Sunday, June 11, 2006

Adventures in almanacs

According to the 2005 edition of the The World Almanac and Book of Facts (no link, since this is a real book), the number of people over age five who spoke Spanish at home was 28,101,000 in 2000. Approximately one out of nine of the 262,375,000 people in the United States over five (though this certainly doesn't mean that all those who speak Español at home cannot or do not speak Ingles outside).

Hardly surprising. Los Estados Unidos is the fourth-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world (after Spain, Mexico, and Argentina). It is also the largest English-speaking country in the world, with 215,424,000 people over five speaking English at home. Not quite a language under siege, but it is important that the English language remain the dominant and unifying force of the nation (although I think that Ⓐ the marketplace goes a long way toward taking care of that and Ⓑ government agencies should probably make sure demand for English-learning services is actually being met at the local level).

Now what I thought was particularly interesting was who was next.

3. Chinese (2,022,000 speakers)
4. French (1,644,000 speakers; includes Patois and Cajun)
5. German (1,383,000 speakers)
6. Tagalog (1,224,000 speakers)
7. Vietnamese (1,010,000 speakers)
8. Italian (1,008,000 speakers)
9. Korean (894,000 speakers)
10. Russian (706,000 speakers)

So people in America who speak German at home outnumber Korean and Japanese speakers combined (the Japanese speakers number 478,000). When will these Germans, Italians, French, Poles (667,000), Greeks (365,000) and Russians finally assimilate into American society?!

Photos below: Americans not speaking German

7 comments:

  1. not sure i really understand why you had the pics of the people at the end of that post. i was wondering if you were running a little experiment to see how many people click on the bikini pic, perhaps with an idea for starting a new girl saturday post. dunno, but thats the best reason i could come up with.

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  2. Wir Deutsch-Amerikaner sind auf die deutsche Sprache sehr stolz. Das ist, warum es so viele deutsche Sprachenzweisprachige Schuleprogramme und so viele deutsche Sprachenzeichen Germantowns ganz im Überschuß Amerika gibt.

    Deutchland uber alles, uber alles von der welt.

    That's all I can remember from four years of college German, a total waste of time. Only twice in my post-college life have I ever relied on German to communicate with a non-English speaker: once with an Indonesian man on a train platform in Yogyakarta and for a few months with a bilingual biracial German-Chinese student at our school.

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  3. rowan wrote:
    not sure i really understand why you had the pics of the people at the end of that post.

    Who knows why I do half the things I do?

    i was wondering if you were running a little experiment to see how many people click on the bikini pic, perhaps with an idea for starting a new girl saturday post. dunno, but thats the best reason i could come up with.

    No. I was deliberately recycling photos from a January post that was also about people speaking English.

    The photos are random pictures of UCI students (including the bikini pic).

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  4. Sonagi, according to Apple's Sherlock program, what you wrote was:
    We German Americans are very proud of the German language. That is,
    why there are so many German language-bilingual school programs and so
    many German language characters completely Germantowns in the surplus
    America.

    Deutchland more uber all, more uber everything of the world.


    Very uber, indeed.

    Sonagi also wrote:
    That's all I can remember from four years of college German,

    That beats my two years of high school German.

    a total waste of time.

    Didn't you have a chance to go talk with the Germanophonic non-assimilators? There are over a million of them.

    Only twice in my post-college life have I ever relied on German to communicate with a non-English speaker: once with an Indonesian man on a train platform in Yogyakarta and for a few months with a bilingual biracial German-Chinese student at our school.

    I have relied on my high school French numerous times: most of them in Italy, where I would pronounce French words with Italian pronunciation on the occasions when doing them same with English words didn't seem to work.

    On the other hand, I have used my one year of college Japanese many times: each and every time I've been to Japan, which is dozens of times now.

    "韓国語を話しますか?" is the sentence that works best for me.

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  5. You know, Sonagi, if you're suggesting that German Americans are less patriotic about their ethnic connection to the mother/fatherland than, say, Koreans, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, etc., in America, I would submit that the fact that German being offered as a standard second language is the norm across America makes it so the Germans don't have to work as hard to get their forebears' language offered, and therefore they don't look like they are being as patriotic about their ethnic connection to the mother/fatherland.

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  6. Actually, China has more English speakers than the United States.

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  7. Doesn't really surprise me, Victor. I meet a lot of them here in Hawaii.

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