
+1
level 71
Mar 6, 2015
go figure..i get hmong, but couldn't come up with vietnamese
+1
level 69
Mar 6, 2015
Got them all, but that was hard.
+1
level 44
Mar 6, 2015
Hmmm... missed Italian, Korean
+1
level 75
Mar 6, 2015
Kind of sad how few native Hawaiian speakers there are left. It's a very unique language.
+1
level 71
Aug 28, 2015
Can something be 'very unique'? :0)
+2
level 75
Jun 24, 2016
yes
+1
level 60
Apr 10, 2016
its actually very similar to polynesian languages
+1
level 75
Jun 24, 2016
of which there are also very few native speakers.
+2
level 56
Oct 26, 2017
That's because it IS an Polynesian language!
+1
level 7
Mar 6, 2015
in history the dutch owned parts of America so i thought people would be talkin dutch
+2
level 75
Mar 6, 2015
That was a long long time ago. There are still a few Dutch Amish communities. Their numbers are tiny, though.
+3
level 55
Mar 8, 2015
The Dutch of the Amish is Low German rather than Dutch. There has been a large number of Dutch immigrants to the US, but their descendants aren't Dutch speaking any more.
+1
level 75
Sep 27, 2017
cool didn't know that. Maybe I should have guessed from watching The Office.
+1
level 77
Oct 26, 2017
I'm a child of Dutch immigrants and I still speak it. It's actually quite well known in the areas where the Dutch settled. Northern NJ, Michigan, Iowa...
+1
level 58
Aug 19, 2018
Dutch speakers were very prominent in Early American history, especially in New York and the Mid-Atlantic areas (you can still see the influence on place names). The Dutch language persisted in New York for over a century after the English took over the Dutch colonies there -- our only President who didn't speak English as his mother tongue, Martin van Buren, was from a Dutch speaking New York family. I'm pretty sure Dutch-American community he came from switched entirely to English sometime in the last two centuries though, and while we continue to have significant Dutch immigration the numbers dropped off a lot in the 20th century. Dutch speakers in the US like Qikiq probably number in the tens of thousands.
+2
level 43
Oct 29, 2017
Pennsylvania Dutch is a form of High German from the Upper Rhine, so I expect it's lumped in with German, here. It should not be; it's really a separate language. The English word "Dutch" used to refer to any Germanic people or language, so although it's confusing, it's not a misnomer. 400,000 people speak it, and it's growing. (Mir schwetze noch die Mudderschprooch!)
+1
level 47
Jan 13, 2019
if it is 400k it should be on the list ( i expected it to be there actually, but havent researched it yet, might do so later)
+1
level 47
Jan 13, 2019
Ok according to the source used for this quiz ( mind you data till 2013) pennsylvanian dutch had 133k speakers. (which is like said above more like german (deutsch) and has nothing to do with dutch. Which is spoken slightly more but still not enought on make this list 142k)
+1
level 47
Jan 13, 2019
I looked it up, on the source used for this quiz 142k is given for the dutch language. Edit sorry this reply didnt go where I wanted it to go and cant delete it..
+1
level 58
Mar 6, 2015
I didn't realize Hmong and Vietnamese were different languages. I got Hmong very early on and it never occurred to me to try Vietnamese. Missing Korean was just stupid, and those were the only 2 I missed.
+1
level 59
Mar 6, 2015
Certainly Ebonics, if treated as an actual official language, would be somehwhere around #3-4 on this list.
+1
level 38
Dec 2, 2017
Ebonics? - I hope that's a joke!
+1
level 26
Mar 6, 2015
can u accept khemer for cambodian i dont think thats what it is even called
+1
level 55
Mar 8, 2015
It's Khmer, and in that form it is accepted
+1
level 75
Mar 6, 2015
I got Hmong because of Clint Eastwood and Gran Torino.
+1
level 55
Mar 8, 2015
Given that the French creole is probably mostly Haitian, could I have that name as an alternative?
+1
level 36
Mar 9, 2015
I remember reading about Hmong settlements inb the U.S. years ago, but could not remember the name for anything. Tried Lao, Laotian and every way of spelling but nothing... Now, I'll remember! Got the rest except one... Where is Gujarati from? I never heard of it ever.
+2
level 19
Sep 2, 2017
Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language native to the Indian state of Gujarat. It is part of the greater Indo-European language family. Gujarati is descended from Old Gujarati. In India, it is the official language in the state of Gujarat, as well as an official language in the union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Gujarati is the language of the Gujjars, who had ruled Rajputana and Punjab. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, 4.5% of the Indian population (1.21 billion according to the 2011 census) speaks Gujarati, which amounts to 46 million speakers in India. There are about 50 million speakers of Gujarati worldwide, making it the 26th-most-spoken native language in the world. Gujarati was the first language of Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
+1
level 29
Mar 10, 2015
Maybe also accept Filipino for Tagalog?
+1
level 40
Mar 14, 2015
I think you should accept "serbo-croat".
+1
level 43
Apr 13, 2016
Armenian ?!?
+1
level 20
Oct 26, 2017
What?
+1
level 58
May 21, 2017
I live that I got Armenian and creole, but not French! Lol!
+2
level 66
Jul 25, 2017
879 m for russian bit too much :)
+1
level ∞
Jul 25, 2017
Fixed :)
+1
level 63
Jul 25, 2017
Never knew the Russians invaded the USA and its population grew up to over a billion
+1
level 56
Oct 26, 2017
?
+2
level 45
Aug 1, 2017
Hawaiian Pidgin/Creole has some 600k speakers native.
+1
level ∞
Aug 2, 2017
Not really a separate language. Or, if it is, not a separate language that 600k speak.
+1
level 61
Oct 26, 2017
No one really knows the exact number of L1 speakers. It's well over 200,000. Just for fun, here's the Bible in pidgin: Da Hawaiʻi Pidgin Bible
+2
level 71
Aug 1, 2017
The language of Cambodia is Khmer.
+2
level 68
Sep 22, 2017
Yeah. Fair enough if you want to make it easier by accepting "Cambodian", but at the very least, "Khmer" should be listed as the answer.
+1
level 70
Sep 27, 2017
Well, I guess I'll be the one to broach the sure-to-be-contentious subject of Serbo-Croatian splitting back out into its constituent languages. What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment.
+2
level 43
Sep 27, 2017
Really surprised to not see Yiddish on here. ... maybe update in 3-5 more years.
+1
level 56
Oct 26, 2017
Updating the quiz is not going to affect whether Yiddish appears on the quiz or not - numbers of speakers are decreasing over time - speakers of the language are mostly elderly now and few are passing it on to the younger generations in the US. The language is also endangered globally.
+1
level 61
Oct 26, 2017
It's actually increasing. In a few years it will probably make the list.
+1
level 47
Jan 13, 2019
in the source used it is at 156k
+1
level 49
Oct 26, 2017
Accept filipino for tagalog and chinese for mandarin
+2
level 51
Oct 26, 2017
Croatian and Serbian are TWO SEPARATE LANGUAGES. They are NOT the same language and there is no such thing as SERBO-CROATIAN.
+1
level 54
Feb 21, 2018
If you look at official languages, there is several dialects (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Montenegrin) of Serbo-Croatian in the various former-Yugoslavian countries
+1
level 51
Oct 26, 2017
Eh, I was pretty sure Ashkenazi is here
+2
level 56
Oct 26, 2017
There's no language called Ashkenazi. Most Ashkenazi Jews spoke Yiddish
+2
level 55
Oct 26, 2017
What about sign language (ASL) approximately "spoken" by 500k people?
+1
level 78
Oct 26, 2017
Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids.
+5
level 63
Oct 26, 2017
No C# or Python?
+1
level 49
Oct 26, 2017
20/29 not too bad
+1
level 53
Oct 26, 2017
I see that there are no native american languages listed. maybe the numbers are too small, but it does seem odd not to have some of them on the list.
+1
level ∞
Oct 27, 2017
Why would we add them to the list when there are too few speakers to qualify?
+1
level 53
Oct 29, 2017
I guess I meant to say sad, not odd. Sad that what once were the dominant languages on the continent are not long spoken by the majority of people.
+1
level 39
Oct 29, 2017
LOL!
+1
level 39
Oct 29, 2017
Great quiz! You want to, say, Tagolog?
+1
level 74
Nov 23, 2017
No Quenya?
+1
level 62
Sep 30, 2018
Never heard of Quenya, and I know lots of languages.
+1
level 69
Mar 18, 2018
I was surprised Tamil didn't make it, but perhaps the US has gotten less of the Tamil diaspora than we have here in Australia. I s'pose proximity counts for something.
+1
level 14
May 24, 2018
Accept French for French Creole as I don't even know what Creole is and then it will give you two answers for one input
+1
level 60
Aug 21, 2018
Someone who speaks French isn't very likely to understand someone speaking French Creole. Look up Pidgin English on YouTube and tell me if that's the same thing as the English you and I speak. You'll might catch some words and phrases but that's gonna be about it.
+1
level 68
Jun 28, 2018
Thank God Lolcat has died out.
+1
level 47
Jan 13, 2019
I is happy :)
+1
level 21
Jul 14, 2018
How about 'ASL' or 'American Sign Language'
+1
level 64
Jul 24, 2018
so many languages, and none that are native to any part of the country! I thought at least Hawai'ian would be on the list, and maybe Navajo or something
+1
level 47
Jan 13, 2019
SInce I have the tab open I might aswell reply to all the people asking why something isnt on the list ;) navajo is at 167k so close but not enough. Hawiian not even close 26k
+1
level 32
Aug 17, 2018
Did you know that there are over five languages in this world
+1
level 62
Sep 30, 2018
Yeah. Actually, I know the names of even more than five.
+2
level 48
Sep 5, 2018
Anyone else get Hmong when trying to type Mongolian?
+1
level 62
Sep 30, 2018
Yes
+1
level 62
Sep 30, 2018
Quite strange that I got Hmong but not Portuguese.
+1
level 35
Dec 9, 2018
Typed Hmong because I had that Clint Eastwood movie on my mind. Did not expect it to be an actual answer.
+1
level 21
Dec 22, 2018
Maybe accept Cajun for french creole, or would that be too far of a stretch?
+1
level 70
Apr 5, 2019
Navajo?
+1
level 53
Apr 21, 2019
No way buddy, I speak American