Living Languages of the Americas

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Languages of the United States of America

[LANGUAGES WITH 1000 OR MORE SPEAKERS; others edited out--WHB 13 April 2000]

 
Language Name Language Family Population Spoken in:
American Sign Language Deaf sign language  100,000 to 500,000 primary users (1986 Gallaudet U.) out of nearly 2,000,000 profoundly deaf persons in USA (1988); 0.8% of the USA population; 15,000,000 hard of hearing persons in the USA (1989 Sacks)  Also used in varying degrees in Canada, Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Zaire, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Kenya, Madagascar, Benin, Togo, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong 
Angloromani Indo-European, Germanic, West, North Sea, English  100,000 or fewer in North America; 40,000 to 60,000 in United Kingdom; 5,000 in Australia; 145,000 total 
Apache, Jicarilla Na-Dene, Nuclear Na-Dene, Athapaskan-Eyak, Athapaskan, Apachean, Navajo-Apache, Eastern Apache  1,500 speakers out of 2,000 population (1977 SIL)  Northern New Mexico, area of Dulce 
Apache, Mescalero-Chiricahua Na-Dene, Nuclear Na-Dene, Athapaskan-Eyak, Athapaskan, Apachean, Navajo-Apache, Eastern Apache  1,800 speakers out of 2,000 population (1977 SIL)  Mescalero Reservation, New Mexico. A small number of Chiricahua at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma 
Apache, Western Na-Dene, Nuclear Na-Dene, Athapaskan-Eyak, Athapaskan, Apachean, Navajo-Apache, Western Apache-Navajo  11,000 speakers out of 12,000 population (1977 SIL)  East central Arizona, several reservations 
Arapaho Algic, Algonquian, Algonquian Proper, Arapaho  1,500 speakers out of 5,000 population (1977 SIL)  Wind River Reservation, Wyoming, and associated with the Cheyenne in western Oklahoma 
Blackfoot Algic, Algonquian  9,000 speakers out of 15,000 population including Canada (1977 SIL)  Blackfeet Reservation, Montana 
Cherokee Iroquoian, Southern Iroquoian, Cherokee  22,500 speakers, including 14,000 speakers out of 70,000 population on Oklahoma rolls (1986 Durbin Feeling, Cherokee Nation, OK); 8,500 in North Carolina; 15% to 20% can read it; 5% can write it (1986 Cherokee Heritage Center)  Eastern and northeastern Oklahoma and Cherokee Reservation, Great Smokey Mts., western North Carolina 
Cheyenne Algic, Algonquian, Algonquian Proper  2,000 speakers out of 5,000 population (1987 SIL)  Northern Cheyenne Reservation, southeastern Montana; associated with Arapaho in western Oklahoma 
Choctaw-Chickasaw Muskogean, Western  12,000 speakers out of 25,000 population (1987 SIL)  Principally in southeastern Oklahoma (Choctaw and Chickasaw) and east central Mississippi (Choctaw). Some Choctaw in Louisiana 
Cree, Western Algic, Algonquian, Algonquian Proper, Cree  35,000 total or more speakers out of 53,000 or more population (1982 SIL)  North central Montana. Majority in Canada 
Crow Siouan, Siouan Proper, Missouri Valley  5,500 speakers out of a population of 7,000 (1987 SIL)  Southern Montana 
Dakota Siouan, Siouan Proper, Mississippi Valley, Dakota  19,000 total speakers out of 23,000 population including Canada (1977 SIL)  Northern Nebraska, southern Minnesota, North and South Dakota, northeastern Montana 
English Indo-European, Germanic, West, North Sea, English  210,000,000 first language speakers in USA (1984 estimate); 450,000,000 total first language speakers (1991 WA) 
French, Cajun Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Gallo-Romance, North  1,000,000 (M. Harris in B. Comrie 1988.212)  Southern Louisiana west of the Mississippi as far north as Avoyelles, Evangeline, Allen, and Calcasieu parishes 
German, Hutterite Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High  5,000 in USA, 15,000 in Canada (1981 P. Fast SIL); 30,000 total (1982 V. Peters)  30 colonies in USA (South and North Dakota, Montana, 4 colonies in Washington State, a few in Minnesota); 115 or 116 in Canada, with about 100 people in each 
German, Pennsylvania Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, High  60,000 or more in USA, including 50,000 Old Order Amish, 10,000 Old Order Mennonites, fewer Pennsylvanisch (Lutheran) (1978 H. Kloss); 10,000 in Canada (1970 H. Kloss); 70,000 total first language speakers out of an ethnic population of 200,000 (1978 Kloss and McConnell)  Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Florida 
Gwich'in Na-Dene, Nuclear Na-Dene, Athapaskan-Eyak, Athapaskan, Canadian, Han-Kutchin  1,500 total speakers out of 2,600 population including Canada (1977 SIL)  Northeastern Alaska on Yukon River and tributaries 
Havasupai-Walapai-Yavapai Hokan, Nuclear Hokan, Esselen-Yuman, Yuman, Upland Yuman  1,200 speakers out of 1,500 population (1977 SIL)  Central and northwestern Arizona 
Hawai'i Creole English English based creole, Pacific  600,000 speakers or more (1986 M. Forman); including 100,000 to 200,000 who do not control standard or near-standard English (1986 M. Forman). There are many second language users. Population of Hawaii is 1,248,360 (1990 Hawaii Data Book)  Hawaiian Islands. Many on the USA mainland 
Hawai'i Pidgin Sign Language Deaf sign language  An unknown number of mother tongue users out of about 6,000 profoundly deaf people (1987 Honolulu Star-Bulletin)  Hawaiian Islands 
Hawaiian Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Central Pacific, Polynesian, Nuclear, East, Central, Marquesic  2,000 mother tongue speakers (1987 Lilikala Dorton) out of 200,000 to 220,000 ethnic Hawaiians (20% of the population), including 8,000 pure Hawaiians and 81,000 at least half Hawaiian (1987 Honolulu Star Bulletin)  Hawaiian Islands, mainly Ni'ihau Island and the Big Island of Hawai'i, and 24,245 in California (1990 Honolulu Star Bulletin) 
Hopi Azteco-Tanoan, Uto-Aztecan, Northern Uto-Aztecan, Hopi  5,000 speakers out of 6,500 population (1977 SIL)  Several villages in northeast Arizona 
Inuit, North Alaskan Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Inuit  3,500 total speakers out of a population total of 8,000 (1990 L.D. Kaplan)  Norton Sound, Alaska to MacKenzie delta region Canada 
Inuit, Northwest Alaska Inupiat Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Inuit  4,000 speakers out of 8,000 population (1978 SIL)  Alaska, Kobuk River, Noatak River, Seward Peninsula, and Bering Strait 
Jemez Azteco-Tanoan, Kiowa Tanoan, Kiowa-Towa, Towa  1,263 speakers out of 1,488 population, 84.8% (1980 census). 95% of the population under 18 years of age are speakers  North central New Mexico 
Keres, Eastern Keres  4,578 speakers out of 5,701 population (80%); 463 Zia speakers out of 602 population, 229 Santa Ana speakers out of 374 population, 1,560 San Felipe speakers out of 1,789 population, 1,888 Santo Domingo speakers out of 2,140 population, 438 Cochiti speak out of 796 population (1980 census)  North central New Mexico 
Keres, Western Keres  3,391 speakers out of 5,880 population (57.7%); 1,695 Laguna speakers out of 3,526 population, 1,696 Acoma speakers out of 2,354 population (1980 census).  New Mexico, north central 
Kikapoo Algic, Algonquian, Algonquian Proper  1,200 total speakers out of 1,500 population including 500 in Mexico (1977 SIL)  Northeastern Kansas, central Oklahoma 
Lakota Siouan, Siouan Proper, Mississippi Valley, Dakota  6,000 total speakers out of 20,000 population including Canada (1987 SIL)  Northern Nebraska, southern Minnesota, North and South Dakota, northeastern Montana 
Louisiana Creole French French based creole  60,000 to 80,000 (1985 Neumann) out of an ethnic group of 1,500,000 (1977 M. Adler)  Predominantly in St. Martin parish (St. Martinville, Breaux Bridge, Cecilia), New Roads and Edgard, Louisiana, parts of east Texas, small community in Sacramento, California 
Malecite-Passamaquoddy Algic, Algonquian, Algonquian Proper, Eastern  1,500 total speakers out of 3,000 population (1982 SIL)  Maine, New Brunswick border area. Malecite mainly in Canada, Passamaquoddy mainly in Maine 
Micmac Algic, Algonquian, Algonquian Proper, Eastern, Boreal  2,000 in Boston, 10 to 100 in New York City; 6,000 speakers out of 11,000 population in Canada; 8,100 total 
Mikasuki Muskogean, Eastern  1,000 speakers out of 1,200 population (1977 SIL)  Southern Florida 
Mohawk Iroquoian, Northern Iroquoian, Five Nations, Mohawk-Oneida  3,000 total speakers out of 10,000 population including Canada (1977 SIL)  St. Regis Reservation, northern New York 
Muskogee Muskogean, Eastern  10,000 speakers out of 20,000 population (1977 SIL)  Creek and Seminole of east central Oklahoma, Creek of southern Alabama, Seminole of Brighton Reservation, Florida 
Navaho Na-Dene, Nuclear Na-Dene, Athapaskan-Eyak, Athapaskan, Apachean, Navajo-Apache, Western Apache-Navajo  130,000 speakers (1977 SIL) out of 200,000 population (1991 UBS)  Northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, northwestern New Mexico 
Ojibwa, Eastern Algic, Algonquian, Algonquian Proper, Ojibwa  8,000 total speakers out of 25,000 population including Canada (1977 SIL)  Ottawa and Chippewa in Michigan 
Ojibwa, Western Algic, Algonquian, Algonquian Proper, Ojibwa  35,000 total speakers out of 60,000 population including Canada (1977 SIL)  From Lake Superior westward to North Dakota, and some groups in Montana 
Omaha Siouan, Siouan Proper, Mississippi Valley, Dhegiha  1,500 speakers out of 2,500 population (1977 SIL)  Omaha Reservation, eastern Nebraska 
Paiute, Northern Azteco-Tanoan, Uto-Aztecan, Northern Uto-Aztecan, Numic, Western  2,000 speakers out of 4,000 population (1987 SIL)  Northern Nevada and adjacent areas of Oregon, California, and Idaho. Spoken on about twenty reservations spread out over 1,000 miles 
Papago-Pima Azteco-Tanoan, Uto-Aztecan, Southern Uto-Aztecan, Sonoran, Tepiman  15,000 speakers out of 20,000 population (1977 SIL)  South central Arizona. Also Mexico 
Plautdietsch Indo-European, Germanic, West, Continental, Low  10,000 in USA (1978 Kloss and McConnell); 80,000 to 100,000 in Canada; 110,735 in Latin America are fairly monolingual; 306,000 total  Hillsboro, Kansas; Reedley, California; and Corn, Oklahoma. Also around Winnipeg and in rural Mennonite settlements throughout Canada except the Maritimes; in Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico; Belize, Paraguay, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina; and Friesland, Germany 
Romani, Vlach Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Northwestern zone, Romany, Vlax  650,000 in North America (1990 I. Hancock); 1,500,000 total Vlach (1986 estimate)  Pacific northwest, Los Angeles, Texas, upper mid-west, Chicago, urban northeast, eastern Virginia. Growing communities of Lovari in New York and Chicago. Also in Romania, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Sweden, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, England, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia 
Russian Indo-European, Slavic, East  334,615 in USA (1970 census); 31,745 in Canada (1971 census); 160,000,000 total  Also in Russia and other republics of the former USSR, Israel, Mongolia, China, eastern Europe, Canada 
Sea Islands Creole English English based creole, Atlantic, Eastern, Northern  125,000 speakers (1977 I. Hancock), including 7,000 to 10,000 monolinguals, and 10,000 in New York City (1989 J. Holm); 250,000 speak some degree of it (1987 New York Times)  Coastal region from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida, and especially on the Sea Islands off the Georgia coast. Small clusters in New York City 
Shoshoni Azteco-Tanoan, Uto-Aztecan, Northern Uto-Aztecan, Numic, Central  3,000 speakers out of 7,000 population (1977 SIL)  The Panamint are in eastern California, Shoshone in central to northeastern Nevada, Ft. Hall, Idaho, Wind River, Wyoming; Goshute in western Utah 
Spanish Indo-European, Romance, Italo-Western, Western, Ibero-Romance  22,400,000 in USA, 8.9% of the population (1990 census); 266,000,000 total (1987 Time)  San Antonio, Texas to Los Angeles; Miami, Florida area; New York City, Illinois, Denver, other areas 
Tewa Azteco-Tanoan, Kiowa Tanoan, Tewa-Tiwa, Tewa  1,298 speakers out of 2,383 population, 54.5% (1980 census). 49.8% of the population below 18 years of age are speakers; 70% above 18. 50 Nambe speakers out of 175 population, 25 Pojoaque out of 37, 349 San Ildefonso out of 478, 495 San Juan out of 1,146,207 Santa Clara out of 318,172 Tesuque out of 229 (1980 census)  North of Santa Fe, New Mexico and at Hano on the Hopi Reservation, Arizona 
Tiwa, Southern Azteco-Tanoan, Kiowa Tanoan, Tewa-Tiwa, Tiwa, Southern  1,732 speakers out of 2,469 population, 70.1% (1980 census). 1,588 Isleta speakers out of 2,249 population; 144 Sandia speakers out of 220 population. 65.6% of the population under 18 years of age are speakers (67% of Isleta, 46.7% of Sandia)  New Mexico, pueblos of Isleta and Sandia, north and south of Albuquerque 
Tlingit Na-Dene, Nuclear Na-Dene, Tlingit  2,000 total speakers out of 9,500 population including Canada (1977 SIL)  Southeastern Alaska and inland 
Tsimshian Penutian, Tsimshian  (1,435 mother tongue speakers in Canada, 1981 census; out of 4,000 population including Canada, 1977 SIL)  Tip of Alaska panhandle 
Ute-Southern Paiute Azteco-Tanoan, Uto-Aztecan, Northern Uto-Aztecan, Numic, Southern  2,500 speakers out of 5,000 population (1977 SIL)  Ute in southwestern Colorado and southeastern and northeastern Utah; Southern Paiute in southwestern Utah, northern Arizona, and southern Nevada; Chemehuevi on lower Colorado River, California 
Winnebago Siouan, Siouan Proper, Mississippi Valley, Winnebago  1,500 speakers out of 3,500 population (1977 SIL)  Scattered locations in central Wisconsin and Winnebago Reservation in eastern Nebraska 
Yakima Penutian, Plateau Penutian, Sahaptin  3,000 speakers out of 8,000 population (1977 SIL)  Yakima Valley, south central Washington 
Yaqui Azteco-Tanoan, Uto-Aztecan, Southern Uto-Aztecan, Sonoran, Taracahitian, Cahita  5,000 or more in USA (1980 J. Dedrick SIL); 12,000 or more in Mexico; 17,000 to 25,000 total (1987)  Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona area 
Yupik, Central Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Yupik, Alaskan  15,000 speakers out of 17,000 population (1977 SIL)  Nunivak Island, Alaska coast from Bristol Bay to Norton Sound and inland along Nushagak, Kuskokwim, and Yukon Rivers 
Yupik, Central Siberian Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Yupik, Siberian  1,000 speakers out of 1,000 population in Alaska; 300 speakers out of 1,200 to 1,500 population in Siberia (1991 A.E. Kibrik); 1,300 total  St. Lawrence Island, Alaska 
Zuni Language Isolate  4,484 speakers out of a population of 5,929 (1980 census). 85.5% of the population below 18 years of age are speakers, 86.2% above 18 (1980 census) (1977 SIL)  New Mexico, south of Gallup 

Date created: 29-Feb-1996
Last modified: 29-Feb-1996
Copyright © 1996, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Inc.

MODIFIED from SIL's web page by William H. Baxter, 16 April 2000