English is the language spoken by most people in the United States. The official language of many states is English and it is the language used in nearly all governmental functions. Despite this predominance, many people in the United States speak languages other than English, and there has long been an interest in these groups and in how well they are able to participate in civic life and interact with the English-speaking majority. Beginning in 1890, the U.S. Census Bureau started inquiring about the languages that people spoke and, with some interruptions in the middle of the twentieth century, similar questions continue to this day.
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