New Mexico


New Mexico has large Indian and Spanish-speaking populations. But just a few place-names, like Tucumcari and Mescalero, echo in English the presence of the Apache, Zuni, Navaho, and other tribes living there. Numerous Spanish borrowings include vigas (rafters) in the northern half, and canales (gutters) and acequia (irrigation ditch) in the Rio Grande Valley. New Mexico English is a mixture of dominant Midland, with some Northern features (such as sick to the stomach ) in the northeast, and Southern and South Midland features such as spoonbread and carry (escort) in the eastern agricultural fringe.

In 2000, 1,072,947 New Mexicans—63.5% of the resident population five years of age and older—spoke only English at home, down slightly from 64.5% 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.

New Mexico

Population 5 years and over 1,689,911 100.0
Speak only English 1,072,947 63.5
Speak a language other than English 616,964 36.5
Speak a language other than English 616,964 36.5
Spanish or Spanish Creole 485,681 28.7
Navajo 68,788 4.1
Other Native North American languages 26,880 1.6
German 7,871 0.5
French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 4,332 0.3
Chinese 2,983 0.2
Vietnamese 2,523 0.1
Italian 1,931 0.1
Tagalog 1,603 0.1
Japanese 1,263 0.1
Korean 1,197 0.1
Arabic 980 0.1