Map Data Center (language)

Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Tue Jun 29 22:48:20 UTC 2004

There are nine speakers of Navajo in Maine. Alaska and Arizona have
the most speakers of Native languages than any other state. And more
people speak Native languages than Hebrew.

These are some of the interesting bits of information found at a new
website that maps language use in the United States. Based on data
from the most recent Census, the Modern Language Association (MLA)
has created a tool that give surfers a graphical look at 37 languages
and language groups.

With a few clicks of the mouse, the Language Map Data Center
<> creates maps detailing
where and how many people speak a particular language. The maps can
be focused by state, county and even zip code, and for those seeking
the raw data, there's a tool that spits out information in table

The site groups 160 Native languages into one category so it's not
possible, for now, to find out how many people speak Cherokee. People
curious about that statistic can turn to the U.S. Census Bureau. The
agency has compiled a two-volume report
<> that breaks down
tribal affiliation and language use.

But the MLA site does include data on the use of Navajo because it is
one of the more commonly spoken languages in the country. Not
surprisingly, the map shows that most speakers of Dineh live in
Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, the three states where the Navajo
Nation is located.

At 178,014 speakers, more people speak Navajo than Scandinavian
languages, Thai or Hungarian. And it is pervasive -- every state,
plus Puerto Rico (7) the District of Columbia (4), has people who use

Even without detailed information on other Native languages, the MLA
site still provides invaluable statistics. According to the site, the
top 10 states where most Native speakers live are the following:
Alaska - 30,121
Arizona - 30,109
New Mexico - 26,880
Oklahoma - 18,871
South Dakota - 11,246
Montana - 9,234
California - 6,729
Minnesota - 5,862
Mississippi - 5,654
Wisconsin - 4,210
According to the data, there are 203,466 people who speak Native
languages. If Navajo is added to this number, more people use Native
languages than Greek, Hindi, Armenian or Hebrew.

In Alaska, Native languages are the second most commonly-used in the
state. Alaska Natives make up about 16 percent of the population.

In Arizona, Navajo is the third most commonly-used language after
English and Spanish. The state's Native population is about 6

Going by age, the data shows that most speakers of Native languages
are adults over the age of 18. Most language experts say fewer and
fewer young people are learning their tribal languages.

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