Urdu Spoken Here
The U.S. is more multilingual than you might think
Spanish, of course, is the second most commonly spoken language in the United States—there are about 28 million native Spanish speakers. After English and Spanish, however, few realize that French is spoken regularly in more American homes more than any other language (1.6 million).
More than a million Americans also regularly speak German, Italian, and Chinese. And among the top languages spoken by Americans at home is one that has been spoken in this country long before English and Spanish arrived—Navajo.
Brush Up on Your Arabic
As one would expect, among foreign languages formally studied in the United States, Spanish, French, and German—in that order—are the three most popular.
Between 1990 and 1995, however, the Modern Language Association reported a drop in the study of French (–24.6%) and German (–27.8%). The most defections in language study were in Russian, which has fallen off –44.6%. Chinese, on the other hand, is hot—its study increased by 35.8% between 1990 and 1995, followed by Arabic, which increased 27.9%.
It's All Chinese to Me
When we speak of Chinese, what kind of Chinese are we speaking of? Cantonese? Mandarin? Wu? Mandarin Chinese is not only the most commonly spoken Chinese, but the most commonly spoken language in the world. There are a staggering 1 billion Mandarin speakers throughout the world.