Four Indian tribes—the Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Cherokee—occupied the four quarters of Alabama as white settlement began, but by treaty agreement they were moved westward between 1814 and 1835, leaving behind such place-names as Alabama, Talladega, Mobile, and Tuscaloosa.

Alabama English is predominantly Southern, with a transition zone between it and a smaller area into which South Midland speech was taken across the border from Tennessee. Some features common to both dialects occur throughout the state, such as croker sack (burlap bag), batter cakes (made of cornmeal), harp (harmonica), and snap beans . In the major Southern speech region are found the decreasing loss of final /r/, the /boyd/ pronunciation of bird, soft peach (freestone), press peach (clingstone), mosquito hawk (dragonfly), fire dogs (andirons), and gopher (burrowing turtle). In the northern third of the state are found South Midland arm and barb rhyming with form and orb, redworm (earthworm), peckerwood (woodpecker), snake doctor and snake feeder (dragonfly), tow sack (burlap bag), plum peach (clingstone), French harp (harmonica), and dog irons (andirons).

Alabama has experienced only minor foreign immigration, and in 2000, 96.1% of all residents five years old or older spoke only English at home, a slight decrease over the 97.1% recorded in 1990.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "African languages" includes Amharic, Ibo, Twi, Yoruba, Bantu, Swahili, and Somali.


Population 5 years and over 4,152,278 100.0
Speak only English 3,989,795 96.1
Speak a language other than English 162,483 3.9
Speak a language other than English 162,483 3.9
Spanish or Spanish Creole 89,729 2.2
German 14,905 0.4
French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 13,656 0.3
Chinese 5,271 0.1
Vietnamese 4,561 0.1
Korean 4,029 0.1
Arabic 2,620 0.1
African languages 2,306 0.1
Japanese 2,201 0.1
Italian 2,158 0.1