The Nanfang / Blog


Chinese Becomes Second Most Spoken Foreign Language in the USA

Posted: 10/15/2014 6:39 pm

history_of_chinese_calligraphyThe Chinese language is now the third most-spoken language in America, and in second place among foreign languages behind Spanish.

The number of Chinese heading for America is on the rise, as we told you previously. One survey found there were 2.6 million Chinese there in 2009, increasing to three million today. But there must be more at play than mere immigration. Confucius Institutes, which teach Chinese, are proliferating and there is increasing interest in the language among Americans.

“Chinese” also isn’t broken down into dialects in the survey, but it’s well-known that Cantonese remains widely-used. But that is changing, according to Haipei Shue, the president of the National Council of Chinese Americans (NCCA):

“It’s an inexorable demographic change that Mandarin has become the ruling language among Chinese Americans. Now you can order food in Mandarin in any Chinese restaurant here.”

Dong Kun, a senior researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ institute of linguistics, said the popularity of Mandarin is good for the promotion of  Chinese culture worldwide.

Widespread immigration means the USA is increasingly becoming a society that doesn’t speak English. Sixty-two million people in the USA have a mother tongue that isn’t English, representing 21 percent of the total population.


Photo: arts cultural

  • lacompacida

    So Yiddish is consider local language now ?

Keep in Touch

What's happening this week in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou? Sign up to be notified when we launch the This Week @ Nanfang newsletter.

sign up for our newsletter

Nanfang TV