Diversity & Language in America

Sophia Geisler, Columnist

There are 195 different countries, each with their own separate cultures and diversity. Perhaps one of the largest differences between most countries is their language spoken. As of today, a large handful of countries have a majority of citizens who speak more than one language. Surprisingly, the US has one of the lowest numbers of bilingual speakers, says Find Any Answer.

With so many countries and so many languages, it is no surprise that most countries speak different languages. In this list by Infoplease of countries and their main languages spoken, we can see that most have a variety of different main languages. For example, in Mexico, a variety of different indigenous languages are spoken (ex: Mayan, Nahuatl, etc.) as well as Spanish and English. In Uganda, there is a variety of African languages consisting of Arabic, Swahili, Ganda, etc. However, the United States’ language percentages of citizens are 82% English and 11% Spanish, a much less variety-filled percentage as in comparison to other countries. 

A huge reason as to why a majority of Americans only speak one language has to do with colonization. To put this in perspective, most African countries speak French. This is because in the 1800’s, French colonizers spread their native language throughout Africa while economically and politically colonizing it, according to the Embassy of the United States of America. America, however, was never colonized by any other countries besides Britain, a mostly English-speaking country. In other countries, such as Japan, France, and a large majority of African countries, a larger part of the population is diverse, which leads to the country holding a larger amount of cultures, religions, ethnicities, etc.  In America, however, people that come from different backgrounds (people of color, LGBTQ+ members, etc.) are still considered minorities.

This isn’t to say that the United States isn’t diverse, though. America is a country of opportunity, considering the immigrant population in the 1900s. There are large chunks of different ethnicities and races present here, though the variety is less than in most countries. Ancient history plays a large role in different countries’ diversity rates, too. Still, Americans can learn languages to communicate with others, whether or not the language is widely-used in the United States.