Mexico Languages

National Languages

The General Law of Linguistic Rights [21] grants the status of national languages to Spanish and to the native indigenous languages of the territory, as well as to those of other Indo-American peoples that have settled in the national territory. Spanish is the dominant language in official affairs, although there is no legal declaration that makes it the official language of the country. This language is spoken by almost all Mexicans.

According to, 6%  of the population speaks an indigenous language. The government officially recognizes 63 indigenous languages – grouping similar varieties that for some linguists should be considered as different languages. Among the indigenous languages, those with the largest number of speakers are Nahuatl and Yucatec Mayan ; together, they number more than 2 million people. The opposite case is that of the Lacandon Maya, whose number of speakers does not reach 100.

Even more evident is the case of languages such as Kiliwa, whose speakers are estimated to be between 10 and 50 individuals (the information varies according to the various sources), a problem that is accentuated due to the geographical isolation of the Kiliwa families; Equally significant is the case of the Zoque Ayapaneco dialect speakers who, due to recent research, are known to be only two individuals who also do not use the language and are therefore considered extinct. The SEP has established bilingual education systems in indigenous and rural communities due to the need for communication with the Spanish-speaking majority that arose -de facto-; a considerable percentage of the indigenous population is bilingual or trilingual.

Foreign languages

Due to the proximity to the United States, the presence of English is constant, especially in urban centers, in music and in the cinema; It is also very common in the business environment due to the economic activities that Mexico has with the rest of the world.

Of the languages brought to Mexico by non-Spanish European immigrants, the case of Veneto is striking, spoken in Chipilo, a town in Puebla founded in 1882 by Italian immigrants. Today, almost all residents of the city use veneto in their daily activities. Venetian music is also heard in Veracruz, Huatusco and Colonia Manuel González. It is in Mexico, where the dialect variant most similar to the language currently spoken in Venice is found, in addition, Mexico is in the first places in the number of Venetian speakers along with Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

Another similar case is that of Plautdietsch (or Plattdeutsch), a Low Saxon (or “Low German”) dialect that is spoken in Mennonite communities in the states of Chihuahua, Zacatecas, and Durango.

French is also heard in the state of Veracruz [22] , with French colonization in this state, particularly in the towns of Jicaltepec, Perote, San Rafael and Mentidero. Another case is the German one in the area of Soconusco, Chiapas, where German colonies were established and in the capital of the state of Puebla, since the Volkswagen assembly plant is located there, there is also a presence of German communities in Sinaloa such as Mazatlán and Culiacán.

There is an important presence of non-Castilian Spaniards in Mexican territory, this occurred during the Spanish civil war under the government of former presidents Lázaro Cárdenas and Manuel Ávila Camacho. In recent years, new Spanish migrants have arrived and among them stand out those who speak Catalan, which are the most numerous with almost 7,500 bilingual speakers concentrated in the Federal District, Puebla and Quintana Roo, followed by those who speak Basque with almost 5,000 concentrated bilingual speakers. in the Federal District and Nuevo León, and to a lesser extent, there are bilingual Galicians who number about 5,000 speakers within the Federal District, the State of Mexico, Veracruz and Jalisco.

The number of Arabic speakers is estimated to be more than ten thousand, almost all from Lebanon and the majority bilingual. There are also Moroccan, Egyptian, Algerian and Iraqi minorities, and even Palestinians. There is also a high number of Hebrew, Yiddish and Sephardic speakers since the Jewish community has a large presence in the country and whose total population is estimated at more than 50,000 individuals. They are equally bilingual.

Except for Spanish, no other European language is considered a national language, even if its number of speakers is greater than that of any indigenous language. Therefore, they are not contemplated in matters such as public education, nor in the administration of justice.

Mexico Languages