Wyoming has an accent

Language: Where in America they still speak German

In the meantime, word has got around that there are more people in America with German-speaking ancestors than those who are of English descent. Much more amazing is that apparently a far larger number of US citizens than previously assumed actually speak German. The latest statistical figures from the US Census Bureau show that German is the language most frequently spoken in the home and family in many American states, after English (not surprisingly) and Spanish (not a sensation in view of the mass immigration of so-called Hispanics).

In North Dakota, German is the most widely spoken language after English - ahead of Spanish. In a similar way, Spanish has only been supplanted as the dominant second language by the Eskimo language Yupik in Alaska and the Filipino national language Tagalog in Hawaii - and by French in the states of Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The latter is hardly surprising, as Louisiana was once a French colony and it is well known that the Cajuns there speak French (or a Cajun dialect based on it). The other three named states border on Quebec, the francophone part of Canada.

German parallel world was considered destroyed

In contrast, the still relatively high proportion of German speakers is astonishing. It is true that around 1900 people of German origin formed the largest, most respected and best organized foreign-language ethnic group in the USA with their own newspapers and a broad cultural life. But the compulsion to take sides for the homeland and against the homeland of the ancestors in two world wars has largely destroyed this German-speaking parallel world. During the First World War there was even anti-German hysteria in which 26 federal states prohibited the use of the German language.

The data from the census bureau, about which the online magazine “Slate” now reported, should not be understood to mean that one could still travel through the USA today without speaking English (as was quite possible around 1900). There are just a million of the current 292 million Americans over five years old who say they speak German instead of English at home. There are 37 million Spanish speakers, 2.8 million Chinese speakers, 1.5 million Tagalog speakers, 1.4 million Vietnamese speakers and 1.141 million Korean speakers. With just under a million speakers, Arabic was hard on the heels of Germans in 2012.

In addition, the statistics are based on questionnaires and say nothing about the actual quality of German language skills. But it is surprising enough that so many Americans still had the nostalgic need to tick German on the questionnaire.

It has nothing to do with “No Quarterly”

Incidentally, this has nothing to do with the fact that German has recently become a bit hip in the USA, for which buzz words such as about as well as the popularity of Germanist, Adorno fan and German lover Eric Jarosinski, who goes by the pseudonym "No Quarterly" tweets. Because the statistical data on which the maps are based are from 2007.