Four and Forty-Two Group Classifications of Languages Spoken at American Homes with Examples (source: US Census)
The US population is becoming increasingly diverse. While many Americans speak English, Limited English Proficiency is common in communities of color. Shown below are the most common languages spoken in American homes.
|Four Group Classification||Forty-Two Group Classification||Examples|
|Other Indo-European languages||French (incl. Cajun)||French, Cajun|
|Yiddish, Pennsylvania Dutch or other West Germanic languages||Dutch, Yiddish|
|Serbo-Croatian||Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian|
|Ukrainian or other Slavic languages||Bulgarian, Czech, Ukrainian|
|Persian (incl. Farsi, Dari)||Iranian Persian (Farsi), Dari|
|Nepali, Marathi, or other Indic languages||Nepali, Marathi, Konkani|
|Other Indo-European languages||Albanian, Lithuanian, Pashto (Pushto), Romanian, Swedish|
|Malayalam, Kannada, or other Dravidian languages||Malayalam, Kannada|
|Asian and Pacific Island languages||Chinese (incl. Mandarin, Cantonese)||Mandarin Chinese, Min Nan Chinese (incl. Taiwanese), Yue Chinese (Cantonese)|
|Khmer||Central Khmer (Cambodian)|
|Thai, Lao, or other Tai-Kadai languages||Thai, Lao|
|Other languages of Asia||Burmese, Karen, Turkish, Uzbek|
|Tagalog (incl. Filipino)||Tagalog, Filipino|
|Ilocano, Samoan, Hawaiian, or other Austronesian languages||Cebuano (Bisayan), Hawaiian, Iloko (Ilocano), Indonesian, Samoan|
|All other languages||Navajo||Navajo|
|Other Native languages of North America||Apache languages, Cherokee, Lakota, Tohono O’odham, Yupik languages|
|Amharic, Somali, or other Afro-Asiatic languages||Amharic, Chaldean Neo-Aramaic, Somali, Tigrinya|
|Yoruba, Twi, Igbo, or other languages of Western Africa||Akan (incl. Twi), Igbo (Ibo), Wolof, Yoruba|
|Swahili or other languages of Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa||Ganda, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Swahili|
|Other and unspecified languages||Hungarian, Jamaican Creole English, Unspecified|
About 25 million Americans have Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Eleven million are nonliterate in English.The Department of Health and Human (HHS) Services identifies individuals with LEP as those who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English. As of 2021, Hispanic/Latinx persons account for nearly two-thirds (62%) of the LEP population, while over a fifth (22%) of individuals with LEP are Asian. Nearly 31% Asians over age five have LEP, followed by nearly 28% Hispanic/Latinx people.
An estimated 93 million Americans have Basic or Below Basic Health Literacy. As health care becomes more complex and specialized by the minute, the communication gulf between doctors and their patients is becoming progressively insurmountable. In order for us to provide quality care for all Americans, we need to become skilled in providing culturally effective care.
The Stanford Cross Cultural Medicine Microlecture Series is a series of very short talks (2 minutes each typically), which aims to highlight key issues in cross-cultural encounters. We are the first to acknowledge how complex and challenging this topic is. Thus we seek to share our experiences and sights gained from clinical practice and research about this important issue, more as a starting point rather than as a “gold standard.” Our hope is that trainees and health personnel will use our micro-lecture series as a tool to pause and reflect on their own practice.