Survey of World Languages in Congress

89144193In an effort to create a broad picture of second language capabilities among Americans, the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS) ( surveyed members of Congress to find out how many of them speak a language other than English. NCLIS staff contacted each of the 540 Senators’, Representatives’, and Delegates’ offices and asked if the member speaks a language other than English. There was an overall 65.6% response rate to the survey, and of those 35% had at least some second language ability while 20% claimed to speak the language fluently – considerably higher than the estimates for the general population.
Overwhelmingly, the most common language was Spanish, representing 54% of the languages spoken by members. Other prominent languages included French, Chinese, and German. 49% of Senators claim to have some second language ability, while 32% of members of the House of Representatives can speak more than one language.


  1. For a normal person, to speak one language very well is a hard job. Someone can’t speak one’s mother tongue fluently. So multilingualism is in fact waste life. I don’t believe it is a constant policy. The best way is looking for a scientific language for Auxlang, everybody learning it for communication and mother tongue for family talking. English is not good choice, for it wasting life. Beside multilingualism and Esperanto, we have better choice. It will save half of your life.

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