The Potluck

Minnesota students speak nearly 300 different languages at home

By: - February 10, 2020 2:02 pm

Krisanapong Detraphiphat/Getty Images

More than 143,000 Minnesota students speak a language other than English at home, according to 2018-19 data from the Minnesota Department of Education.

Families here communicate in nearly 300 different languages, from American Sign Language to Indigenous languages like Ojibwa and Dakota to those originating in other continents, such as Arabic, Yoruba and Portuguese. At home, 1,270 students speak “creolized English,” which incorporates features from English and at least one other language.

After English, Spanish is the second most common primary home language, followed by Somali, Hmong and Karen, the data show. Of students who speak a language other than English at home, one in three speak Spanish, and one in five speak Somali.

Xhosa, Irish and Navajo are among the 126 languages spoken at home by five or fewer total students in Minnesota.

Explore the table to see the full list of Minnesota students’ primary home languages.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.