New Census Bureau interactive map shows languages spoken in the U.S.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
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Thanks, Romina Aug 10, 2013

This map is quite interesting.
Unfortunately, as usual, it doesn't show any of the "true/original" American languages.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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It is an immigration related map Aug 10, 2013

Thayenga wrote:
Unfortunately, as usual, it doesn't show any of the "true/original" American languages.


Well, how many people who speak those languages would you have expected to have immigrated to the United States recently? The purpose of this map is clearly to show where immigrants live. I assume the second of each option correlates to first generation immigrants whereas the first of each option correlates to all generations of immigrants.

Of course, this is merely a correlation, since it assumes that anyone who doesn't speak English as a native language must be an immigrant, but it is a useful assumption for the purpose of this map. The map is also useless for immigrants whose native language is English (or, as you point out, any of the "original" American languages).

It was interesting to see that e.g. Portuguese and French people prefer the coastal cities, whereas e.g. Arabic and Russian people live in all states and regions all over the United States. Another interesting thing to watch for is residential preference in different places. In some states, most Spanish people who can't speak good English live outside the large cities, whereas most French people who can't speak good English live within the large cities.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
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OF COURSE THERE ARE MANY LANGUAGES SPOKEN Aug 10, 2013

this is why most State and City documents are translated like into ten or fifteen languages.I don't even have to speak English for most purposes, unless you want to of course. As to the Native American languages, they are really great, phonetically at least, and they should survive. As to the "realness"-- all languages are real-- unless they are artificial languages -- such as Esperanto, although their lovers may claim that they are real as well.

No, I don't think it is really the way you see it, Samuel. You theoretically don't have to speak English even if you are third generation American-- not to mention first, or first and a half. This is an anonymous census they usually do around election time every four years -- which language you speak at home. As you may see, there is nothing about "native language" there and nothing about immigrants. It is just a census of languages spoken in the US. Hopefully no-one assumes that Native American languages are languages of some newcomers.

[Edited at 2013-08-10 10:28 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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@Lilian Aug 10, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:
One theoretically doesn't have to speak English even if you are third generation American-- not to mention first, or first and a half.


That is true, but don't you think that most immigrants would integrate into local society (which would include using English more than their original language) within two or three generations?

[The question in this survey is:] which language you speak at home. As you may see, there is nothing about "native language" there and nothing about immigrants.


Yes, you're right -- I misinterpreted what "less than very well" meant. I thought it read "not very well", but it actually reads "less than very well", which would include things like "quite well" and "neither well nor not well".

The table that produced the graphic is for "LANGUAGE SPOKEN AT HOME BY ABILITY TO SPEAK ENGLISH FOR THE POPULATION 5 YEARS AND OVER". For each non-English language, the numeric data are given in two categories: Speak English very well and speak English less than very well.

What would you say is the point of all this information?


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
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Not just immigrants Aug 10, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

The purpose of this map is clearly to show where immigrants live.


"The 2011 Language Mapper shows where people speaking specific languages other than English live, ..."

Don't assume that people speaking languages other than English are always recent immigrants. According to the latest census data, there are 1.3 million people in the United States who speak French at home. Most of them are descendants of people who immigrated in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The USA is not now, and never has been, a monolingual country, despite what many people think.

More here:

Language Use in the United States: 2011
http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-22.pdf



[Edited at 2013-08-10 13:27 GMT]


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
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I don't know who you have in mind speaking about immigrants? Aug 10, 2013

There are various types. Some may never even consider themselves immigrants, and they totally integrate into the society right away. These people may have more problems with their original L1, even after quite a short period of time in a new place. (Like a few years, sometimes less than 10)

Then, there are people, usually temporary workers, but not only, who live in their own communities, and mostly use their first language, whenever they can, watch TV in that language, go to local, ethnic restaurants, etc.-- these people may retain their L1 for the rest of their lives, in more or LESS perfect form -- due to language interference and language changes in the country where their L1 is spoken.

Then, you have some second generation people who speak a different language at home, out of love for it, or tradition. Also many Native American people speak their Native languages -- they may speak English as well-- I am not sure if all do, probably to some extent at least.

So, it is all very complex. It might also have to do with the national identity a lot. There are refugees (in any sense, not just political) and there are ex-patriots. Their attitude towards languages, such as their L1 and the language of the country where they live, are totally different. The differences may even be sharper, if the L1 of some refugees is not really the language of their ancestors, but rather the official language of the country where they lived. ( True about many people form the ex-Soviet Union, for example)



[Edited at 2013-08-10 13:44 GMT]


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
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@Lilian Aug 10, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

This is an anonymous census they usually do around election time every four years -- which language you speak at home.


A census is conducted every ten years. It's in the U.S. Constitution. The next one will be in 2020.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:09
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Yes, you are right. It is done every 10 years and it has nothing to do with Aug 10, 2013

voting. It is anonymous. They ask you various questions about your household.

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