The United States is a melting pot. There are people from various countries and cultures that come to this country. Also, the USA has been the key location for people looking for a good life. Hence, there are so many languages spoken here. This post will tell you about some of the most commonly spoken foreign languages in the USA. Meanwhile, if you want to know about the official language of the USA, read the blog here.

People use languages to express themselves. Also, language helps form bonds. You can spread ideas using languages. They are a part of our human existence. 

There are close to 430 languages in the USA. It makes the USA a very diverse nation. English is the official language here. But, some states gave official status to indigenous languages too. Here you would also like to check out, Most spoken language.

For a long time, families have moved to the USA. Those people only spoke their native languages. However, their kids were born here. Hence, they spoke English. But, they still connect to their roots. That is why most of them still speak their parent’s native tongue.

This migration has boosted companies providing translation services. However, this post will focus on the USA’s most commonly spoken foreign languages.

Which Are The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Languages In The USA?

Which Are The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Languages In The USA?

Below are the most popular languages spoken even today in the United States. 


Spanish has to be the most popular foreign language spoken in the USA. It is so popular that schools teach it. Consequently, many businesses need employees to know Spanish. 

The reason is that many of their customers speak Spanish. So, in 2018, there were 38 million people in the USA whose main language was Spanish. 

Also, Spanish was the most widely-spoken non-English tongue in 46 states. That is the reason behind so many Spanish translation services in the USA.


Chinese is the second of the most commonly spoken languages in the USA. Close to 3.4 million people speak Chinese in the USA. 

Also, this number combines both the Cantonese and Mandarin dialects. Many nations in the world have Chinese as their first language. Some of them are China, Macau, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Chinese is the language of close to 16% of the world’s population. So, this language has a global appeal. Here you should also learn about the oldest language in the world.


French is the third most popular foreign language in America. Nearly two million Americans speak it. One reason for this can be America’s neighbor. Canada’s second official language after English is French. 

These French speakers include French immigrants. Also, people moving from Canada add to this list. Some states where French is spoken the most include Florida and New York.


Tagalog is the language of the Philippines. There are nearly 1.7 million people in the United States that speak it. It is the fourth of the most commonly spoken languages in the USA. 

Tagalog also includes the dialect of Filipino. This dialect is spoken differently from Tagalog. Some of the states where it is spoken include – Hawaii and California. 


Next, the most commonly spoken foreign language in the USA is Vietnamese. Over 1.4 million people speak this language. According to a report, over 300,000 people came to the USA from Vietnam. It was mainly between 2010 and 2014. 

They came here to reunite with their family. These family members came here seeking asylum. It was during the Vietnam war. California and Washington are the states where people speak it the most. 


Arabic is the next one of the most commonly spoken foreign languages in the USA. It is the language of middle eastern countries. However, this language is the fastest-growing foreign language here.

For instance, American Schools now teach Arabic. In America, nearly 1.2 million people speak Arabic. There are around 25 countries globally that recognize Arabic as an official language. 

These countries include Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and many more. Moreover, Arabic is mostly popular in California, New York, and Michigan in the USA. 


Next, one of the most commonly spoken foreign languages in the USA is Korean. There are many immigrants here from South Korea. Also, nearly 3% of the population can speak Korean. 

Secondly, Korean culture is also an influence in the USA. There are Korean-owned businesses here. The most popular are the Korean restaurants. In 2022, Korean pop culture has also made its way to the west.

Also, you can go through the blog on the hardest language to learn in the world.

For example, K-POP and Korean web series have made it famous. Korean culture influences the west. To Clarify, the USA is no exception. Korean is the language of North Korea. South Koreans speak it as well. Also, people in China and Japan speak Korean. 


Russian is another popular language in America. Over 900,000 people living in the USA speak it. In addition, Russian speakers have tripled over three decades. 

Also, the state where it is most popular is Oregon. Russian is the primary language of Russia and many other nations.

Many nations consider Russian a second language. To sum up, they are – Ukraine, Georgia, and a few more. Also, these nations were once part of the Soviet Union. 


The ninth most common language in the USA is German. It is the official language of Germany. Also, it is the official language of a few European nations. These include – Austria, Switzerland, and South Tyrol.

In the USA, German speakers are mainly in North Dakota. It is also common in Idaho, Utah, Kansas, Iowa, and other states. 


Lastly, Italian is another common language in the USA. Nearly 700,000 people speak Italian in America. 

The state that has the most Italian speakers is New York. The reason is simple. Italian immigrants came to New York’s ports many years ago. Many of them settled in New York itself. 

The Italian language and people are a part of America’s culture. We love Italian food. Consequently, you can find an Italian restaurant everywhere in this country. Italian is also famous due to many movies featuring Italian characters.

Many other states have Italian speakers. These states include New Jersey and Boston. There are several more.

Related blog: What Languages Should You Translate Your Business Website.

Rise of Glocalization

Rise of Glocalization

People of many cultures exist here. Hence, businesses today try to target customers uniquely. It led to the rise of something called glocalization. 

Glocalization is made of two terms. “Globalization” and “Localization.” It is the term used to define a service made for global markets. They make the products as per the needs of local customers. For instance, it refers to creating products for global markets. Also, it means adapting to local markets. It is a process of creating cultural relationships in the global native market.

Companies keep in mind local sentiments. Hence, their products are not offensive in any way. Also, this is only possible if there is no language barrier. 

For more info on this, you can read the blog post on what is glocalization

In Conclusion

There are several languages spoken in the USA. The various languages in America have made it culturally rich. These languages lead to an explosion of arts. Whether books or music, art is born from languages. Learning other languages leads to understanding other cultures. 

Our world operates in a global manner. Apart from businesses, governments also realize the benefits of globalization. 

It has given rise to many new sectors in the economy. Translation services are in high demand these days. It boosts the economy and creates jobs for people fluent in foreign languages. Moreover, jobs like interpreters and translators are on the rise. These jobs pay well. So, they are attracting more people. 

There are students here that are studying these languages in college. Their goal is to prepare themselves for a global corporate world. The world needs people that speak different languages. Bilingual students have many options. Hence, many people in the USA learn foreign languages. 

Hopefully, this blog post gave you the info you needed on the USA’s most commonly spoken foreign languages. It can help you in many ways. All you need to do is apply it wisely.

To know of problems translators face when  translating literature, you can visit our page on translating literature.

Emily Bennet