Saturday, March 27, 2010

Language Awareness - Dialects (Scottish, Hatian and More)

Origin of Surnames and Native Dialect
We all need to know the origin of our surname and the origin and language of our ancestors. But sometimes it is easier to begin with the present and work towards the past. There are 35 million Americans who continue to speak their native tongue rather than English according to the 2000 US Census. Foreign language speakers in the USA communicate in 329 different languages. 

Everyone knows by now that the U.S. is the fifth largest Spanish-speaking country in the world with a total of 43 million Hispanics, (abt 13% of the USA population). Twenty-one (21) million Hispanics speak Spanish as their primary language and 1.5 million cannot speak English at all. The number of Hispanics in the USA grew by 60% in the last decade, representing the fastest growing non-English speaking minority in the US.

But did you know the 2000 US Census also reported that 1.9 million Americans speak French in the home. French, as a foreign language, is the second most frequently taught language in the world after English with 28 countries having declared it as an official language. It is the only language other than English to be considered as a global language since spoken on five continents.

Follow the 2020 Census statistics to under stand the top languages spoken at home: 

Worldwide there are about 130 million people who speak German as their mother tongue, approximately 1.7 million in the US. In addition, there are 1.3 million Italian speakers in the US.

What Language is that?
When researching your ancestors, be sure to look carefully at their recorded native tongue.  You may even find a rather unlikely dialect like Doric - Scottish language from Northumbria and the Lowlands. Knowing this to be her "mither tongue" I began my research in Aberdeenshire region with success. 

Kathleen Brandt, a3Genealogy
Accurate, Accessible Answers


  1. Interesting stats, as usual. Thanks for sharing!

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Bill ;-)
    Author of Back to the Homeplace

  2. Will be interestign to see what the trends are in the latest US census which I believe is being carried out right now