Linguistically Diverse USA

Sure, the US is plenty diverse already linguistically. Many non English speakers from all over the world can live relatively well in the country without issue. But What I'm getting at is keeping and expanding the linguistic scene of the late 19th century and early 20th century to the modern era on an official level. Spanish is the only language that managed it across the nation but on state level French and German had a go at it before it's speakers to varying levels largely assimilated into the English mainstream with only pockets remaining in Louisiana and Texas.

How can we get a significant percentage of the population to remain fluent in French, German, perhaps Italian in modern America even if as a second language?
 
Easiest answer: Quebec joins the Revolution/is taken over in the war and keeps its language rights. This provides a precedent for other parts of the country to be bilingual (Spanish in the Southwest? In an especially unlikely scenario, rights for Native languages?)
 
Assuming you very closely manage the butterflies, significantly increasing the population of New France would lead to a larger francophone population in the US.
 
Easiest answer: Quebec joins the Revolution/is taken over in the war and keeps its language rights. This provides a precedent for other parts of the country to be bilingual (Spanish in the Southwest? In an especially unlikely scenario, rights for Native languages?)
Assuming you very closely manage the butterflies, significantly increasing the population of New France would lead to a larger francophone population in the US.
I know that Louisiana had a large Métis population, could Haitian Mulattos boost them to achieve similar effects?
 
I know that Louisiana had a large Métis population, could Haitian Mulattos boost them to achieve similar effects?
I don't know about historical population data for Haiti, but it would add linguistic diversity in the form of Haitian Creole.

Come to think of it, would you consider English-derived creole languages to be covered by linguistic diversity?
 
I don't know about historical population data for Haiti, but it would add linguistic diversity in the form of Haitian Creole.

Come to think of it, would you consider English-derived creole languages to be covered by linguistic diversity?
Given America’s cultural parochialism I think most English-derived creoles would be placed under intense pressure to assimilate linguistically. It could make for a fascinatingly varied American English, though.
 
Potentially easy one historically South Dakota and many other plains states had large groups of Swedes, Norwegians, Poles, Russians, and others immigrate there. Maybe have them settle in more mono-linguistic settlements. IE the Swedes take Sturgis, the Poles Deadwood etcetera. The area is isolated and uninteresting enough that you could have significant communities develop as they did historically and remain largely outside the wider US English dominated scene for quite awhile. My Grandfather spoke Swedish when he was younger, and my Mom remembers an old couple in the hills who only spoke either Swedish or Norwegian.

Similarly in the northwest there were significant communities of the same nationalities and they lasted longer. My Grandma on my moms side remembered her parents speaking Finnish, and my dad remembers people speaking languages other than English when he was younger. I should mention my grandparents would have been referring to the 40s and 50s and my parents the late sixties through the early eighties.

Alternatively you could have native languages survive like Iroquois, Cherokee, Sioux, Navajo, and many other languages over much larger areas than they survive historically. These options are in addition to the already mentioned Spanish and French.
 
Big chunks of the Midwest featured German as at least co-equal to English up until WWI, so a Not-Allied Powers America (whether neutral, Central Powers, a short war, or no WWI period) will likely see German survive as a major secondary language.
 
If America were less chauvinistic, we would absolutely have parts of the USA speaking Indigenous languages, German, Spanish (we already have that one), Scandinavian languages, French, Yiddish, etc. We had all of those and more at one point, but societal pressure and outright violence forced those languages into extinction via assimilation.
 
For languages from immigrant groups, the best option is, as mentioned before, having more isolated communities, but also for their languages to be recognized on some level, like county or state.

If a county in upper Michigan declares Finnish to be part of its local heritage, then we could see it surviving as a major language alongside or even more prominent than English well into the present. We might even get Anglophones learning it and using it regularly, and with time, maybe even spread to neighboring communities.

I think this has an especially good chance of happening in areas that were under a non-English colonial power at some point. Delaware could easily choose to embrace the legacy of Nya Sverige and adopt Swedish and Finnish, provided speakers of these languages still constitute a decent sized chunk of the population by the time they make this adoption.

In big cities with large immigrant populations, it’s common for public services to be offered in a myriad of languages. Where I live you can choose to receive services in everything from Russian to Somali to Cantonese. I think it would be plausible for New York and other immigration magnets to do this, which can boost language diversity by giving immigrants less incentive to drop their old language and instead use it and, most importantly, pass it on to their children who could grow up bi- or even trilingual.

For Amerindian languages, especially those in the east, it’s a lot harder to make it work just from the demographic breakdown from disease. I think the best case scenario to having large (10k+ regular speakers) of languages like Cherokee or Mohawk would be less interference by the federal government in tribal affairs, no removals, maybe even statehood for larger Indian nations that are on good terms with the federal government (that’s a big maybe, but it’s cool to think about). Of course, all this would require a change of popular attitudes towards the natives, which is a whole other can of worms that’s out of my depth.
 
Potentially easy one historically South Dakota and many other plains states had large groups of Swedes, Norwegians, Poles, Russians, and others immigrate there. Maybe have them settle in more mono-linguistic settlements. IE the Swedes take Sturgis, the Poles Deadwood etcetera. The area is isolated and uninteresting enough that you could have significant communities develop as they did historically and remain largely outside the wider US English dominated scene for quite awhile. My Grandfather spoke Swedish when he was younger, and my Mom remembers an old couple in the hills who only spoke either Swedish or Norwegian.

You've pretty much described the settlement patterns of the Upper Midwest. The region was largely settled by ethnic communities which created mono-lingual (or bilingual) farming colonies, usually with the ethnic communities mingling primarily in the bigger towns. To give an example of one community which I'm very familiar with (largely because 1) I grew up there and 2) its factoring into my dissertation) the first Poles arrived in north central Wisconsin in 1856. Michael von Koziczkowski settled on a farm about 10 miles from the cit of Stevens Point, along with his family. Once he was established, he wrote letters and invited friends and community members from his old home to join him in the new. This formed the nucleus of a small community which was originally known as Polish Corners (and is now known as Ellis and Polonia). Over the decades, this colony grew and more farm communities were established: Fancher, Bevent, Rosholt and more. Soon, the rural landscape of the area was almost entirely Polish speaking for a god ten mile radius around the initial settlement. As the Poles migrated also to the bigger towns (i.e. Stevens Point, especially, and Wausau to a letter extent) they would have come into more direct contact with other ethnic communities: Germans, Norwegians, Irish, Anglo-Americans, etc. However, even here, for a long time, they formed strong linguistic communities. Even if they learned English to be able to communicate with outsiders, they would have prefered to worship, relax and socialize in Polish. Also, these Polish communities were part of a wider network of regional Polish settlements which were in constant contact with one another which included urban settlements in Green Bay, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities, a rural communities such as Pulaski, Winona, etc. They were never totally insular, of course: economic and social realities wouldn't allow for that, and there were places even outside the bigger towns wherre one ethnic community brushed up against the borders of another and where they would be conflict and intermingling.

For the sake of language (and not ethnic identity, which is a seperate, yet interconnected matter) what really started to undermine their linguistic strength was the Americanizing efforts during the Progressive Movement and then, especially, the shocks of the 1920s: the rise of the Second Klan, the First Red Scare, etc. Speaking personally, it was during the 1920s, or a bit before, that my Grandpa's mother made the decision to raise him and his siblings as primarily English speaking - despite the fact that the family had been in the US for three to four generations already at this point. However, despite this, Polish could still be heard spoken on the streets as a first language as late as the 1970s and early 1980s. And when one of my bestfriends wanted to learn Polish for her semester abroad in Krakow, she got lessons from an older gentleman in the community who was only all too happy to pass the language on to a younger generation.

This is just one example, but communities such as this were super common throughout the Upper Midwest. If you're interesting, I'd really suggest Jon Gjerde's The Minds of the West which is one of the best books on immigration in the region that's ever been written (yes, I'm a fan :D ). So, you have the basis of a society where people or bilingual: speaking one language for public business (English) and another in their homes and communities. And this would hardly be a unique situation in the world: such arrangements are pretty common in most places that aren't the US. What you'd need, I think, is a way to avoid the US' entry into WWI and the resulting nativist surge that accompanied and outlived it.
 
Louisiana had 2 dialects of French, both Cajun and Creole, Pennsylvania had Pennsylvania Dutch, New England had French speakers, Florida was originally Spanish and had a residual population, the whole of Southwest America was Spanish/Mexican with a large Spanish speaking population and New York still had Dutch from back when it was a Dutch colony. Basically, America was linguistically diverse with people speaking their language at home. The school system however, prioritized English as the only language and punished students for speaking anything else. They wanted more homogenous people of similar lifestyle, not those who spoke a different language, worshipped differently and with different traditions. The school system even as far back as the 60's tried to stamp that all out. And it was worse for Native American children. You'd need a greater acceptance of multilingualism and less a need for total assimilation.
 
Louisiana had 2 dialects of French, both Cajun and Creole, Pennsylvania had Pennsylvania Dutch, New England had French speakers, Florida was originally Spanish and had a residual population, the whole of Southwest America was Spanish/Mexican with a large Spanish speaking population and New York still had Dutch from back when it was a Dutch colony. Basically, America was linguistically diverse with people speaking their language at home. The school system however, prioritized English as the only language and punished students for speaking anything else. They wanted more homogenous people of similar lifestyle, not those who spoke a different language, worshipped differently and with different traditions. The school system even as far back as the 60's tried to stamp that all out. And it was worse for Native American children. You'd need a greater acceptance of multilingualism and less a need for total assimilation.

This is mostly true - albeit with some pretty important exceptions. The Paraochial Schools often had the language of instruction in the native language of the students (English was still taught, but not as the primary language). There were efforts in some states to stamp even this out - in the 1880s Wisconsin passed the Bennet laws which tried to dictate that the language of instruction in all schools in the state be in English. But this lead to such a poliitcal backlash that the Democrats were actually able to win the governorship and a Senate seat (pretty much the only time this happened in the state between the end of the Civil War and the Great Depression). Also Lousiana had numerous schools where the language of instruction was in French, some of them even prestigious.

But, yes, generally speaking, public schools were seen as forces of Americanization and acculturation and were marketed as such politically. It's one of the reasons that there was more skeptism of public schools amongst immigrat communities than you'd initially suspect (and it wasn't because they were opposed to education: far from it, as seen by the resources many poured into their own schools).
 
...... The school system however, prioritized English as the only language and punished students for speaking anything else. They wanted more homogenous people of similar lifestyle, not those who spoke a different language, worshipped differently and with different traditions. The school system even as far back as the 60's tried to stamp that all out. And it was worse for Native American children. You'd need a greater acceptance of multilingualism and less a need for total assimilation.

The height of the issues you discuss were ~1910-1960, and beginning to wane already in the 1960s. And while certainly a factor, mass transportation and communication, and the world wars were both significant additional pressures, along with the political movements in the 1920s. It would be very difficult to measure, but I'll there was a pretty significant change in the percentage of US-born raised with a non-English first language due to WWI and then WWII, probably greater than the changes due to the school system after 1960.
 
Sure, the US is plenty diverse already linguistically. Many non English speakers from all over the world can live relatively well in the country without issue. But What I'm getting at is keeping and expanding the linguistic scene of the late 19th century and early 20th century to the modern era on an official level. Spanish is the only language that managed it across the nation but on state level French and German had a go at it before it's speakers to varying levels largely assimilated into the English mainstream with only pockets remaining in Louisiana and Texas.

How can we get a significant percentage of the population to remain fluent in French, German, perhaps Italian in modern America even if as a second language?
Maybe give Yiddish and Italian some prominence aswell. Maybe have the Irish speak Gaelic as first language.
 
Maybe give Yiddish and Italian some prominence aswell. Maybe have the Irish speak Gaelic as first language.
I had heard before that Scots-Gaelic was still used as the liturgical language in some rural Presbyterian churches in the south until around the time of the ACW... also German was more widely used than English by the Moravians in the Winston-Salem area until around the same time.
After the ACW the Moravians switched their official record-keeping from German to English...
 
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