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.”


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Book Review Podcast

Book Review: Far From Home – Discovering Your Identity as Foreigners on Earth

Far From Home Discovering your identity as Foreigners on Earth was written by Mabel Ninan. This book is about how Mabel felt as an immigrant in the US and realizing that no matter where we are on Earth, this is not our forever home.

Mabel is from Hyderabad, the capital of one of India’s states of Telangana. She and her husband moved to the US soon after getting married. She was 30 years old. They both are Christians, and soon after moving to the US, she tried to find a church to call home because she knew the importance of church community.

Back home, her family and church community were very close. She grew up around her church community; they were there for important milestones in her life; however, being in the US, she had to start all over and often felt homesick.

There were a few things in the book that stood out to me. In chapter one, Mabel talks about reading American literature and watching American TV shows; she learned about Western culture, but that did not prepare her for immersing in the culture. So, for example, she knew the language and spoke English in India; however, she was unfamiliar with the nuances of social mores and etiquette as she wrote. In India, it’s impolite to call an elder by their first name, whereas here, it’s normal. And here people do not eat with their fingers unless it’s finger foods but in India and other countries that is normal.

It was difficult for her to navigate life when she first arrived in the US because she came on a dependent visa. Her husband’s job was the one that sponsored him. So, she didn’t have a work permit, and the process can take months; she didn’t have a driver’s license, which made it challenging for her to get around; she felt stuck. She was so used to being independent back home, and now that was gone.

Because of her emotional challenges, she admitted to herself that her faith was not as solid as she professed it to be. She was stuck between two cultures – the one she grew up with and the new one she was trying to embrace.

Photo by Shafi_fotumcatcher on

In chapter eight, she talks about being homesick for heaven. This was a new concept for me. Although I know that Earth is not our final home, I don’t ever feel homesick for heaven. I honestly am not ready to leave Earth yet.

And the last thing that stood out to me in chapter eleven was Christians being in the East before Westerns came. Mabel wrote that many Americans believe Christianity is a Western religion; however, some of the oldest Christian communities can be found in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Ethiopia, and India.

I recommend this book to anyone, believers and non-believers because she details what immigrants go through when they move to the US. It’s not easy starting over in a new country. And it’s hard; moving to the US is not an easy decision, and many do it every day for a better quality of life.

Mabel was also a guest on my podcast – so if you want to hear her talk about her immigration experience, listen to the episode here. And please, leave a review after. This helps people find the podcast. Thank you.

You can purchase Far From Home on Mabel’s website:

With Love, Heidy

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