Languages of North America facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

North America is the third largest continent in the world. There are 23 countries in North America. The languages people speak the most in North America - which includes Central America and the Caribbean - are English, Spanish, and in some places French and creole languages.

There are lots of languages which are spoken by indigenous peoples - in the Arctic these include Eskimo-Aleut languages, such the Aleut langauge, which are spoken in the Aleutian Islands, the Yupik languages, which are spoken in Alaska, and Inuit languages, which are spoken by people in places including Alaska, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Greenland.

A group of languages which are called Na-Dené languages are spoken in Alaska and north-west Canada. Southern Athabaskan languages are spoken in the South-western United States. Algic languages, which include Algonquian languages, are spoken by a lot of people in Canada and the United States. Some of these are Ojibwe, Cree, Miꞌkmaq, and Blackfoot.

A group of languages called the Iriquoian languages are spoken by a lot of people who live near the Saint Lawrence River and the eastern Great Lakes. These include Cherokee.

A group of languages called the Uto-Aztecan languages are spoken by people in the Western United States, in northern and central Mexico, and El Salvador. Some of these are Hopi, Oʼodham, and Nahuatl.

A group of languages called the Mayan languages are spoken by people in Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala.

A group of languages called the Mixe–Zoque languages are spoken by people in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico.

In the Caribbean a lot of people used to speak Arawakan languages. Some of these are the Ta-Arawakan languages, which are spoken in Central and Southern America. These are still spoken by a lot of people in South America.

Introduced languages

Languages which have been introduced to North America include English, Spanish, and French. Most people speak English. These languages were introduced to America by people who lived in Europe. English is also spoken in Canada, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and is spoken alongside Creole languages in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Virgin Islands.

The most spoken language in Mexico is Spanish. Most people in Central America also speak Spanish, including people in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. A lot of people in the United States also speak Spanish.

Some places in Canada speak French. These include Quebec and Saint Pierre and Miquelon. French is also spoken in Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

Lots of people in Alaska used to speak Russian, because the United States bought Alaska from Russia.

Some places in the United States speak German, including the Pennsylvania Dutch, the Hutterite Germans, and the Texas Germans. The Plautdietsch dialect is spoken by descendants of people from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Nearly everybody in Greenland speaks Danish, where it is spoken because of colonization by the Danish. Dutch is spoken by a lot of people in Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles, and descendants of settlers who live in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Lots of Asian languages are spoken in the United States and Canada, including Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Kashmiri, Dogri, Gujarati, Konkani, Marathi, Punjabi, Sindhi, Odia, Maithili, Nepali, Balochi, Pashto, Assamese, Meitei, Santali, Kokborok, Tamil, Telugu, Tulu, Malayalam, and Kannada. Lots of Indians came to the Caribbean during the 19th and 20th centuries to work on the sugar cane, cocoa bean, rice and coffee bean plantations after slavery was abolished.


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