At the Anchorage School District
As of November 2008, ASD students who received service from the English Language Learners program speak 95 different languages at home. After English, the five most common languages are Spanish, Hmong, Samoan, Tagalog, and Yup'ik.
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Around the World
How long does it take to learn another language?
Learning another language is a continuous process that requires years of study, motivation, and hard work. Instructors with the U.S. Foreign Service Institute calculated the number of weeks of training that students of varying aptitudes required to achieve high levels of speaking proficiency in a variety of languages. They concluded that some languages take longer to learn than others.
Find which languages take longer to learn here » (PDF)
In the United States
Text and graphics in this section from the U.S. Census
Does the U.S. have an official language?
You might be surprised that for more than 200 years, Americans have gotten by without declaring English their official language. English-only legislation first appeared in 1981 as a constitutional English Language Amendment but the measure never came to Congressional vote. Since 1981, 22 states have adopted various forms of Official English legislation, in addition to four that had already done so. Subtracting Hawaii (which is officially bilingual with English and Hawaiian being the official languages) and Alaska (whose English-only initiative has been declared unconstitutional) leaves a total of 24 states with active Official English laws.
Most spoken languages in the U.S.
The list below shows the 20 most populous languages spoken in the U.S. based on the 2000 census. No indigenous language made the top 20 list. As of January 2007, the U.S. population was 301,029,225, so the figures will need to be adjusted upwards.
Number of speakers
Percent of total
U.S. Census - 2000 data
How many languages are spoken in the U.S.?
Far from being monolingual, the U.S. is a highly multilingual country. The number of languages spoken in the United States is 311. Of these, 162 are indigenous, and 149 are immigrant languages. An indigenous or autochthonous language is a language that is native to a region spoken by indigenous peoples.
According to the Census Bureau, in 14 million U.S. households people speak a language other than English. One in five people over age 5 speaks a language other than English. The large number of foreign language speakers in the United States is a consequence of recent immigration.
The figure below shows the languages spoken in U.S. homes.