Blog Podcast

Did You Know the United States Has No Official Language?

Did you know that the United States has no official language? It’s easy to think that English is the official language. But there is no official language in the Constitution; however, states can declare official languages. Alaska has more than twenty indigenous languages, and Hawai’i has two official languages, Olelo Hawai’i and English. 

This conversation about official languages came up in my most recent podcast episode. I had mentioned to my guest that it’s interesting how when Latinos get together, we tend to navigate to speaking in English over Spanish, even if the whole group speaks both languages. She proceeded to say that we’ve moved to a country whose primary language is English, so we need to adapt and speak in English. Which I definitely agree we do need to adapt and speak English, but we also have the right to speak our native language. 

I proceeded to inform her that the United States didn’t have an official language. Although the majority of people speak English, about 300 million. So then I started to wonder why is it that the United States doesn’t have an official language.

close up view of a script and language
Photo by cottonbro studio on

History of the United States and Language

According to, since the beginning of our history, there have always been multiple languages spoken here. When the original 13 colonies became the United States, it was colonized by the British; however, they were not the only people in the colonies. There were indigenous people here, and colonists came from France, Spain, and Germany. 

John Adams, in 1780, presented a bill to make English the official language, but the bill didn’t pass because it was deemed a threat to individual liberty. Also, as stated, a lot of the colonists spoke multiple languages, so making English the official language wasn’t popular and didn’t seem necessary. 
As years passed, people have tried to declare English as the official language of the United States, but the US has gotten more diverse, and today, more than 350 languages are spoken by Americans, with Spanish coming in as the second most-spoken language (spoken in 62% of non-English speaking households, according to

The Most Spoken Language in Every U.S. State (Besides English and Spanish) released an interesting report about the most spoken language in every state besides English and Spanish. And in 13 states, German is the most spoken language. 

StateMost Spoken Language (Besides English and Spanish)
AlaskaAleut languages
District of ColumbiaFrench
Table from

I Asked My Followers if They Default to English

As always intrigued by this conversation, I asked my bilingual followers on social media if when they get together with friends who are also bilingual, they default to speaking in English or Spanish. And the majority of them said they default to English or Spanglish. Honestly, this revelation surprised me, but I also understand why this happens. 

For me, and I’ve written about this before, it’s my comfort in expressing myself better in English because I attended school here. So, growing up, it was reading, writing, and speaking English whenever I wasn’t home, but at home, I only spoke Spanish. I didn’t know how to read or write it until I was a teenager, and even now, I probably don’t write Spanish grammatically correctly. 

However, I would like to change the habit of automatically defaulting to speaking in English, but I would like my kids to speak and understand Spanish. It seems like as the generations grow, the further away we get from our culture. 

You may like: The Struggle as a Bilingual Parent

In Conclusion

We live in a beautiful, diverse country where you can find many of the world’s languages spoken, so if you come across someone who has an accident, please extend grace. English may be their second, third, or even fourth language. Be kind. 

With Love, Heidy 

P.S. Did you know that it was once illegal to speak a foreign language in public in parts of the U.S.? This article explores 8 instances when foreign languages were considered dangerous in the United States. Check it out!

Is a personal development newsletter an interest of yours? With a little bit of poetry? A little of opinion pieces? And some faith-based encouragement? Sign up for my Substack newsletter, “Into My Thoughts.”


Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount


Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

The Struggle as a Bilingual Parent

As a child of immigrants, I learned another language before learning English. In fact, I remember starting Kindergarten in the United States without knowing any English. But now, as a young adult, my first language is English.

 We hear time and time again how important it is to know both languages, Spanish and English, and how helpful it will be in the future. We also hear how important it is for our children to know both languages. But let me tell you, this is hard.

 According to, the number of bilingual children in the United States continues to rise. In 2016, 22% of children in the US, or about 12 million children, spoke another language besides English at home. This rate has risen by about 2% or 1.2 million additional kids in the last decade. So it’s easy to see how knowing both languages will be an asset for the future. also mentions that speaking two or more languages increases the child’s ability to concentrate, focus, and solve problems. At the same time, it’s also associated with better mental flexibility, more reliable connections to place and family, increased cultural competence, and access to higher-paying jobs.  

 When my daughter was younger, it was easier for me to only speak Spanish to her. I was living with my parents; everyone spoke in Spanish, and also I was showing her the basics, for example, water, milk, cup, numbers, colors, etc. Now that she goes to school and has learned English, when it comes to explaining something in detail, like why certain things happen, it’s easier for me to explain in English because that is the language I feel more confident speaking. I can defend and express myself easier in English because that is my dominant language now.

 My daughter would spend afternoons after school at my grandma’s house, and she would only speak Spanish there, but now that we are both at home, we only speak English. And I’ve tried to only speak Spanish to her, but I automatically switch to English and end up speaking Spanglish to her.

Before I had my daughter, I would be puzzled when I would meet people of Hispanic-decent who couldn’t speak Spanish. Like, “what do you mean you don’t speak Spanish?” They mostly said they could understand it but not speak it, and now I get it. I feel like I’m going down the same road with my daughter.

 It was easy for our parents to only speak to us in Spanish because that was their dominant language, but for us, growing up in the United States, going to school here, and learning, writing, listening to English music, etc. English becomes your first language.

 I don’t want my daughter to lose her Spanish, and she gets frustrated when she is trying to speak to her grandparents in Spanish and can’t think of the words to express herself. The same thing happens to me when I’m speaking Spanish, I tend to stop a lot and try to think of words, or I know the name but don’t know how to pronounce them in Spanish.  

It is easy to lose our heritage, language, and traditions with generations to come, especially since we aren’t in our own country. But it is up to us to keep it going.

 Any other bilingual parents struggling with this? Let me know in the comments. 

Let’s Connect!

Like this post? Subscribe with your email to receive my posts straight to your inbox! 🙂