3rd most commonly spoken language by US state

What do you think the most common language in Texas is? Yes, it is English.
What do you think the 2nd most common language in Texas is? Yes, it is Spanish.
What do you think the 3rd most common language in Texas is? I am not sure either.

But in 16 states the 3rd most common language is…German. Here is a map of the US with the 3rd most commonly spoken language by state:

If you want check the Wikipedia page:

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“But in 16 states the 3rd most common language is…German.”


I am currently visiting Berkeley where I was born. My mother grew up here. We visited he old elementary school and were surprised to see it has been turned into a bilingual English-German school.

The graph is slighty wrong: My new home state of Vermont has French as its second most spoken language (2.54%) and Spanish as its third (1%). Just a short drive over the US/Canadian border and I’m in a very Francophone area!

Sorry guys, but I noticed that all of those states where German is the third most spoken language might just be the most… er… flyoverish of them all.

SanneT wrote: “No wonder that German is still so widely spoken over there; after all, it lost out to English by only one vote in the 19th century if my memory doesn’t fail me. (Not that I was there atthe time, but I seem to remember the story from history lessons.)”

It never happened. This myth is called the “Muhlenberg legend”. :wink:

Great! I have lived with a legend all this time! Just looked it up on Wikipedia and this is what I found:

"The Muhlenberg legend is an urban legend in the United States and Germany. According to the legend, Frederick Muhlenberg, the first ever Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, kept German from becoming an official language of the United States.

The kernel of truth behind this legend is a vote in the United States House of Representatives in 1794, after a group of German immigrants asked for the translation of some laws into German. This petition was rejected by a 42 to 41 vote and Muhlenberg was later quoted as having said “the faster the Germans become Americans, the better it will be.”

The United States has no statutory official language; English has been used on a de facto basis, owing to its status as the country’s predominant language. At times various states have passed their own official language laws.

The same legend also exists with Dutch and Greek instead of German."

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I heard some really messed up German on a tram today in San Francisco. I am not sure if it was a weird American dialect. Maybe it was Dutch.