Saturday, March 27, 2010

Language Awareness

Roots of Your Surname

We all need to know the origin of our surname. 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 with the top four being 1) Spanish, 2) French, 3) German, and 4) Italian.

Everyone knows by now that the U.S. is the fifth largest Spanish-speaking country in the world with a total of 38 million Hispanics, (12.5% 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.

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.

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