Attention English-Only Adocates: New US Census Reports Say 380 Languages are Spoken in America

foreign language bellyitchblog.com

Last Friday, an Iowa woman sitting with her husband at an Applebees restaurant got upset at hearing a fellow patron speaking a foreign language and allegedly attacked the non-English speaking diner.

That woman, Jodie Marie Burchard-Risch, should be prepared to leave the US if that upset her because there are more than 380 languages spoken in homes in the United States, according to US Census reports released this week.

Twenty percent or 1 in 5 Americans over age 5 speak a language at home other than English.


And we think that US Presidential candidates that want to make US the official language ought to take note as well that the nation they will be leading is quite international and cosmopolitan.

The majority (54%) of Reisdents in metro areas spoke a language other than English in their home. 

In the DC area, where Bellyitch Blog is based, 25% of DC households or 1 in 4 are non-English speaking homes.  New York city boasts the most languages 192, with 1/3 of its residents speaking a foreign language at home.  The San Francisco Bay area came in second with 163.

Nationally, the Census reports state that even though English remains the dominant language, there are over 37.4 million Spanish speaking homes, 2.9 million Chinese-speakers, 1.3 million French, 1.1 million Korean, 1.1 million German, 1.4 million Vietnamese, 924,573 Arabic, 1.6 million Tagalog and 879,434 Russian speakers.

Contrary to popular belief, the data,  gleaned from Census information from 2009 to 2013, suggests that Asian-American immigrants have a harder time learning English than Hispanic immigrants.



jama attack
And back to the story in our lede about the woman attacked for speaking a foreign language.

Asma Jama was dining with several members of her family including children under 11-years old when Burchard-Risch, sitting at a nearby table, expressed frustration over hearing Jama speak in Swahili.

Jana recounted whet she told Burchard-Risch before the confrontation turned violent. 

“Ok, ma’am, I can speak English obviously. I live in this country,” Jama told Fox9 news.” If you want me to speak to you in English, I can but if I am talking to my family, I can speak whatever language I want. After all, this is America, Freedom of Speech.”

After a verbal back and forth, Jama says Burchard-Risch threw a large beer mug at her face which later required 17 stitches in her lip that will take weeks to heal, Fox9 reports. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Jama offset the medical cost for her treatment from the attack.

The US is rapidly changing in demographics and complexity and it’s time to be aware of it and adjust.

Knowing the number of languages and how many speak these languages in a particular area provides valuable information to policymakers, planners and researchers, Language Magazine analyzes.


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