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English Language MapEnglish Language MapPhoto: Kobolen CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

English is spoken in California, but Spanish is the second language. 60.5% of the population speaks English, 25.8% Spanish and 13.7% other languages.


The vast majority of the American population is native English, but large groups also speak other European and non-European languages, especially Spanish. Especially in the big cities, groups live who have often retained the language of origin for many generations.

For example, a French dialect is still spoken in parts of Louisiana, and some French Canadians in New England have also retained the language of their neighbors in Canada.

The Puerto Ricans and many people of Spanish descent speak Spanish. Furthermore, the Inuit in Alaska have their own language and a Polynesian language is spoken in Hawaii.

There is no American as a language: there is really only American English. The main difference with British English lies in the different pronunciation. A distinction is made between the dialects of the north, east and south, but despite the great distances, the dialects still differ less widely than in a small country like the Netherlands. New life circumstances and a different mentality did create new words, sayings and expressions. Some words have been given a different meaning, and a few things have also changed in spelling and grammar. Still, the language differences between English and English-American are not very great.

Americans like it short and anything that goes fast and saves time is much appreciated.

This aspiration is also reflected in the language. Some examples of this are:

Another way to save time is to contract words, both in the spoken language and in the written language. Some examples of this are:

Almost all Indians speak American. In addition, dozens of widely differing Native American languages have survived the US government's assimilation technique.

Overview Indian languagesOverview Indian languagesPhoto: Public domain

Some ethnic population groups still adhere strongly to the language and traditions of the motherland. In the big cities this is very noticeable in the many "Chinatowns" and "Little Italy's".

In the countryside, religious groups such as the Mennonites of the old order, Hutterites and Amana still speak German from the 19th century.

Two centuries ago, between 80 and 90 different Native American languages and dialects were spoken within the confines of today's California. These California native languages belong to 20 major language families; including at least seven language families that have no relationship to any other language family. From a linguistic point of view, California is the most diverse state in the United States. Below 76 languages and dialects that are extinct and are still spoken in California, sometimes by less than ten people.

AchumawiInterior ChumashMonoSaclan
AtsugewiIsland ChumashMutsunSalinan
AwaswasJuaneñoNew River ShastaSerrano
CahuillaKarukNomlakiSoutheastern Pomo
Central PomoKashayaNortheastern PomoSouthern Pomo
Central Sierra MiwokKatoNorthern PaiuteSouthern Sierra Miwok
ChalonKawaiisuNorthern PomoTamyen
ChemehueviKitanemukNorthern Sierra MiwokTataviam
ChimarikoKonkowNorthern YukianTolowa
Coast MiwokKumeyaay (Diegueño)OkwanuchuVentureño
CupeñoLake MiwokPanamintWappo
Eastern PomoLuiseñoPatwinWasho
Eel River AthabaskanMaiduPlains MiwokWintu
GabrielinoMattoleQuechan (Yuma)Yana
HupaModocRamaytushYokuts languages


BBC - Country Profiles

Benson, Sara / California
Lonely Planet

Benson, Sara / Discover California
Lonely Planet

Uitgeverij Cambium B.V.

CIA - World Factbook

Elmar Landeninformatie

Hansen, Preben / 100% Californië & West-USA

Heetvelt, Angela / Zuidwestelijke staten van Amerika

Mangin, Daniel / Californië : de reisgids voor een actieve & culturele vakantie
Wat & Hoe

Ominalowska, Malgorzata / Californië
Uitgeverij Unieboek/Het Spectrum

The Rough Guide to California
Rough Guides Ltd.

Schmidt-Brümmer, Horst / Lannoo's autoboek Californië en Zuidwest-USA : on the road

Vlahides, John A. / Northern California
Lonely Planet


Uitgeverij Terra Lannoo

Last updated March 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info