English in the state is largely Southern, with some South Midland speech in northern and eastern Mississippi because of population drift from Tennessee. Typical are the absence of final /r/ and the lengthening and weakening of the diphthongs /ai/ and /oi/ as in ride and oil . South Midland terms in northern Mississippi include tow sack (burlap bag), dog irons (andirons), plum peach (clingstone peach), snake doctor (dragonfly), and stone wall (rock fence). In the eastern section are found jew's harp (harmonica) and croker sack (burlap bag). Southern speech in the southern half features gallery for porch, mosquito hawk for dragonfly, and press peach for clingstone peach. Louisiana French has contributed armoire (wardrobe).

In 2000, 96.4% of Mississippi residents five years old and older spoke only English in the home, down from 97.2% 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 "Other Native North American languages" includes Apache, Cherokee, Choctaw, Dakota, Keres, Pima, and Yupik.


Population 5 years and over 2,641,453 100.0
Speak only English 2,545,931 96.4
Speak a language other than English 95,522 3.6
Speak a language other than English 95,522 3.6
Spanish or Spanish Creole 50,515 1.9
French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 10,826 0.4
Other Native North American languages 5,654 0.2
German 5,501 0.2
Vietnamese 4,916 0.2
Chinese 2,506 0.1
Tagalog 2,005 0.1
Korean 1,485 0.1
Italian 1,336 0.1
Arabic 1,081 0.0