The United States is one of the few places on Earth, if not the only place, where we derive our personal identity not from our race or place of birth as much as from an alliance to the nation, its people, and culture. People come here from all over the world to become Americans. That is why we are known as the great melting pot. It is also the reason why we have the Latin phrase on the back of our currency, “E Pluribus Unum,” which means “From many, one,” or “Out of many, one.”
Because of this plurality of cultural origins, the United States is one place where it is most profitable to learn to speak other languages. As the infamous G. Gordon Liddy was fond of saying, a person is worth as many people as the number of languages he speaks. Of course, for the same reason, professional translation services are also an extremely valuable commodity for legal, scholastic, business, personal, and other reasons.
For those coming from other countries, legal translation services for immigration documentation are very important. For persons who marry someone from another country or culture, legal translation services can be important as they cross borders periodically. For business purposes, dealing with customers and partners in different languages also requires high-quality, professional translations services.
Unfortunately, many people will turn to free and automated translation services like Google Translate. These are good for amusement and for satisfying curiosity. But for legal and business purposes especially, they are simply not reliable. For reliable, robust, and fully contextual translation services, you need to work with a company that employs highly trained and experienced translation experts with knowledge in the area of law or business in which the translation is involved.
The 5 Most Commonly Spoken Languages in the United States
It can be rather eye-opening to look at which world languages are spoken in the United State most prevalently. Most of them are no surprise, but by looking at them all and investigating some of the details behind the cultural origins of those who speak these languages in the US, we can learn more about what makes the United States what it is. We can also learn something about the nature of humanity as a whole as we travel, work, and learn together here in America.
The English language is spoken by approximately 254 million native speakers. It is the language of the Founding Fathers and most of the European settlers who make up the vast majority of American ancestors. Out of a total population of more than 331 million, English is spoken by the vast majority of American citizens. According to Long Island University reference associate, Robert Delaney, there are no fewer than 24 distinct English dialects spoken in this country alone. A wealth of English dialects are also spoken in England, Australia, Canada, and elsewhere, making English one of the most diverse and storied languages in the world.
The runner-up for the most broadly spoken language in America is Spanish. With more than 43 million native Spanish speakers in the United States, Spanish is so common that many if not most native English speakers can speak and recognize at least a small portion of common Spanish terms and phrases. The Spanish language is native to Spain, but it comes to us through South America which acquired Spanish much in the same way as North America acquired English. Spanish is the most recommended among second languages for native English speakers, and it bears a great deal of similarities to English making the two languages the easiest for native speakers of each to learn the other. English is Germanic and technical while Spanish is a Romance language with strong emotive overtones- enabling the two to complement each other very well. It could be said that English and Spanish are something of a match made in heaven.
It has long been said that the most profitable second language for native English speakers to learn other than Spanish is Chinese. Chinese immigrants came to the US in great numbers in the early 19th century, and while they are not coming here in anywhere near the numbers of that time, China is still a major source of immigrants for this nation. As the most populous country in the world, a number of languages have grown out of China. These include, but are not limited to, Cantonese and Mandarin. Mandarin is said to be the most widely spoken language on Earth due to the sheer vastness of the Chinese population that speaks it.
Few English-speaking Americans have heard of Tagalog. It is Filipino in origin and is one of the official languages of the Philippines. Tagalog is spoken by 1.6 million Americans residing chiefly in New York City and Hawaii. A large wave of Filipino immigrants came to the US in the 1960s, and today American Filipino population largely stems from that number.
With nearly 1.5 million native speakers in the US, Vietnamese is close to overtaking Tagalog for the position on our list. Most Vietnamese settlers came to California and Texas in the early 2000s.
Of course, this is only a list of the five most spoken languages here in the US. The full list of languages that have found their way here is enormous. There are hundreds of language groups here in the US, and most are influenced by others and are constantly changing, making professional translation services more important than ever.