World Languages/North America

North America includes six main regions: Canada, Caribbean, Central America, Greenland, Mexico and United States of America. The main majority languages of this continent are English (mainly USA and Canada), Spanish (Mexico, most of Central America and some of Caribbean), French (Canada, especially Quebec, Haiti, Guadeloupe), and Greenlandic (Greenland).

Map of North AmericaWikilang/South AmericaWikilang/MexicoWikilang/Central AmericaWikilang/CaribbeanWikilang/CanadaWikilang/United States of AmericaWikilang/Greenland
Map of North America - click on a coloured region to access its detailed page.

Before colonization from European nations, North America was inhabited by several Aboriginal nations speaking a wide variety of languages from several different language families, most of them being long forgotten now, but a lot are still known by a few and are currently in danger of extinction. In fact, only a small number of those Aboriginal languages are not considered endangered.



See detailed page: Canada

Distribution of language families, language isolates and unclassified languages in Canada and United States (and Greenland) before European contact - click a shaded region!
Click here to enlarge!

Canada has two official languages: English and French. French is the official language in the province of Quebec. The province of New Brunswick has both French and English as official languages. All other provinces have English as official language, but French has some legal recognition in Ontario (bilingual officially by law and government) and Manitoba.

Knowing the exact number of Aboriginal languages across Canada is almost impossible especially since many Natives speak English or French as a mother tongue and most of them have only a limited passive knowledge of their ancestral languages. The task is even more difficult since the majority of languages has many dialects. Ethnologue lists 63 languages for Canada.[1] There are 74 different indigenous languages with their own ISO 639-3 code that have alive speakers in Canada. There are only three indigenous languages of Canada that are not considered threatened or endangered: Cree, Inuktitut and Ojibwe.